presence

it’s time to write again. unfortunately, i allowed myself to get distracted by facebook and now i’ve forgotten how i was going to begin this post. it was smarter than this; i value smart starts. alas, writing is still in order so here i go, placing one figurative foot in front of the other.

today is an important day in my current memory. i say “current” because i wonder how long i’ll remember that September 6, 2013 was supposed to be my due date. yes, today (give or take a few days) i was supposed to be in loads of pain, pushing a life out of me and into the real world. if you’ve seen me lately or have followed my blog, you know that birthing a child tomorrow would be a ridiculous miracle. i’m not even pregnant.

but i was, for almost 9 weeks, and i want to remember. i don’t want to do something big. i don’t want pity. i just want to remember.

a friend put various pregnancy-related items in a box and named her unborn baby. another got a tattoo of either her due date or miscarriage date. many women do nothing. i just don’t want to forget. because forgetting someone you loved seems wrong. and i loved all almost 9 weeks of that little one who was the size of a kidney bean and once had a strong heart beat. to some it was merely tissue. to me it was our baby.

rewind a decade to September 6, 2003…that’s the day i lost most of the sight in my left eye. (really Michaela? yup. crazy, right?) it was a Sabbath morning. i was getting ready for church. my friend Gina had stayed at my place after an evening of homemade pizza and Bible study on the book of Mark. i still remember those details. i didn’t go to the hospital until Tuesday, i think. i didn’t have insurance at the moment. i was scared stiff. i thought my sight would come back…it had gone and come before but never for this long. it never returned.

i’m a very different person today than i would have been without that loss. i’m able to connect with the craziness that others experience because of that. but trust me, if i could do it all over again, i’d keep my sight–no doubt about that! no one wants to do without good depth perception and all the other blessings of two fully functioning eyes. i’m not about to find a way to make this a good experience. it’s bad. it shouldn’t have happened. it makes no sense. i’d much rather work on my empathy in other ways.

to be able to “replace” one negative memory with a positive one, sort of take a bad date and make it good…that’s what i was hoping for just like how i hoped God would heal my eye seven days later–a very divine move that he chose not to act on.

so instead of getting a really cool story, i’m wondering how best to remember my baby, how best to say, “You’ll always matter in my book.”

perhaps i can give that to others. through the years, loss has taught me to be fully present even when i’m in pain (not that i always practice that). that doesn’t mean ignoring my stuff and allowing people to dictate where i am and what i need but being honest when i’m with them instead of pretending to be fine or pretending to have answers. being present means giving others time and space to be heard, knowing that just because i’m not whole doesn’t mean i can’t listen and that being whole isn’t a prerequisite for being present.

i’m not a savior. when i struggle to be present it’s sometimes because i think i’m someone’s savior and that if i let them know that i’m not whole then my mission will fail.

i am broken. we’re all broken. it’s not okay but it’s where we are and as my Uncle Glenn shared the other day, “acceptance is the key.” it’s not a passive acceptance that gives up but one that recognizes the present for what it is instead of getting mad at it or feeling defeated by it. and i find that when i accept where i am, i’m better able to heal emotionally and grow and experience hope. God’s crazy good like that. his love for me teaches me to love myself and others in spite of where i am

today i have hope and September 6 will now be a reminder that even when stuff is missing the gift of presence is still mine to give.

i write this because it’s healing to write and because it’s healing to read and some of you who’ll read this need to be reminded to give yourself time and space to heal. so this is for you. stop beating yourself up for not being better, for not being further along in your process. stop getting upset at yourself for still crying about what you’ve lost or for still asking God, “Why?” you’re here. what you’ve lost is what you’ve lost. name it. and learn to be present. it’s a gift to those around you and in some crazy way, it’s also a gift to yourself.

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