It is Time
I’m not big on making New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because statistically they are almost certain to fail. While failure is a normal and even healthy part of life, setting myself up for failure seems illogical to me. Instead, I prefer to start each new year by evaluating my long-term goals and where I am in relation to those goals, and then plan the reasonable steps forward in the new year toward accomplishing those goals.
Or at least, that’s what I used to do.
Then came loss. One miscarriage after another, each knocking the wind out of me, shaking my faith, draining a bit of life with all its zest and hope and glory from me. One, two, three…nine miscarriages, the last with triplets, three babies lost at once. I was crushed. But I survived, bruised and bloody and scarred, yes, but not broken.
And then came my Sammy. His twin was lost at nine weeks, but Sammy lived on, waving and bouncing around at every ultrasound as if to say, “I’m here, mama! I’m still here!” What a tough little guy.
A tough little guy with a death sentence. A random mutation, incompatible with life. But he did live. With my body playing a most willing hostess, my little invited guest grew and thrived, kicking and rolling and LIVING. I enjoyed every moment of his life, treasured every movement, stored up every memory. It was all I would ever have of him, so I drank deeply of the days and saved my tears for the nights when all was still and the knowledge of death pressed too hard to ignore.
And then one day my Sammy unexpectedly slipped into and out of the world, still and silent and beautiful, bearing the imprint of his siblings on his tiny features.
And I was broken.
And I have remained broken. Someone in a similar situation asked me how I ever got over losing my son. My answer, “I didn’t.” There is no getting over the loss of a child. There is moving on. There is healing. And there is living. But I am forever changed. A part of me will always be broken while I live on the underside of Heaven and my son awaits me topside. That is a fact of life and loss. I have moved on. And I have healed.
But living is another matter altogether. Living, really living, is embracing life in all its fullness, laughing and loving, twirling in dizzying abandon in the rain with my little girls and playing a sorry game of basketball with my boys while they alternately chuckle at my crazy aim and earnestly try to help a lost cause. Living is cuddling on the sofa with my hubby watching midnight movies while he snores in my ear. Living is feeling and hoping and stretching and experiencing. It is breathing in all the joy and breathing through all the hurts. It is planning for the future, the unknown, brilliant with possibility and studded with thorns.
Living is not hiding. It is not stale and distant and cold. Living doesn’t cower under covers or behind locked doors…or in front of computer screens.
I thought I was done, that I’d handled losing Sammy to the best of my ability and moved on and healed and started living again. But as I stopped to take stock of 2011 before moving onto 2012, I was brought up short. The incredibly sharp rear-view-window vision of hindsight revealed a startling fact to me. I had moved on, and I had healed, but I was functioning, not living.
I do love, and I do laugh, but hope, that most basic of human needs, is transparently thin and unutterably fragile in a heart afraid to live like mine. The future, that great unknown, brims with more pain than possibility when viewed through a veil of tears. Fear reigns, and life suffers under its dictatorship. Life abundant has become life restrained.
And planning for the future is too breathtakingly daring to even consider.
Until now. I have felt the pull back into life this year…in the tiny hands of my one-year-old miracle baby tugging me to follow toddling steps into adventures untold…in the never-give-up attention-seeking of my five-year-old dirt magnet…in the budding womanhood of my daydreamer-artist twelve-year-old…in the endearing, emerging solidness of a man of character in my seventeen-year-old…and in so many more ways that I can no longer hide from the message, “It is time.”
And so, though my first response was to cringe and retreat when I read the One Word 365 post about a one word focus for the coming year, a seed was planted that quickly sprouted into a word, my word, my theme for the year 2012. I won’t be making resolutions, and I won’t be going back to my former pedantic planning just yet. I’m still too fragile for that. But I will take a step forward. I will let God show me the fullness of meaning He intends for this word, the impact He plans for it to make in me, the transformation and liberation and newness that can come from embracing one single word.
For 2012, my word is…LIVE.
L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood , Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages , and The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline the first three books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.