|St. Therese of Lisiuex|
The "little" way
The one adjective that has been overpowering these past few days is little. Hearing news of two other babies who are now in Heaven and realizing again how fragile life is-little. Being 1 day away from induction and still talking and re-talking about if we are making the right decision-little. Not knowing if I will be planning a funeral or baptism next week-little. Seeing so many people pray for us and being so held by the Church-little. Not being able to pray or process emotions right now or think or sleep or cook-little.
The anticipation this week has been similar to the week of our wedding. We got married on a Friday and it seemed like it would never come around. But then that Sunday started the week off and things went quickly from there. This week has been the same, only I can't guarantee good will be at the end like I could with our wedding.
I think a lot of it has to do with not only the possibility of having a live baby, but also the possibility of getting a little of myself back. Yesterday I was running errands and ran into a high school friend. She had her two little ones with her and we chatted about Abigail and being induced and how exciting it all was. When she walked away I thought to myself "wow- I did it! I had a conversation with an old friend and it felt good!" For the last 10 months I would have literally hidden in an aisle when I saw people like that coming towards me. What did I have to tell them about? New news? Our baby died, I am sad, and our world is crashing around us. No one likes to hear that. So I hid and it felt so not natural. But I have learned that in grief, since it is so much like being sick, sometimes the isolation is essential to the healing.
So my hope lately has been for Abigail for sure, but also for us. I feel ready to re-enter the land of the living, the thing is I'm just not sure its going to happen. I know everyone has so much hope for Abigail being born alive and well and that the statistics are in our favor. But the truth is no one knows. I have heard dozen of stories and met many women who had their babies die in labor or right after birth, many of them without explanation. Every happy thought that comes my way this week (or the past 9 months) has been lit on the edges of fear. One cannot occur without the other. The hope I have for Abigail being born alive and well is also a hope I have for my healing. I know she will not "fix" things or bring Caleb back or replace him, but she will bring a certain amount of healing, she already has. The thing that terrifies me now is - what if it all goes wrong again? What if this all doesn't help my healing, just breaks me into a million more pieces?
I received an invitation to a wedding shower yesterday and I actually got excited. I haven't been excited to go to a social event since Caleb died. But there I was in my kitchen reading the details and getting so joyful. And then like a tidal wave it all came crashing down and I heard a voice in my head, "yes, but if Abigail dies, you know you can't go. You wouldn't be able to make small talk with strangers just a month after burying your little girl." And I got sad because I knew that was the truth. And I got mad because I couldn't RSVP right then like the old RyAnne would have. I thought "just wait and see if she lives, then make plans." Ugh the poverty in not being able to dream or plan has been so hard.
So, I give this to God. I give my littleness to Him knowing the poverty of spirit He is calling us to live with right now. The uncertainty, the waiting in limbo, the hope/fear roller coaster.
St. Therese was known for being the saint of "the little way." She was a carmelite nun who died young from tuberculosis at age 24. Nathan had a strong devotion to her when we met and I have since become a friend of hers. I mentioned earlier in a post that St. Therese was from a family of 9, where 4 out of the 9 children died, 3 in infancy. Her mother is on her way to canonization and has helped me so much in my grief. You can read more about St. Therese's mom, Zelie, here.
When Nathan and I were courting we entrusted our vocation decision to St. Therese. Then once we found out we were having a girl, we knew her middle name had to be Therese. I am feeling the presence of St. Therese so much this week. Her teachings on how to be "little" and give that to God have been exactly what I needed to hear. In fact, I feel like St. Therese should be the patron of grief because grief requires you to be so little. I used to need God for big things, but in the last 10 months I have needed him just to get out of bed and get dressed. Little things, little prayers, all of it matters to God, all of it is sanctifying if we can offer up our littleness to God.
So on today, one day away from induction, I ask everyone to please pray for us and Abigail and our medical team. We have been made aware (AGAIN) by our doctors just yesterday of all the risks we are going up against by inducing Abigail early. We are scared and feel like there really is no right decision. We also know that God is guiding us and like all things in our faith, we have to first take the step out of the boat towards God. So we will. We will go in tomorrow night at 6 PM and start induction. We will pray that God allows Abigail to come out alive and well. Thank you everyone for everything. Like I said, I have felt so little this week, but been in awe at how the body of Christ continues to carry us.
St. Therese of Lisieux- pray for us!