Friday, May 18, 2012

About the Blog (Round 2)

Reading through my first "About the Blog" post feels so strange. It’s almost as if this writer is someone else, so young, so hopeful...naively anticipating the adventures ahead, charging forward, or perhaps skipping, with reckless abandon. I want to tell her she’s about to face the darkest, most difficult moments of her life, but to keep on looking for that green grass. And that she’s strong, stronger than she knows.

When I first began this blogging endeavor my husband, John, and I had recently acquired a sixteen-year-old, his sister, Logan. This was not exactly what I had in mind for my first attempt at parenting, but you do what need to do for family. In fact, we were prepared to make this a semi-permanent situation, planning to move to a new home with space to house his mother as well. What actually happened was a little different. Logan lived with us for two months, difficult for all of us, but also some very good times. Then I got pregnant. And it's what happened next that took our happy little adventure of life into something like the scary tunnel in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. But we'll get to that.

When I wrote that first blog post in January of 2011 I was only a few months into my first pastorate. Nexus Community had been born and we were full of life and hope, about to plant ourselves in a poverty-stricken, crime-ridden apartment complex on Forest Lane. I am pleased to report that I am still the pastor of this church (thanks be to God!) and we are still engaged in this mission.

I have learned that being a pastor is a difficult job, planting a church is even harder, and leading a group of middle to upper class white folks to be the church in a context like this one is just plain crazy (as well as awesome, tiring, frustrating, and beautiful). I’ve also learned that when you are completely drained of emotional energy and clueless as to why you’re in the position you’re in, the same Spirit who led you there comforts and sustains you, and continues to breathe life into your weary soul as well as into your weary church. 

Nexus Community is still alive. Jesus Christ must be. This is not the only evidence I have, but it is evidence enough. And there is more to come.

The final major element of my life when I started this blog was that John and I were in the process of trying to get pregnant. This part didn't make the initial entry for obvious reasons, but it wasn't long before this blog became a space for me to express my feelings of grief and loss, and to search for hope and joy in the midst of it all.

I had an ectopic pregnancy in March, then a molar pregnancy in July.
Same song, second verse, a little bit louder and a little bit worse.

Actually, it was a lot worse. The spring and early summer had been about recovering and moving forward, but as the summer days grew longer and we were hit with this second round of loss and pain, darkness settled in over my heart and I became one among those who are simply surviving.

And that is when the writing stopped. Not just the writing, but all creativity. Every ounce of creative energy I had left was used for the church, and they can tell you it wasn’t much.

I also didn’t sing. Not in the car, not in the shower. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I noticed I had stopped, and only because I had started again. It was like when you open up boxes after moving to a new home and find yourself delighted at their contents, remembering the precious and beautiful things you had hidden away. What a wonderful feeling to have joy flowing through my veins again, rising up out of my soul, dancing through my vocal chords, onto my tongue and lips, and out into the world.

But before there was singing, there was what seemed to be an ever-deepening sadness.

Just a month after the second failed pregnancy, weeks after the surgery to remove it, I received an early morning phone call reporting that my husband’s other sister, Nikki, had passed away. She was older than Logan, but much too young for her life to have come to an end, younger than their brother, Brandon, who had lost his life less than a year before.  I was asked to share the news with John, who I knew was still in the process of grieving the loss of his brother, struggling to keep it together enough to be strong for me through the loss of these two pregnancies, and now this.

The John and Jen who lived from September of 2011 to March of 2012 seem like different people entirely than the people I know us to be today. They were so broken. The tragedies of their lives had risen up like a wall between them, each of them pounding on it desperately, trying to get through to reach the other, resentfully unsuccessful. We both knew the other was there, that our love was true and persistent, but it was as if we were inmates separated by the bars of our own personal prison cells of sorrow.

I can’t pinpoint the day of our release, but am thrilled to tell you that we are imprisoned no more.

It was really more of a long and treacherous journey, from the darkness of those sorrowful days to the joy we’re living in now. And there were many turning points along the way, but the biggest and most significant was our decision to become foster parents.

The story of this journey is the story I now plan to tell, along with the new stories of what is about to begin…this July. I’d better start writing!

No comments:

Post a Comment