Time is a funny thing, isn’t it?
In some ways, it feels as if Townes has been a part of our lives longer than three years (maybe the year-2020- that never seemed to end has something to do with it) or maybe it’s just that life is hard to remember without his joyous giggle.
In other ways though, I think time has a way of sealing the past. Locking up the pain, disappointment, fear, and rawness of an experience so it stays hidden until a sudden unexpected memory creeps to the surface and brings with it a roller coaster of emotion. This is when time reminds you, maybe there is still some healing to be done.
So today, in honor of the birth of my son, I would love to share an excerpt from the first chapter of Ridiculously Hopeful, “Daddy’s Girl.”
“While I waited, the future loomed ahead like watching a black storm cloud roll over distant hills at great speed. My life transformed into the suspense novels I love to read. I waited with trepidation, wondering what would transpire next, a future of unknowns and uncertainties.
Finally, relief flooded over me as I saw him, my husband, Scott, walk into the room. His face was solemn, but I reached for his hand anyway. I felt anxious, but I didn’t know how to articulate it. The words would not come. Instead, I decided to remain numb, not just physically but emotionally. It was easier that way.
I didn’t envision the birth of my first child or welcoming him to the world this way, not because I was preparing for a Caesarean section in an operating room, but because teams upon teams of doctors bustled around—so many I lost count—and I could not explain all their roles in the process.
My high-risk obstetrician entered the room and said, “It’s time. Are you ready?”
I wondered; Do I have a choice? My son is safer as long as I am pregnant, but the risk is too great for me to naturally go into labor. What other choice am I left with than to be ready?
At least I convinced myself that I was ready.
Scott turned on our worship music, and we prayed together. He drew near my face, speaking words of reassurance, and then, at 12:33 p.m., we heard a small but identifiable cry.
Scott leaned down and whispered, “That’s good.”
A few seconds that felt like minutes passed, and we heard another soft cry. Scott leaned over and kissed me on the forehead. No words were spoken, and no report was given. I didn’t get to see my newborn son, much less hold him. My son’s condition remained a mystery to me.
And then, they were gone. Almost everyone.
I lay there alone, helpless tears streaming down my face in a quiet room once filled with countless people. Only a few remained to put me back together, at least, physically.”
This morning, I greeted my birthday boy with a huge smile and smothered him in kisses. We watched Paw Patrol and readied ourselves for the day. I was simply excited to be with him, to spend the morning with him. It wasn’t until after I dropped him off at Mother’s Day Out that I was bombarded with a new and unexpected wave of emotion as I glanced at the clock.
9:03 am – while for most there is nothing significant about 9:03 am on February 6th but for me, it represents the time Scott and I checked into the hospital three years prior. I can remember my attempt to walk with confidence, my effort in keeping the ever-present uncertainty shoved deep inside the walls I so carefully constructed. The truth is, Scott and I had no way of knowing the months that were in store. The days, weeks, months spent watching Townes fight for his life while we, our families, and our community fought the only way we knew how: through putting one foot in front of the other in faith and in ceaseless prayer.
So today, while listening to a song I have recently found to be so healing “There was Jesus”, like a tidal wave, the rush of emotion came back and the rawness of the deep buried ache of watching the doctors take my son away without so much as a word and without seeing him upon his birth crashed into me. So, I sat there in my car grieving and rejoicing – declaring the words of the song over and over.
“In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing and the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been and where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus
On the mountain, in the valleys (There was Jesus)
In the shadows of the alleys (There was Jesus)
In the fire, in the flood (There was Jesus)
Always is and always was
No I never walk alone (Never walk alone)
You are always there”
It was Jesus then and it is Jesus now. It’s his healing power that will slowly but surely mend my heart back to whole even when I am unaware of the cracks.
Three years ago, my son entered the world with a physically broken heart and through more miracles than I can count and a story of redemption he was made whole. So, I believe, the same is true for us. While maybe our brokenness does not mirror a physically broken hearts, our pain ebbs and flows in like ocean waves, but so does his grace. And it’s through the power of his grace that we will find healing, wholeness, and new beginnings.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us in Isaiah 61:1-3 that Jesus will comfort all who mourn, give freedom for the captives, bind up the brokenhearted and he will crown us in beauty instead of ashes. Like a Phoenix who emerges from his own ashes stronger, smarter, and powerful, so does Jesus lift us up to shine in his glory. Jesus anoints us with oil instead of mourning, extends a garment of praise instead of despair and calls us oaks of righteousness.
Isaiah goes on to say that we will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the place long devastated but as I read it today, I saw the metaphor held deep within – that Jesus is the one who will repair our ruins, heal our traumas, and offer restoration when we need it.
Today, will you join me in celebrating the life of my son, Townes? Will you praise Jesus on Townes behalf for the miraculous work that has been accomplished in his life? And join us in remaining Ridiculously Hopeful for Townes future.