Friday, April 16, 2010

{story telling...}

I need to tell you a story.

It’s not a particularly good story and for most, it certainly won’t be a meaningful story…but as I sat in our nursery this morning putting Hudson to sleep, I felt compelled to tell it because our lives are made up of stories. Some stories ask questions, others give answers and in some cases, you might even get a little bit of both.

This, is one of those stories…

Today is a day very much like the day we returned home from Italy a little over six months ago; our flight arrived just after midnight and we were greeted to a cool yet comfortable autumn night. After spending ten days in the sweltering heat of Ancient Rome, it was a very welcome change. For anyone that knows Steve and I well, you know that while we love, love, love to travel…our most favourite part of all is coming home! We walked in the door that night to a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a bouquet of flowers that our friend Jamie had left for our arrival. Despite our exhaustion and rapidly closing eyelids, we found that we just couldn’t sleep. We were so excited to be home and to the months ahead that all we could think to do was to just lie in our beds in perfect contentment.

Once we finally did fall asleep, it was well into the early morning hours and the rain began to fall. We woke up a few hours later to a torrential downpour and a sense of peacefulness that neither of us had experienced in many months. I sat next to the window and watched the rain for what felt like hours. We were home. And life was good.

You see…our trip to Italy wasn’t really part of our plan for last year. We had recently spent a month in Australia the previous spring and in no way was another vacation part of our financial timeline for the year. But, that being said, the six months leading up to our vacation certainly hadn’t been part of our plan either…and plans change. And so did we.

The beginning of 2009 was a very tumultuous time for my husband and I. Our faith, our endurance and our life as we knew it was being tested. Amidst a number of other challenges that occurred during that time, my husband and I were mourning the loss of what would have been our first child. We found out about the pregnancy just before Christmas and seven weeks later, we returned home from the emergency room with the news that we were about to endure a change of plans.

At the time of our miscarriage, I was also struggling a great deal with the direction and purpose that my life was taking. For some time, I had been feeling as though I had lost my way to the comforts of job that was too small for my soul. Beginning anew is hard though…but as I soon came to learn, losing your peace of mind and sense of self is much harder.

That’s when I began to take pictures. I had always wanted to but I had been afraid. Somewhere, in the depths of my soul, I thought that it was easier to believe that I might be a great photographer than to potentially know that I was a bad one. And so it went for the first thirty years of my life…I wondered if I would have ever been a good photographer. But the loss of our first pregnancy made me take a moment to pause…it made me take a moment to recognize the drastic change in direction that our life took not only with finding out that I was pregnant but also the change that came with the pregnancy ending. As I struggled to reason with this reality, I decided that the only thing that I could do was to ensure that something beautiful came out of the extra time that we were being given. So I picked up a camera and decided to find out for real what might come of it. What did ultimately come of it far exceeded my wildest expectations and has led my life in a direction that I never even imagined possible.

And then there is Italy.

Six months after our miscarried, my husband and I decided that we needed a break; we needed some time away to take a breath from all that we had been through. We chose Europe…Steve chose Italy. We decided to go for our anniversary (August 27th) and further more, we wanted to be there to commemorate what would have been the birth of our first child, who would have been due on August 24th. So we piled up all of our pennies and booked a ten-day trip to Rome and Florence.

Two weeks later, we found out that I was pregnant with Hudson…a discovery that left us both elated and terrified all at the same time. We proceeded to spend the next two months cautiously optimistic. When we had our first appointment with our doctor, he encouraged us to take baby steps (no pun intended!) in the progression of our pregnancy. “Twelve weeks” he told us…”Let’s get to twelve weeks” (in which case the likelihood of a miscarriage decreases to less than 1%). So that became our goal…twelve weeks.

I chose to tell this story specifically because it turned out that not only did our twelve week mark also occur while we were in Italy…but our twelve week mark also happen to be the exact same day as what would have been our previous due date; August 24th.

As two very faith-filled people, we chose to spend August 24th in Vatican City. We spent a long time in St. Peter’s Basilica, we visited the tomb of Pope John Paul II, we toured the Vatican Museum and we spent a great deal of time just saying thank you…because sometimes, that’s all there really is left to say.

I am Catholic and my husband is Protestant…but we are both children of God and found there to be a great deal of holiness within the walls of St. Peter’s. We found that there was no better place for us to be at that very time in our lives where the transition of one part of our life was departing and making room for a new one; we were going to have a child, we were all perfectly healthy, I was beginning to see light in my days and closing the door on the heartbreak that I felt from the previous months, and I had found passion in my purpose.

The day after we returned home from Italy, we saw an ultrasound of Hudson for the first time and this morning, as the rain poured down, I felt that same sense of peace with the world that I had six months ago. My little boy – a little boy I never would have met had this story not happened – was asleep in my arms; my husband was asleep in the room next to us; our fur ball was asleep at my feet…and all was well with the world. I am embarking on a new career that would not have been a possibility had this story not happened with an appreciation for my health and happiness that wouldn’t be quite the same had this story not happened.

The bottom line is that this story needed to happen. For my life to happen…this story needed to happen.

A year later, my view of this experience is obviously quite different. I am able to look back and observe our endurance with a new perspective and have certainly become more open to receiving some of the answers that I originally wasn’t ready to hear. The most important of them being trust; trusting in my God, trusting in myself and trusting in the bigger story…one that is perhaps beyond our ability to fully understand. And maybe we’re not supposed to have a complete understanding of every chapter of our life that we go through. Maybe we’re never supposed to be able to turn to the back page and read the ending. Maybe the most important part for us to know is that perhaps no story is really worth telling if there aren’t a few dragons that need to be slayed along the way.

Besides, don’t we all just love a good mystery?!?!


Vatican City, August 24th, 2009

Hudson ~ One Week Old


Carolyn said...

Beautiful story, beautiful boy, beautiful photograph.
Blessings and smiles
Mom xo

Jen Berry said...

what a great story. full of emotion, depth, honesty. you're going to be an amazing mother.

Cathy Crawley said...

That is a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it with us. I've walked in those shoes and they can be hard, but then when you least expect it along comes a little miracle and turns your world upside down to the direction it was meant to be all along :)

JanuskieZ said...
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