Monday, September 23, 2013

September 24, 2013- #dogood

I made some new friends last week and attempted to explain "Do Good" to them.  I told them that it started as a saying from my Daddy, but has become so much more.  That made me have to go back and explain a bit about who my Daddy was, and to tell that he died last year.

This was met with the usual condolences.  It was followed up with "How is your Mom handling that?" Well, I often say, my parents were divorced.  My Mom actually lives in Winston now (yay!) as she is battling dementia.  (ugh.)  My Daddy had remarried (yay!) by my stepmother passed away in 2010 with breast cancer. (ugh.)  I don't always give all of those details... because my life sounds too much like a freakshow.  But those details are real and are part of this messed up world in which we live.

On this blog, I have shared loads of my pain for all 3 of those events.  I have shared how I have responded to those hurts- the good and bad ways I've attempted to continue.  I've also shared our most recent loss- the loss of a child we won't know until heaven.

And all of that sadness can make one weary.

This weekend, I read a book about someone else's loss... and the negative ways in which they responded to pain.  I read it while I was snuggled up next to a sleeping almost-7-year-old and was caught in what I believe to be a holy moment.  With her peaceful breathing setting the tempo for my heart, I had a near epiphany of the beauty and goodness in my life.  So often weighed down by what I have lost, I have neglected what I still have.  And Lord knows I've learned that we are not promised tomorrow... so I am committing to see the beauty more than the pain.

I am thankful for so many of you joining our attempt to Do Good this week.  While it typically is better to Do that Good anonymously, I'd be encouraged to hear your stories.  If you feel like sharing, post them with the hashtag #dogood on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Or comment here.  Or send me a message.  I love that I feel like I'm watching a movement and not a memorial.  And I love that your stories prompt others to join that movement.  There is so much Good to be Done.  No more focusing on what is lost, let us focus on what is ahead.

I'll be compiling some of those Do Good moments for my next post.  Check back here at the end of the week and be encouraged yourself.

Do Good, y'all.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Doing (some more) Good

Yesterday, one of my best friends asked me if I was dreading next week.  Wholeheartedly I said yes.  Tuesday, one week from right now, will be my Daddy's birthday and my due date- all wrapped up in one hard day.  Those anticipated events would arrive with little fanfare if I would allow it... but y'all know that's not how we roll.

Before this most recent loss, we lost two other babies.  Their due dates came and went- "celebrated" and remembered by Dan and me.  We would cry- longing to have a child, yet never knowing if we would have one.  I wasn't yet in a place where I felt I had words to express to others what that pain was like- so I smothered it all deep down in my dark places and became a wounded heart.

The loss of this baby is different.  This baby was so loudly celebrated at his or her "arrival" into our lives that it feels only necessary to celebrate the due date, too.  We knew this baby in more intimate ways- we had names picked out, plans made, nurseries nearly assembled.  We were unable to discover the gender, but when I think about our child, I tend to think it was a girl.  I didn't have strong feelings about gender with the others, but maybe it was because I was so closely tied to the girl name that when I think of what she (he?) would be like, I see her as female.

This summer as Dan's aunties were loving on us, we talked about the fact that when I get to heaven, I'll have four children. FOUR. What the what.  I understand that many of my friends have more than that now- but in my earthly home, I only have ONE.  Four will be a huge leap.... thankful that I'll be surrounded by God's glory and not need to worry about raising four children!!

So as we anticipate the 24th and mourn her due date- as well as my Daddy's birthday- we are turning our thoughts away from our own sadness and hurt and looking toward the needs of others.

That day, we are asking some local friends to join us for lunch and to join us in Doing Good.  Our hope is that we will surround ourselves with the people who have supported us mightily in the last several years, enjoy being a community, and take care of the needs of others.  In my email invitation to my Tribe, I asked them to consider Doing Good by one of the following:

- Donating gift cards (that we will in turn distribute as needs arise)
- Give to Meadowlark Meals- a backpack program that helps feed at risk children at our local school
- Donating toward a childhood cancer charity.  (I'd love to recommend this one.)
And, since that initial email was sent, a friend has taken on the task of sending supplies to friends affected by the flooding in Colorado. Maybe you'll donate to that need?

Or maybe there's another need near you that you feel compelled to support... if not, I'd love to help you find one.  As I have said before, in the last 500+ days, some of the times I have felt the most "whole" have been when I've been taking care of the needs of others and not my own.  This is the heartbeat of the Do Good "movement", and it's my hope that you will join us in intentionally Doing Good on September 24th.

What a lovely tribute it would be to my own Daddy, his grandchild, and our community.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

hard days and tough battles

Overall, we're doing fine.

Overall, we are blessed.

Overall, we have more good days than bad.

BUT... sometimes there are days like today that knock you back a bit.

There are days when the grief of the world around you- recounting tragedy from a horrific moment in our nation's history- takes you down a slippery slope of sadness.

There are moments when you see pregnant women or new babies in passing and realize that you are a mere 13 days away from your due date... and all of that hurt bubbles up to the surface again.

There are times when loving friends around you ask the innocent question, "How are you doing?", and you answer honestly... with tears and truth flowing faster than you can wipe them up.

There are afternoons when you are left making hard decisions about your mother's long term care and you are just sick of being a grown-up.  And in that same afternoon you get sucked in to the vortex of sadness over her condition and you miss your old mom and you just want to go back to a time when she rocked you in that big (ugly?) yellow chair.

There are times when you can't remember something from your family's history and you want to pick up the phone to ask your dad... only to have your heart leap in your throat as you remember.

And there are weeks when you fall out of a healthy routine because of a ridiculous injury that occurred after cutting an avocado and unintentionally stabbing your hand and needing stitches.  So you sit on the couch and allow yourself one more Fresh Prince episode and spiral down toward self-pity and frustration.

And days like this are real.  And are painful.  Both literally and physically thanks to my hand.  And I share all of these thoughts not to have you on red-alert for my mental health, but to say that I'm sure I'm not alone.  Sadly, I know too many who are hurting in their hearts, their lives, their families.  Who knows what their trigger may be- 9/11? a Hallmark ad? a life event?- but when their trigger occurs... they, too, spiral.

Give grace, share love, be patient... we never know what sort of battle someone is facing.
Unless, of course, they are ridiculous enough to post it on their blog.