On Saturday we celebrated Steve turning 11 months. By “we” I mean me, and by “celebrated” I mean I mentioned it and took a few pictures of him. While I had the camera out, I took a few pictures of Denali too. I realized just how lucky I am to have two beautiful creatures in my life — in my home, constantly in my personal space.
However, this isn’t what I expected. When Brad and I stood there in front of our family and friends on May 16 almost four years ago, this isn’t what I was expecting for our life together. I wasn’t expecting to document the lives of our dogs as the primary focus of our daily lives.
I wasn’t expecting to still be running half marathons or going to yoga several times a week. I wasn’t expecting my quilting business to pick up. I wasn’t expecting to read so many books or go on so many walks with only leashes in my hands. I wasn’t expecting a new job with a more structured schedule.
I wasn’t expecting to be hurt when friends announced their pregnancies. I wasn’t expecting to avoid baby showers or to unfollow people on social media because of their growing families.
I was expecting to be expecting.
In church on Sunday the choir sang this beautiful anthem, O Love by Elaine Hagenberg. Here are the familiar words:
O Love, that will not let me go, O Love, I rest my weary soul in Thee; I give Thee back the life I owe, that in thy ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be. O Joy, that seeks me through the pain, O Joy, I cannot close my heart to Thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be.
I’ve felt it — the Love that won’t let me go. I’ve felt that Love carefully tending to my weary soul.
I’ve felt it — the Joy seeking me through my pain. I’ve felt that Joy keep my heart open just a little bit longer.
I’ve seen it — the rainbow through the rain, the bright moon on dark nights.
I feel like I’m finally coming through the storm, through the dark night of the soul. It lasted a long time, or at least it felt like a really long time.
Through my pain and confusion, I started to write. Through my writing, I’ve discovered my voice.
I’ve always known I was meant to birth something. When I learned it likely wouldn’t be a child, I wondered what it might be. At first I was so hurt and devastated that I couldn’t think about other options. I didn’t want to come up with a solution. I knew I needed to sit through the pain. I knew I needed to embrace the grief if I ever wanted to find solace in my life. So I sat with it, I welcomed it in, I let myself feel what I needed to feel. And I still will… this process isn’t over. I don’t think it will ever be.
But, it’s starting to look different. The Love that wouldn’t let me go is helping me find gratitude in the sunrise and sunset. The Love has taught me to rest and step back when I need it and to jump in and embrace when the time is right. The Love has shown me there’s no right way to go — that each step I take is the next right one for the path that I’m meant to take. Despite the emptiness I sometimes feel, my life is beginning to feel fuller and richer, thanks to Love.
I have started and stopped this post at various times today. During one of those stops I received an email that brought me much Joy. I’ve discovered, through conversations and discernment, that I will birth something new — a book. And today I signed up for a four-week planning course to help me prepare for the next steps in birthing this book.
I’ll be working with Bookwifery — a midwife for books. I’ve struggled with her metaphor from day one. It’s still hard. When I signed up for her collective today, I had to select which “stage” I’m in… pregnancy planning. That’s my stage. Just typing that hurt. It’s still painful and yet, I know, deep down I know, that I’m supposed to be walking this part of my journey with Christianne — this book midwife.
I don’t know how long this process will take. I don’t know what the end product will look like. I don’t even know the full story that will be told.
I do know a few things, though. I know that I want to write the book I needed when I first heard the news of my infertility. I want to write the book that will help parents, friends, neighbors, spouses understand what someone they love might be experiencing. I want to tell my story so that she might be more comfortable — more willing — to tell hers.
I have no idea who might read this book one day. I don’t even know if there is an audience for the book I want to write — the book about a woman who decided to trust her intuition and not seek further treatment for her infertility. Surely I can’t be the only one, but I haven’t found another woman like me yet. But, maybe if I tell my story, she might be willing to take a risk and tell hers too. Then maybe neither of us will be alone on our journeys.
I never expected to write a blog. I also never expected to run so many half marathons either, so I guess you just never know! I never imagined myself writing a book. I still can’t really picture it. Maybe it’s time for some new expectations. I’m going to trust my intuition once again and move toward this exciting, terrifying, vulnerable thing, which someday will be a gift I can give to the world — a gift only I can give.