All it took was one question. I wasn't prepared for it and even though it wasn't directed at me, I couldn't react. I just turned around and walked away. 'Quickly, find something else to think about. Grab that plate, ask Jeremiah if he needs something else to eat. Is there still pop left in that can?' Anything, think about anything but the answer to that question.
"Wait, don't you have two kids now?" she asked Lee.
"No, just Jeremiah."
A brief look of confusion flashed across her face before I escaped. I spent the rest of last night trying to regain my equilibrium, hoping the conversation would not return to that topic, hoping she would wait until we were gone from the party to get an answer to her curiousity.
It's been over a year and a half, the time spent doing my very best to move forward and I was suddenly back to crying myself to sleep, prayers mingled in the giant mess somewhere.
Today I'm surprised by my weakness, wishing it weren't so easy to cry, wondering if this will ever be over this side of heaven.
I feel tethered to the pain. The chain has lengthened these last 10 years, and sometimes I feel like it's not even there. But then a question, one innocent well-meaning question asked, and I find myself staring up at the sky, backside smarting from the unexpected flop as I've been yanked back. I'm crawling to my knees today, doing my best to clean up and start walking again.
It reminds me of one afternoon while Lee and I were waiting for the first birthmom to make her final decision about her baby. Incredibly emotionally strung we spent some time along the St. Croix river in Stillwater hoping that distraction would help ease some of our tension. Sitting along the cement retaining wall I held onto our dog's leash when suddenly he started running towards another dog throwing me off-balance. My grip was strong, but still I found myself falling into the water scraping my arms and legs against the cement on my way down. Lee's strong arms helped me out of the water and as I made it back to the grass I could only stare numbly at my scraped and bloodied skin. I was dripping wet and still bleeding as Lee gently secured me in the truck. I knew he was waiting. I was waiting, waiting for it all to collapse.
The scars from that day are gone, the pain only a memory. My season of waiting for resolution and healing didn't last long, and there was finally a day when the memory of that time didn't make me weep. The addition of Jeremiah brought tremendous healing for me-I remember that well. I'm trying to hold onto that as hope for right now.
I've spent years buffering myself against pain, toughening my "skin" against well-meant questions and comments and in the process created quite an untouchable shrine in my own heart. My very private place of pain that no one could really touch. But I am not impenetrable. My pain does not belong there, and most certainly does not belong held selfishly in my heart. So I will do with it what I feel God is asking me to do, offering it as my most sacred and vulnerable possession as a form of offering. Can pain be presented to God as an act of worship?
But it is what I will do, even if my hands are still bloody while I lift them upward.