Epiphany 2016

I’m starting to slowly sort through the last year, in an effort to recognize the fruit that the Holy Spirit might bear in my life…part 1 of ?   

I finish scooping leftover chili into everyone’s bowl and work my way through the maze of boxes that has slowly been dominating our apartment since we packed up the Christmas tree.  David is home from work for lunch and it’s nice to have someone help take care of the girls for a little bit. They’re 1 and 2.5 and I’ve just started to get to the place where the thought of being pregnant doesn’t make me panic breathe and break out in a cold sweat. Over lunch, we chat about signing papers for the mortgage and making sure that we’ve gotten all the paperwork to our lender. We’re buying and moving into our first house in about a week.

All too quickly the meal is over and it’s time to hustle the girls into their room for a nap (and possibly a nap for me as well). I’m just so tired. But then again, I have been tired since I got pregnant with Phoebe, so that’s not really anything new.  Suddenly, though, there is a new feeling. And instead of that delightfully contented feeling that normally leads to a little post-lunch nap, I have a different, unsettled kind of feeling and I can’t figure out what’s wrong with me, but David knows.

He returns home in about 20 minutes with a pregnancy test and rushes off again for a meeting.  I take it and fully expect it to be negative, preparing to hunker down and weather the flu or food poisoning, or whatever other ill-timed sickness has come knocking at my door.

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It’s positive.

And I was wrong. The panic breathing and cold sweat begins as soon as I see that line and my brain tries to do math.  My hands are shaking. And I feel just so many things all at one time.

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It’s a surprise. A surprise that disrupts the story I am living and writing. We are about to move into a peach-colored house that needs to be completely scraped and painted, a house with an ugly stick-tile kitchen floor that is supposed to be peeled up and replaced. We have a home full of boxes that need to be packed up. And, as I will discover in less than a month’s time…well, that’s a different kind of surprise entirely.

I text a picture to David and try to control my breathing. I am overjoyed. I mean, this is a person we’re talking about. I’m thrilled to meet this tiny baby who I have already fervently begun to pray will be a girl because at least that wouldn’t take much getting used to. And at the same time, I am so very, very caught off guard.  And afraid. And unsure if this makes me irresponsible. Or if I can blame this on God. And I feel like I have been holding a baby for the last 15 months. And I’m not sure that I’m ready to hold another one just yet. And I feel guilty, guilty for my complex emotions in light of the fact that I know the world is full of women whose wombs ache for children. And I’m curious. Curious to know what this child will be like, what she will look like. I’ve known I am pregnant for five minutes. I will cycle through these emotions repeatedly for the next nine months.

At precisely this moment I think of that girl who sat on her bed during Christmastide and wrote “Steadfast” a thousand times on a piece of paper and had quiet and serene thoughts about being still and steady, quiet and unchanging, and I feel my stomach drop as I realize that steadfast isn’t quite the nice word I thought it was.  You don’t discover whether or not something is unchanging until the winds of change start kicking up.

 

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