October 24, 2008

He gives and takes away

In the last view days I've been thinking about our second child, Washington. We never met him. His microscopic heart was only beating for a few weeks before his Father took him home. At midnight on Mother's Day, 2006, I woke straight up out of a deep sleep. My heart told me something was about to happen. Moments later, it did.

Two months earlier, Daniel and I stood flabbergasted before a positive pregnancy test. Bright was only a baby, and everything was set for us to move to East Asia in the Fall. Now we were unexpectedly pregnant. This wasn't the plan?!

The night before I had had a dream that we were pregnant with a son, and in my dream Daniel was seated before his friends, proudly announcing that our son's name would be Washington, after George Washington, because he would "lead the charge."

So as we stood before the E.P.T., stunned and confused, my first thought was, 'Oh my, we are going to have to name him Washington.' I chuckle at myself now. It's funny the things that go through our minds in important moments. I remember my first thought after Daniel proposed was, 'Oh no, I have bad breath.'

So we canceled our one year in East Asia. There was no sense in going now, only to spend a third of the year wrapped up with a new baby. We shifted gears from world travel to a second child, and began to get really excited. And then, the very One who gave us that child took him away. What was left was the strangest kind of grief. Unlike someone you knew, when you grieve the loss of an unborn child you have no memories of him, just memories of the love you felt for him while you were ever so briefly his mother. And there is also the loss the dreams you had for him. And the way you thought your family would be with him in it. But that is not all we felt. In the midst of our grief and the changes our life had taken over the past two months, we felt so loved and cared for by our Creator. It is difficult to explain, but the memories of these things are sweet to me.

So with no East Asia and no baby, the three of us moved to Van Buren, Arkansas, and Daniel got a job at the fellowship where he grew up. He learned a lot about teaching the Word and loving people and being patient with himself, and I gave birth to Zion Daniel in May of 2007. East Asia came back into the picture and we ended up here after all, according to His plan.

When I think about Washington, I love to think about the fact that he fulfilled his purpose in this world. He was to "lead the charge." And lead the charge he did. If not for him, we would have come to East Asia 2 years ago, we would have never spent the time in Van Buren (which provided us MUCH in the way of training, dear friends, and wonderful memories with Daniel's family), and we never would have had Zion. Washington is just as much a part of our story as any other member of this family. And even now, as I think about him, I am filled with love for him. One day we will all be together, and I will look into his face, and I will smell his hair, and I will thank him in person for not living. Is that weird? I don't know. But it is, nonetheless, the peace I have been given: someone bigger than all of this is in control.