29 June 2008

I never know when to expect a good day or a sad day - they're so unpredictable and so sporadic. Today was a sad day.

We were getting ready to leave for church and I needed to find a pair of shoes. I was wearing dress pants because it was one of our cooler Sunday mornings in a long time. In the back of our closet I found my peep toe black wedges with white stitching - a good match for the dark pants. I noticed that there was dried mud on the back of the heels and remembered when I had worn them last. It was the day we buried Evie - the mud was from her gravesite.

There are going to be hard things, and it's just better to face them and put them behind me. I'll never have to wear those for the first time since we buried her again. But, I did today, and it was a sad reminder to me.

When we got to church I took Oliver up to the nursery. I came back downstairs to the chapel to join Ryan and my Mom and realized that we were seated right behind a dear friend whose baby girl was being baptized this morning. I love this friend and I love her sweet baby, but I can't help but be reminded that this baby was born during our Evie's memorial service. When I see her it's hard not to think of my baby. And I've been afraid that milestones in her life will be painful reminders of the milestones we're missing out on in Evie's.

Ryan suggested that it might be easier for me if we find another seat that isn't directly behind the family. The last thing I wanted was to be crying behind them on their special day. By the time we left our seat and walked to the back looking for another one, the chapel was full and we were left to stand in the back as the service began.

I was already emotional from the shoes that morning and told Ryan we may just do better to go home and try again next week. We got halfway to the car and I stopped to re-evaluate. I knew it would be fine to go home, but I felt like I would be missing out on a blessing to leave now. I don't want my grief to keep me from church. And, I don't want my sadness to keep me from loving that family and celebrating with them as their daughter is baptized in the covenant. My wonderful and sweetly flexible husband held my hand and walked me back into the church just in time for us to witness the baptism.

I wept the entire time. I don't begrudge them their baby one bit. I'm just sad that we won't be doing this with our own daughter. I miss her terribly.

Shortly after the baptism an usher told us he had seats for us near the front. We followed (my face still wet with tears) and were ushered to seats right in front - facing the congregation and the family! I felt terrible - I didn't want them to have to worry about me - this was a special day for them.

I began to wonder if returning to the service was a bad idea after all. I pulled myself together and dried my face and Dr. Grant preached a great sermon from Malachi chapter 4. We partook in the Lord's table and returned to our seats right in front. As people passed by, many of them stopped and embraced us. Even without words, so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ encouraged us and let us know that we were not alone.

I'm so grateful that we didn't go home.

I needed that encouragement. And, just like my shoes, I needed to face this hard reminder of a missed milestone in Evie's life. Facing it was good and, I believe, will make future milestones easier (though not painless) for us.

Ryan said that seeing that sweet baby with her dark hair and dark eyes was such a comfort to him - it wasn't his daughter! Our Evie had white hair and (presumably) blue eyes. It helped him realize that we don't need to equate that baby with our own. We can love her separately and covenantally.

Thank you, Lord, for your blessings this morning, and, for being faithful to supply our needs.


Katy said...

I love you Raechel. im glad you were at church, and i got to see you and hug you. you are very very loved!

Jessica said...

You have no idea how much of a blessing it is to see you at church. I love you Raechel!

Amy said...

I often pray for y'all during baptisms. That's when I'm most reminded about Evie, so I know that you all are too. Yesterday especially. Maybe it was because I could tell you were purposefully keeping yourself glued to that front row seat that I prayed a little more yesterday. I was thanking the Lord that you were so deliberate to continue on with your daily ups and downs in the midst of your covenant community and not apart from it, just as you have done all along. Because it seems that now, when the primary focus and care is no longer on you all, it would be easier to slip into the solitude of grief. I would. I often do. So thank you for wearing those shoes. And thank you for turning around, coming back into church, and allowing that usher to lead you to the seats in the front. You all are a blessing and I love you dearly.

JudyApple said...

Hi sweetie. I have a card sitting on my desk for you. It has been here for quite awhile and I keep forgetting to give it to you.

You are so very loved and always on my heart.

I love Oliver and Bea so much ( and their moms and dads too!)