I know you feel stuck and bleak and frustrated. I know being in the bleary, grinding middle is exhausting. The days run together and you feel like life is passing as you tread water.
Hear me when I say that hard is relative. Hard is just hard, regardless of where the weary comes from. Yes, there are the orphans with the distended bellies and the war widows and the homeless and the whole broken weight of humanity. But you are still allowed to say "this is hard." Because everyone is fighting a battle and it's important to be kind - especially to yourself. So look at your fight and your Fear and acknowledge that yes, it is hard. This is your hard. Be in it and don't run from it or numb from it or hide from it. Be in it.
Nine years ago this week, Drew and I got engaged. He got on one knee at the farm near my parents' house. He was on crutches at the time and I definitely thought he was falling down on his face. We were just babies -- 21 years old. We grew up together, Drew and I. We became our true adult selves in each others' impossibly close proximity and it was really funny sometimes and really confusing sometimes and hell on earth a lot of the time.
This is not a fun or snarky post. I'm here to talk about sad and hard things again.
The short version of our story (which you can read more on here and here) is that we lost our second daughter Finley to a late-term miscarriage in December. I've mentioned this before, but I still don't know how to be a person who grieves in a public space. I can't tell you how many posts I have sitting in my drafts folder that I abandoned, thinking "this is just too much of a downer".
You guys know I like to do updates in batches, so as to appear very interesting and important. I have five things going on right now. FIVE NEW THINGS. It's no big deal, really. *hair flip*
1. THIS SASSY NEW SITE
Drew, angelheart that he is, built me this new site in his very limited spare time and I am over the moon about it (and him). Of course, there are still tweaks to be made and sexy new updates we'd like to add. But as my girl Liz Gilbert says: done is better than good. So here we are.
I've been reading the Chronicles of Narnia out loud to Drew before bed. (Should I be more embarrassed to admit that? #nerds) And a few nights ago, we were reading the part in The Silver Chair where Jill meets Aslan for the first time. She is faint with thirst and comes across a stream, but before she can run to it, she spots a massive lion sitting next to the water.
God speaks to each of us as he makes us, then walks with us silently out of the night. These are the words we dimly hear: You, sent out beyond your recall, go to the limits of your longing. Embody me. Flare up like a flame and make big shadows I can move in. Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. Don’t let yourself lose me. Nearby is the country they call life. You will know it by its seriousness. Give me your hand.
First, I feel the need to thank you afresh, readers, for the outpouring of love and support we have received after my last post. I will never forget it - who knew we had built such a community? As touched as I was by the support, I was equally... co-heartbroken? sympathy-griefstricken? secondhand mournful?...
How do I even write this? It's such a strange string of sentences to type - but I feel obligated to share them, having chosen to live in this odd space where my life is so private and yet so public all at the same time. Knowing how valuable the "me too" of this community has been, I feel compelled to tell our own story. I have this nagging worry that we are becoming an anonymous tale of grief. A vague object of pity. And I've never been one to let someone else tell my story.
One of my favorite parts about this strange blog space is the friendships I've formed because of it. One of my readers-turned-pals emailed me the other day and asked me how I think motherhood has changed me as a writer. She herself is a writer and we've often talked about the give-and-take involved in "the professional vale of soul making that a life in literature can become," as Christian Wiman -- one of our favorite authors would describe it. Writing is so influenced and yet influential. I'm trying to embrace imperfection and sharing my response to that question is part of it.