Friday, December 31, 2010

Live the Questions.

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves.
Do not now seek the answers...
the point is to live everything. Live the questions."
-- Rainer Maria Rilke

I remember exactly where I was -- and who I was with -- the first time I heard this prose. It resonated with me then -- and now, too.

I heard it first over 10 years ago, in a hospital chapel. I was there as a student in a Clinical Pastoral Education Program. The blending of my deep faith and spirituality, along with my fascination with psychology and counseling led me to this program where I set out on a quest to become, perhaps, a hospital chaplain.

It turned out, that after completing my first Unit of CPE, I had learned more about myself than I'd ever imagined.

The most valuable lesson I took away from my year in CPE was identifying my personal struggle with the unknown, and my strong desire to put things in nice, neat packages... what I learned is that questions are often left unanswered, and packages aren't always wrapped elegantly and tied neatly with velvet bow.

As I reflect on this past year, this 2010, I am struck by the laundry list of unanswered questions I still have. Rilke's poetry comes to the forefront of my mind once again. So many of my questions begin with, "Why...?" And my instinct is to want them all answered. But the reality is, I may never know their answers. I probably won't. And it probably doesn't really matter.

Live the questions.

Without a doubt 2010 was the most difficult of my 40 years. But even with its challenges - and God there were many! -- it brought so many gifts to my life. Of course, my youngest child Patrick being at the top of this list, but I have also been gifted with stronger relationships, new friendships, renewed faith, and incredible kindnesses bestowed on me, on us. Thank you.

Cheers, 2010.

Welcome, 2011. I can't wait to meet you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Believe in Miracles.

Just one week from today, Patrick will be celebrating his First Christmas.

A year ago at this time I was receiving weekly ultrasounds at Yale with world-reknowned Maternal-Fetal Specialists, trying to figure out why our baby's neck looked 'a little swollen'. And each week I would try so hard not to jump to the worst case scenario. But, gosh that was hard. Impossible. Google became my worst enemy.

As you might imagine, I've been thinking non-stop about last December's Christmas too. How, at that time, I was imagining what this year's Christmas would be like, with two children. Wondering how Luke would be faring with this new baby in his life. Wondering if Luke would be over-the-top excited about Santa. Wondering if Luke would still feel extra-special, even though we'd have a baby in our midst who would need to feel special too. I wondered how I could possibly love another child with the same magnitude and depth that I love Luke. And, I wondered what our new baby would be capable of doing by the time Christmas 2010 rolled around. Would he be crawling? Maybe... Walking? Doubtful, but you never know...

Never in all my imaginings did Christmas look like This. Nor had I expected to spend the first 1/3 of 2010 camped out in Newborn Special Care, staring into an isolette, wondering from minute-to-minute, day-to-day, what would become of my Little One. Wondering how he would -- how he could -- ever find his way out of this. And in those days, I couldn't even look toward this Christmas; sometimes I could hardly imagine the next week.

As this week unfolds, and Luke's excitement reaches heights never before seen, and my patience often reaches lows I'm not proud of, I am making a promise to myself.

To slow down. Enjoy these moments. And keep a watchful eye on the magic of this season.

Miracles are happening all around us.