Today, the Trent Dabbs song, “This Time Tomorrow,” has been on repeat in my head. I am struck by how much it speaks to our life in this moment…
So there my friend, you’re in the deep end.
Just hanging on, to hope by a loose thread.
Well it’s never good, to try and play pretend.
But maybe what’s broken, can start to shine.
Um…yep. That’s pretty much us. In the deep end, hanging on by a thread.
Last summer, when I first found out I was pregnant with my fourth, I remember looking down at my four-year-old, my two-year-old, and my nine-month-old…and thinking, “Well, now we’re REALLY in a hanging-on-by-a-thread, swim in the DEEP END.”
AND THEN…you bury a child. That precious child you had wanted. And every other suffering you’ve known before this…feels like you’ve spent your whole life splashing in a shallow kiddie pool by comparison.
And THEN…this summer I began to think that being a mommy to those same precious little ones, while being pregnant with a new life, and still grieving the loss of another one…was the real DEEP END.
And THEN…you bury another child. And your tears feed the thirsty grave of more fresh turned soil. And you realize that there’s absolutely no way to know if you’ll ever again even get to leave the DEEP END.
Those younger years, never saw yourself standing here.
They disappeared, all the moments you held so dear.
Start keeping them close, waves come and go.
Those moments and dreams we held so dear did disappear. And the waves of grief and suffering have come and gone. But mostly they come. And come and come.
And people think you’re “OK” now… because you post cool family moments on Instagram. And those good moments are our real life moments. But so too is the sorrow. And most days, it’s just a whole lot of sorrow.
AND THEN…when you are absolutely sure that you cannot possibly endure any more pain…you are diagnosed with a serious thyroid disorder that has wrecked your body in more ways that you can even keep track of. And you realize that this is no longer a season. You might as well just embrace that you have moved IN to the DEEP END.
And in the midst of all of this…your children watch. With little eyes, and huge, thoughtful hearts.
The other day, I went in for my weekly blood test. To say it didn’t go well is a bit of an understatement. I had to fast for some of the tests, so I was pretty weak by the time they finally got me in. I also had to bring along a three-year-old still decked out in his Thomas jammies, and a tiny princess dressed in her puff-sleeved Snow White dress.
I don’t know if the lab technician was just distracted by the adorable kids, or if I just have really small veins, but after sticking the needle ALL THE WAY THOUGH to the other side, and causing internal bleeding, he gave up and switched to the other arm. He swung the needle around in there for a while, and after a few more frantic tries, finally gave up and called in another technician. And since I was now on the verge of passing out, she did the first six vials and then shouted, “Get the juice ready! Not yet…not yet…NOW! Give her the juice!” It was like a scene out of ER. But finally, eight vials later, and we were done.
And yet not done. Because you take these moments with you. And that night, as I was washing dishes, I overheard Freddo’s bedtime prayer. He prayed for all of the usual things on a little boy’s mind and heart, and then suddenly, his sweet little voice said, “And dear God, please make Mommy’s body better. And please don’t let the doctor do that to her ever again.”
And you know, deep in your heart, that your precious children…who are still so very small…are also stuck in the DEEP END. Most adults you know have never even been there, and yet, these tiny people you love most…have to live there too. And you would walk through fire to keep them from it if only you could.
But you can’t.
And that…is the worst part of life in the Deep End.
And all you can do is pray that the God who is very slowly teaching you to swim…also gives swim lessons to kids.
So that was our week. And then, as if things needed a little spicing up, my arm was bruised and still hurting four days after the blood draw…so I went into Urgent Care late Monday night to rule out a blood clot.
As I sat there alone, in the dingy Urgent Care room, under the bright fluorescent lights, I thought about life in the Deep End. How unstable it is. How the only constants seem to be uncertainty, confusion, fear, and overwhelm. And how, though you thrash, and gulp at air, and wonder if it really is possible to keep swimming in so much pain…somehow your ravaged soul breathes on.
AND THEN…the Urgent Care nurse walks in and tells you that, “No, you don’t have a blood clot, just internal bleeding. And oh, by the way, we took a quick test, and you’re pregnant.”
And there you are again. In the really Deep End.
I’ve had a long-running, internal debate about whether I really wanted the entire universe to know that we are once again pregnant. But I do. Because we really need your prayers. I mean, REALLY. NEED. YOUR. PRAYERS.
And honestly, it feels like nothing to tell you…after telling our kids. I didn’t want to tell them. Telling them makes it real. And everything real in our life seems to hurt right now. But it IS real. We will always, for all eternity, have this sixth child in our lives, and on our minds and hearts. And whether here or There…someday…we will actually know this little person. So thankfully, my husband, who is so steady about not backing down from what we truly believe…fought for their opportunity to celebrate this new life with us.
And we told them. And it was good.
Emma…immediately burst into tears of joy and started jumping up and down like she had just won the Baby Lottery. She asked us all the pertinent questions an oldest “planner” would…like who will watch them when we go to the hospital, and what names we had picked out. And seeing her joy both hurt and helped so much. It hurts seeing her hope. It also means so much that still, after all of the suffering she has endured, her heart is capable of hope in the God who has said “No” to so many of her prayers.
And then there was Freddo. Sweet Fred. The most positive, sweet-spirited, hopeful little person I’ve ever met, said in his always cheery voice, “I wonder if this baby will die too!”
And you could have heard a pin drop. Right there in the Deep End.
And even as the tears filled our eyes with his innocent words, I knew that I had to be ok with them. Because it’s the same question we’re all asking. It’s a question you don’t ask in the Shallow End. It’s a question reserved for the Deep End.
And there is only One who knows the answer. And eventually, He will tell us.
And meanwhile, we will hope, and pray, and celebrate this new life. And He will hold us…each one of us.
And we continue our life in the Deep End.