Ginny has been doing some writing & blogging, but she has no desire for others to actually read her thoughts. The joy for her is solely in recording them. With that said, due to my begging, she allowed me to share a few on here. Oh yeah, and she doesn't capitalize.
the safe myth
(friday. august 29, 2008)
my in-laws are wonderful people. not long ago the family went out to this local mexican spot to grab some dinner. the whole group was there: my husband, his parents, his sister & her 2 little girls. as is routine in restaurants, we got seated, the waiter took our drink order then made his way back to take the meal order. then, as is routine with my in-laws, my mother-in-law pulls her purse into her lap & begins to search for it. my father-in-law is looking, in anxious anticipation of it. it is of vital importance to their dining experience & i have never seen them eat out without it. then, she finds it & sets it as a centerpiece on the table.
the travel size bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel, claiming to kill up to 99.9 percent of germs.
she coats herself with it, then he coats himself with it & they attempt to get everyone at the table to coat themselves with it. there truly is nothing like the aromas of alcohol & sizzling fajitas colliding together. i politely decline.
i can only speculate on how the restaurant gel routine came about. maybe my father-in-law saw a very convincing commercial or possibly my mother-in-law had a friend tell her of the preventative powers of the gel. regardless of how they got there, they have their gel. i guess we all have our gel. something that makes us feel better about the inevitable "germs" that are out there in the world. i would venture to say that for most, the deep-rooted issue of the "gel" is one of fear intermingled with control. we fear something, something we don't like or would be unpleasant for us & that fear leads us to think we just have to control the situation to make it right or clean or safe or healthy or better. it's sort of like when we learned about "if-then" clauses in grade school.
if i put on this hand gel, then i will not eat germs.
if i have a net on a trampoline, then i can bounce & not get hurt.
if we pass laws against abortion & homosexuality, then the country will be morally "safe".
if i eat right & exercise, then i will not get cancer.
if i study & search enough, then i have it all figured out.
i have no problem with any of those things. they are wonderful things. safety nets, hand gels, healthy lifestyle, knowledge, laws speak of responsibility & stewardship, both of which i am a huge fan & both of which honor God. my issue is not with the "if"s, but with the "then"s. we have this tendency in our western comfortable culture to hang our hat on those "then"s. everyone feels above them, the harm, hurt, accidents, pain, sickness, death that is a natural part of our mortal lives & the fallen world in which we live. we feel above it all because when the fear of those things creep in, we go into super control mode. more hand gel! taller nets! a newer vitamin! harder helmets! i can control this fear! i can make my world safe!
the truth is that the Creator of us, of the universe, of all that we are & see & experience is the only One in control. He is the only one that redeemed what went wrong in the garden on the cross. He is the only One that sees past the momentary "unsafety" & hurt to the character being built in us in adversity. not us, we can not make all things right or safe & believe a lie when we think we can. only One can....and does.
i am no expert on the matter & in fact more times than i'd prefer, i give into that sneaky lie. for instance, nearly 3 years ago this "if-then" statement was floating around in my mind as matt & i thought about starting a family.
if i do everything right while i'm pregnant, then i will have a healthy baby.
a few months later, i was pregnant & i did everything right. i drank no caffeine. i didn't drink alcohol. i didn't smoke or get near anyone who did. i took a prenatal vitamin every day. i exercised just enough, not too much & not too little. i drank a ton of water. i ate foods rich in vitamins & folic acid & dha's & steered away from fast food. my showers were never too hot. i never lifted anything remotely heavy. i got plenty of rest, never lying on my back. i made sure to not stand for too long or sit for too long. yep, i went through every "if" you could think of or read about. yet still, God Himself held in His hand my "then". my "then" was not a healthy baby. my "then" was a sweet beautiful, amazing, sick baby boy who lived for 99 days.
thinking we can do enough to be safe & do enough for our kids to keep them safe is simply a myth. only One holds our days in His hands.
"for YOU have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living". Psalm 56:13
funny thing about fear
(monday, june 9 2008)
so it's been since february that i've posted anything. which, in reality doesn't matter because if all goes as i'd like with this little blog it serves as only a place where the nomadic thoughts in my head actually have a temporal residence. as strange as it sounds, my desire is for no one to even read it...
so, the big thing right now in my life is that i am currently in the process of growing another person inside of me. that's right i'm pregnant. i am 21 weeks, which i must always stop & do the math to know that i am just about 5 months along. in october, eliot will have a little brother or sister. it's been so long now since eliot was here with us. 1 year & 8 months since i have held him. not every day, but most i want to scream to everyone around of the great ache that is still deep within my heart. i step past pictures of him that line our shelves & am so weary of remembering. i want to touch him & be with him. i don't know what people think & i am not concerned with their opinions of me...but it seems as if they think that now that so much time has gone by & now that we are expecting another baby that everything is okay. everything is not okay. this pregnancy & this little baby forming in my womb is another leg of grief, of the missing eliot. it is no replacement. no words can express the difficulty & uniqueness of being pregnant with your second child when the first is no longer here. the journey is filled with hope & expectation, fear & anxiety, joy of new life intermixed with the lingering pain of life lost. this child will only know his or her older brother by pictures & the stories we tell of his amazing life. in a way this child will enter into life with some form of grief already there to deal with. what will it be like for him or her to grieve & miss eliot?
matt & i go into this pregnancy with a distinct past. we are 1 for 1 for having unhealthy children. we are 1 for 1 for losing a child. with those stats, some fear is inevitable. we fight it daily & pray, trusting, that God is fighting this battle for us. the funny thing when i think about fear is what in the world do i have to fear? nothing. i have walked through every parent's absolute worst nightmare and yet i sit here as somewhat of a survivor. a survivor whom Christ has carried through each moment. i realize that doesn't mean i want to walk through it again. i also realize it doesn't exempt me from walking through it again.
"for i hope in You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God" Psalm 38:15
posted by ginny mooney at 11:30 am
(thursday, january 10, 2008)
after my husband & i had been married for a few years, we looked around at our lives & the lives of those we knew & were convinced of one sole desire. we did not want our lives to be "normal". what does that even mean? at the time, we had no idea. our thoughts were basically we don't know what we want, but we know what we don't:
we don't want a picket fence life.
we don't want to keep up with the jones'.
we don't want our conversations with people to center around our new car or curtains.
so, on these random thoughts, we began praying for a life that was not normal.
as those prayers went up & time went on, other "not normal" thoughts came. i told my husband one day that i had a pressing feeling that we, at one point or another in our life together, would have a special needs child. his response was at the very least deprecation. after all, we hadn't started a family yet & what kind of feeling is that for a young married couple? each time that thought surfaced, i successfully dismissed it as a possible foreshadowing of a distant future. maybe kid #5, when we were advanced in years & could love him or her in our old age along with all of our other children. i pictured the sweet face of a chid with down syndrome or maybe a wheelchair? what i didn't know was what i never could have pictured.
fast forward a few more years & i'm pregnant, at the halfway point. we pop in the ultrasound video to show the eager audience of family. the black & white portrait of the little one inside my belly tosses & turns on the screen. we, the proud mom & dad to-be, describe the details of crossed legs, spine, face, profile, beating 4 chamber heart, of the floating star of the show. as we narrate, we leave out a few particulars. like how most umbilical cords have 3 blood vessels & this one only has 2...& how those black blobs in the brain are actually cysts that are sometimes "normal" & sometimes not. a few months and many pounds later a specialist sat us down & said "things had progressed".
what we got was not normal. it wasn't the way we had pictured a not normal life, i mean we wanted no picket fences for petes sake. it wasn't even a special needs child to love & live a long life with. in an instant "not normal" was actually "not viable with life". it was a baby with a beating heart that had a hole in it, clenched fists, & sweet life inside my own that was terminally ill. we knew all this bad news about this kid before we even knew if it was a boy or girl.
it was a boy. his name was eliot. he was awesome & i believe is even better now. the 99 days he was with us were incredible, miraculous really. i spent 3 months & 10 days staring at the cutest "not normal" there ever was.
he left us for the much better 15 months ago. in his absence, my husband & i live with a constant ache in our hearts of missing him. this blog is about my learning to live with that ache.
an author named jerry sittser talks about how loss & saddness actually expand the soul. this is my journey of expansion.