Knowing the Unknown

December 31, 2008 § Leave a comment

Karen and I sat on the couch two nights ago watching “The Duchess.” I sat indian-style and a little slouched (as is my custom), and Karen clasped my arm with her hand and rested her head against my shoulder. I wondered if lazy nights like this would be more scarce like this in a few months.

I also wondered when I had become such a ninny.

At one point in the movie—well, at several points really, but I only need refer to the first one—the duchess, played by Keira Knightley, finds herself pregnant. I was keenly aware that this was the point in the film when I began to grow tense. In the movie great importance is placed upon the fact that she is pregnant, and I felt the full weight of its importance. Later on there is a scene at a dinner party, and she is very close to her delivery date. Suddenly, she gasps and grips the edges of the table, her knuckles white and her eyes wide. Her maids, or ladies in waiting or whatever come in and escort her out, supporting her weight and the additional seventy or eighty pounds of her dress between them as she screams in pain. And the music swells, a discordant melody that carries us to an interminably long blackout.

I couldn’t hardly stand it.

“What’s happening?” I wanted to shout.

“Is this normal?”

“Is the baby okay?”

All this while my mind concocts the myriad of things that could be going wrong behind the black of my television screen. As the next scene fades up we find her in a bright, sunlit room, cooing and smiling at an infant in a bassinet, and finally I could breath again.

I’ve been hyper-sensitive lately about any stories, articles, movies, television shows and even jokes that involve someone being pregnant, and I’ve never realized before how many of them there are. Somehow I immerse myself in them, intertwining the fates of the characters with the fates of Karen and me. I find myself desperately hoping everything will turn out perfectly because that somehow assures me everything can turn out perfectly, everything will turn out perfectly.

I am now uncomfortable with the injustice of the world in a way I’ve never been before.

And even as I write this I am coming to the realization that I’ve only just begun, that this fear and worry and panicked hope have little chance of ending with the birth of our baby. When he’s two I’ll read an article about a kidnapped toddler with strangled breath and a fluttering heart. When she’s thirteen I’ll watch the cruel girl in the movie who ridicules the other girl with a cold hatred that is, at the very least, unhealthy.

I’m realizing that I haven’t even begun to understand what it is to trust God, to have faith in his provision, his protection and, above all, his plan even when I can’t find the provision or protection in it. The further I walk in life and in God the more I realize that my wanderings thus far have just given me a better vantage point from which to see how much further I have to walk.


Cruel and Unsual

December 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

Bailey the Reindeer


December 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

I think I lost my sense of humor.

It has to be around here somewhere.

Weighty Winter

December 22, 2008 § 1 Comment

Here in the land of heat and sunshine I’ve never known it to be so cold or to rain so much. I can hear the call of the Christmases of my youth more clearly than ever, promising to turn these heavy gray drops into the weightless white of a winter’s snow. But this is not a Christmas for going home; it is one to focus on making a home because next year there will be a new baby in our home.


December 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

I just read an entry in my journal from this time last year:

Upon my dresser sits a silver tinsel tree, three feet tall and deliciously pathetic. Its sparse branches do little to disguise the cream-colored wall that serves as its backdrop—a stark, blank canvas—the expanse of which threatens to swallow the tree whole. Its spindly silver trunk stretches at least a foot from the base before it ever encounters a branch; then it suddenly explodes into a mess of shine, giving the tree a top-heavy silliness. Each time I pass it by the branches bounce slightly causing the colorful baubles to bob as they hang shiny from the tips. And draping in a haphazard spiral from top to bottom is a cheap plastic icicle garland that shimmers with white iridescence. The whole ensemble in splendidly kitsch, and I adore the audacity with which it seems to embrace its homeliness. Christmas is a time for the outpouring of love upon that which is unequivocally unlovable.

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