If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that I don’t have control. We lost Ethan in January, still and probably forever without explanation; we almost moved to London three times, then stayed put; we were blessed with another pregnancy—and now that baby will likely be born early; and we experienced a couple of other kinds of loss and scares through our friends. It has been a trying year, one of many tears and much heartbreak.
At the same time, it has been one of joy: weddings, anniversaries, babies, my finishing my novel and starting to take next steps with it, Jacob, Jacob, Jacob. These things, too, even those that would seem to be within my power, are beyond it. I don’t know how I finished a novel. I don’t know how I managed to knit so much. I don’t know how I managed to have a more successful year business-wise than I anticipated.
The joys, as much as the sorrows, have been at the hand of God. I did my part—though not always well—to strive for His will. I hope some of what I’ve offered has pleased Him, but I’m sure there have been many times when I have missed the mark. My success is not the measure, I’ve learned. His mercy is. (I’m fairly certain Mother Theresa has said this better, but I can’t place the quote.)
The thing that has surprised me most this year has to do, reader friends, with you. You not only read about my grief after losing Ethan, but you cried with me, you thought about me, you prayed for my family and me. I have always believed in prayer, but never as tangibly as I did in the first few months of this year. I truly believe that your prayers kept my faith and hope alive when I simply didn’t have the strength to do it. I believe that God acted through each of you who made even the tiniest effort to send compassion my way. I will always be grateful. Your response continues to inspire me to give more of myself to others. What in the world do I have to lose?
But it doesn’t end there; that’s not the part that really wows me. You went a step further. From my brothers-in-law who wrote to me to tell me that my posts helped them feel like they knew Ethan to friends who had lost their babies telling me their stories to still others who passed along this URL to friends and counseling clients confronting similar losses, you made my writing more than an escape. You made it fruitful. You made it hopeful. You turned the death I was suffering into life again.
My heart breaks every time a friend comes to me and says, “I gave someone your blog; she’s going through the same thing.” Miscarriage is a tough, tough thing to experience, something I had to go through to begin to understand.
At the same time, that kind of conversation makes my heart soar. God has taken this pain and made it something to grow on. I was pleased the first time this happened, thinking I had done something useful. Now it’s happened at least half a dozen times, and I am keenly aware that the power here is not mine.
You, my readers, remind me time and again that I’m not alone, that my grief is valid and there’s no expiration date on it. Like John who continues to pray for healing in our family rosary, you let me be the harder part of who I am and you continue to love me.
It’s not over yet, but 2012 has been a monumental year, to say the least. I think I am more myself, more who God needs me to be now than I was at the start. I am grateful for that. I am grateful for you.
This year, my readership has grown in quantity, but I couldn’t ask for it to grow in quality. Thank you for making this little blog what it is.