It was the month that it's been one year since that month. Last August we were up at Doernbecher's with our precious baby, a wracked and swollen little body. Last August we heard the doctor tell us that we had six to eighteen months more before she would be gone. Last August we stopped everything--breathing, working, laughing, sleeping. And we started loving and holding and praying and needing like we'd never done those things before. We cried and screamed and we needed God's words every minute. I remember reading the Bible for rescue every morning last summer, gulping it down, grabbing it and shoving it inside of me. Just to survive. I remember how we decided we wanted to be trained by the sorrow. I remember asking God to take her quickly; it was just too awful. I remember saying, "I will not grow a bitter root of unbelief. Pull out my unbelief. I chose to be soft. I chose love. I chose You." Last August I needed help.
In those days I whispered and grasped, I am still confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. This is from Psalm 27.
And now we've gone through an autumn and a winter, a spring. We celebrated two years of Sophia's life on June 21st. We celebrated with forty-two people who brought breakfast to our small apartment. We made music and made Sophia smile. She skipped her nap and enjoyed it. We laughed and told her how much we love her. We thanked these lovers that carry and celebrate life with us. We dreamed of her future and ate cinnamon rolls and bacon.
Then the days were hot summer. Pages flipped, we got a passport for Sophia and took her to Canada. We started to tell our story and it got easier and realer and deeper and more normal every time. Then it was August and I lost my breath and caught it. This August I have had to purpose to remember the pain of that August. I've needed help. Sometimes we are laughing and enjoying and then it whacks me in the neck or it hits David in the chest and we cry and stop and hurt again. Sometimes together. But sometimes alone.
Yet those jack-in-the-box emotions are rare these days. The breeze blows and the mornings are crisp. Another autumn is coming and I count twelve months of life. Sophia Margaret is alive. She is more alive every day. The temperature is perfect. David is making new sounds on his instruments. I am working and stretching my heart in new directions. The little girl, entrusted to our care is in her stroller outside the open door, leaning forward and studying her beads and hands closely, tongue out, wind feathering her curls and catching the curtains. She's out there because she was throwing a fit and we needed breathing room. She was throwing a fit because she is growing a will, growing herself like any live kid would do. We are about to leap into new unknowns because the time is about right for that kind of thing.
And for all of these things I am absolutely thankful. Thankful to Emmanuel, which means God with us. The kind of thanks that makes me furrow my brow and snuffle and cough before I get up to make some dinner and put this kid to bed and hug David. We've voted and it's unanimous; we wouldn't trade our story.
Two days ago, I pushed Sophia through the hospital halls and out on a walk toward the white building past the roses. The walk we would take over and over during our restless days last August. The walk that passes the nursing school, David's new school. And two days ago, my soul reverberated with a new twist on the words I whispered last year, I do see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I have waited, I have taken heart, I do take heart, I do see.