Thursday, October 07, 2010

Worship with Bernie

Bishop Coyner came to my office for the day Monday. We talked a lot of ministries going on in our district that are vital and those who are merely being "propped up" by our resources. So much of our time and money and energy and buildings are being wasted on programs and ministries that should really just be allowed to die. Look around the town where you live. Chances are you have at least one United Methodist Church within a few miles of your house. I want you to try to think of 3 good, vital ministries that church has that really reach people in the community. Can you think of any? Many churches in our denomination are so caught up in traditions, buildings, and other things that really don't matter. Just because we did ministry effectively "that way" 50 years ago doesn't mean it will be effective still.

When Bishop Mike talked about this problem in our church, I couldn't help but see this face in my mind:

You've seen Weekend at Bernie's, right? It's a hilarious movie. I must have watched it a thousand times when I was younger. I had an odd crush on Andrew McCarthy, and you have to admit the antics of trying to make a dead man look alive are pretty entertaining. They put sunglasses on him, take him to fun parties, take him water skiing, etc. You see quickly that it's a real chore dragging around a dead body trying to make him seem alive. The guys fake it for a while, and fool quite a few people. Eventually a few people catch on, the body gets rank, and the challenge of simulating life in death becomes too much to bear.

Do you have a "Bernie" ministry in your church? What can we do to bury all our Bernies and put our time and energy in to vital ministries???

The world through my eyes...

Have I told you that my husband really, really spoils me? I'm not sure I deserve it, but I love him for it. He gave me the most amazing gift for my 30th birthday a month ago today. I got a Canon EOS Rebel XSi camera. Plus I got a tripod, filters, lenses, shovels, rakes and other implements of destruction along with it. It was wonderful and thoughtful, and I have enjoyed learning how to use it. This helps to fulfill item #12 on my 40 by 40 list!

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some highlights of the pictures I have taken in the past month:

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

My first iMovie project!

Matt and I just upgraded to an iMac this week, and I LOVE IT! I keep singing "A Whole New World" to myself over and over. Check out the video I did last night on iMovie! (This is my immediate family. Click the video to see full screen!)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Fresh Grief...

A friend of mine e-mailed to ask how I had been doing lately considering all of the health issues I have experienced in the past year+. She is a close friend, and I found myself dumping all of this on her. I don't know why I feel like sharing this with you - some of you I know, most of you are strangers. I use this blog as a sad excuse for a journal though, so I'm letting you in on parts of this message. (I realize that I have yet to write about the issues at the chiropractor early this summer. The stroke is referenced below, and I promise I'll get around to writing it all out soon.)

"We were cleaning our office last night (making room for our new computer), and I found the positive pregnancy test from March. Maybe it's a little gross that we kept it, but I had never seen a positive one before! At the time, I couldn't bear to throw it away. We hid it in the office, and then ended up having a miscarriage. I hadn't seen it since until last night. My stomach just turned over and over as I looked at those two little pink lines. There was so much awesomeness tied into that stick months ago, and now it just makes me nauseous and sad. I quickly threw it in the trash, and maybe a little bit of hope went in the trash with it.

I think that's one of the worst parts of this whole miscarriage thing. I look back on these pregnancies, and I have such mixed emotions. The day I found out I was pregnant with Squooshy last summer was one of the best days of my entire life. Being able to tell my parents, my siblings, my grandma - everyone!, that I was pregnant was amazing. But even though I loved that day, thinking of it now makes me immediately fill with sadness. Miscarriage sucked all the joy out of those amazing moments, and left my heart full of sour memories. Add that to the fact that our desire for children remains unfulfilled, and this miscarriage stuff just plain sucks!

I was in Chicago with my sister last weekend, and we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. It's an awesome museum! If you've never been, you should. Anyway - I hadn't been since middle school, and I remembered an exhibit they had then. They still have it now, and it's a series of 30-40 fetuses, in age order from conception to birth. They are all real children who were miscarried or aborted or stillborn, so it's sad to look at all those little lives that never were. It's a neat exhibit though, and I forced myself to look at the one that was about 12 weeks along - where Squooshy was when we lost him. I had read online what he would have looked like, what had been forming on his little body, what he was doing, hearing, seeing, etc. But I could never quite picture in my mind the size of him. What he might actually look like. I had hoped that he would have been unrecognizable - like a blob or a mass of bone and skin and veins. Like a foreign object that my body couldn't be faulted for discarding. At the same time I had hoped he would look like a person. We thought of him as our baby - he was OUR BABY - a child, a human. If he looked like a person, then certainly he was worthy of the value we placed on him. Certainly the sadness in our hearts would have been validated.

I'll never know exactly what he looked like. Was Squooshy even a boy? We'll never know that either. I always think of him as a HIM. While I was pregnant, I had dreams of a 4-5 year old boy with blond curly hair and bright blue eyes. I'll never know if I was right. What I know now is that Squooshy was definitely a BABY. Very recognizable as a person with arms, legs, fingers, toes, a nose, ears, lips, etc. He had genitalia, so we would have known if HE was a SHE. He had started growing hair, and already had fingernails. He was small, but not too small to snuggle gently. He would have fit in one of my hands, but he would have almost filled it. Seeing that little baby, enshrined in a case for millions to see, made fresh grief wash over me. I don't know the actual baby in that case, but to me, at that moment, my little baby was right in front of my eyes. Separated for eternity by a pane of bulletproof glass. was so hard to see, but I couldn't keep myself from the exhibit. I could have. It's set apart in a room that I could have easily avoided. I just couldn't though. I had to know. I had to see what was, and imagine again what could have been.

That experience has made the sadness a little more present lately. I must admit that I am disappointed to still be so sad about it. I had hoped that time would reduce my sorrow. Perhaps it just makes it less frequent.

All of this to say - I'M OKAY! I am so glad to be alive, even though life is hard to live some days. I already knew I had an awesome husband, but a fresher, stronger appreciation for him has really blossomed. Thankfully throughout all of this I have not had a crisis of faith. It has never once occurred to me that God might not be real or might not love me just as much as he always has. My God is the same as he was before we lost 2 babies and before my brain was irreparably damaged. He'll continue to be the same as we move forward with a brain injury and keep trying to create a family. He's the same God RIGHT NOW as we learn to be a family of 2 and as we learn to adjust to my new issues created by the stroke. I have been angry and sad and asked "WHY?" a gazillion times, but I have never felt abandoned or unloved. I guess that's something to hold on to, right?

A heavy heart is a difficult thing to live with, but we can thank God for the heart that's strong enough to handle the heaviness, right? I just keep telling myself that. I would rather feel this than feel nothing at all."