Saturday, July 28, 2007

waves

I have sat in front of this computer screen for several nights now, not having the slightest clue how to follow that. It's like being at a rehearsal dinner where someone stands up and says the most beautiful, eloquent thing - and you decide to stand up right after them. How do I possibly find any words that can compare to what my precious husband wrote?

We went to church last week and after speaking with a pastor, he came home saying he felt compelled to share his heart, to tell people what he, as the husband and father, was thinking. We talk often; sometimes we joke that we are the best communicators on planet Earth. But some of the things he wrote about were complete unknowns to me. Writing is for him, as it is for me and, I suspect, most of us, a way of etching truths that God often imparts in the fast-paced moments of our lives onto our hearts, to give those fleeting thoughts we might so often gloss over solidity, weight. I've told many people since creating this blog that I write when I have moments of clarity - and that because those moments can be few and far between, my writing them down is more to remind myself that they've actually occurred than anything else. Honestly I look back at some of the posts I've put up on here and feel like I don't know that girl... that God is shifting parts of who I've been and changing me so that sometimes, I don't recognize the new person... and others times, the old.

Conor and I met at a fraternity party in the fall of 1998. I was 19. I can remember when he turned twenty, thinking how old that seemed, how adult. Looking back, it seems strange to imagine what God must've felt as He watched us meeting, watched us fall in love, orchestrated it and blessed it. His vision for our lives was - and is - so much bigger than our own, I cannot doubt that as He watches our stories unfold, there must be great joy in His heart, knowing what heights we will soar to... and even what depths we will see. I know, even in the darkest, most heartbreaking hours of late, that He is weaving something more beautiful out of my life than I could have ever created for myself.

When we learned that Copeland was positive for trisomy-18, so much skidded to a halt. I had circled some curtains in a catalog that I wanted to order for her room; suddenly, the tiniest details like this seemed like mockeries of my hopes and dreams. I find it difficult to walk around the mall, to chat mindlessly with old acquaintances... everything hollow has become moreso... and everything that ever had any real merit has become precious. I think of that verse, "to live is Christ... to die is gain." One I've read a thousand times and yet have never totally understood. Perhaps it's something that must be grasped spiritually before it can be grasped intellectually. I have learned of myself that it is not my nature to place value on either: sharing who Jesus is or spending eternity in His presence. I am prone to fix my gaze on curtains.

I don't remember who spoke the words to me, but in the first days of all of this, someone reminded me that no matter what, no matter the science or the logic, no matter the despair or heartache, no matter the fear or anguish, I had to keep my eyes on Jesus. We toss that phrase around a lot. It's one of those you see on cards or bookmarks. But I find that that phrase has kept me sane these last few days. I think of Peter, a character I see so much of myself in, a man of incredible passion and often pride, someone who thought a lot of his devotion to His Lord, who ultimately found that he would be asked to have it stretched to the point where it was no longer something of his own making. My devotion to Jesus has been like that: manufactured, glossy. Even as I write these words I wonder how much of it still is. Who am I trying to impress with my faith? And what does it mean to realize that any faith you actually have isn't your own - that we love Him because He first loved us?

When I see a mother with two little girls in tow, when I hear the cry of a newborn, when I walk past Copeland's nursery and see the crib and the precious blanket Sellers picked out for her, I find that all of my defenses are assailed. Would I, like Peter, actually step onto the waves? Would I trust Jesus, even for the few moments it took to place my feet outside the boat? Perhaps I would. But also like Peter, I find that with each day, those waves distract me - and I am completely insecure in the hands that hold mine.

There is a song by a group called Watermark that I've come to love. It's called "The Purest Place." One of the lyrics has particular resonance for me now, even though I heard it months ago. "The purest place/ I will draw near/ Do what it takes/ To keep me here." What a prayer! What incredible audacity any of us have to actually utter those words to almighty God! I've sung them often, repeated them, even mulled over them a bit. But did I truly desire for Him to act on that notion? To allow me what He would to get me to that place - to the place where Jesus is all I see, where living is, indeed, Christ and death, gain? Perhaps I was foolish enough to think it wouldn't happen at 28. But in the moments when I can feel His hands in mine, when my feet are in the water but my security is in His eyes, I know that this - this is the purest place. This is the place we are all called - and blessed - to be.

Thank you for praying, as Conor said. I can tell you that your prayers on our behalf are being answered. They are real, they are precious to us... they are giving us peace and joy and wisdom. We have chosen to share with Sellers, both truthfully and gently, all that we can about her sister. She knows that Copeland will be going to heaven when she is born. She seems to be processing it - and by that I mean that at moments, she seems to forget we've discussed it altogether. And at other moments, she is sad. It is an odd and somehow very powerful experience to know that your child is going to feel heartache, to feel pain, and that there's nothing you can - perhaps even should - do to prevent it. I believe that walking through this will produce fruit in her life that nothing, nothing we could give her would. God is weaving something magnificent with her story, too.

We continue to ask for your prayers... and we ask that you would, along with us, rejoice at all that God has done and is doing. May you be blessed this week...

10 comments:

roland lundy said...

Boothe and Connor,

thanks for the last two posts very touching and inspirational to me...we continue to pray for you and think of you often

roland

Cindy said...

As a grieving mother I find so much encouragement in your posts. Thank You for sharing your thoughts. I share your sentiments on how writing can really get to the depths of how you are feeling. I also will read things I have written and can't believe that came from my mind. Your perspective is amazing, and know that it is being used by God in my life. Continuing to pray for you and your family.
Cindy Waldeck

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
You share your thought so well. I can identify with all that you say and feel. I am praying for your strength and for Copeland's health. Keep in touch.

Mandy

The Hiatt Family said...

Boothe,
The Cone (Adrienne) family are long time friends. Aunt Pam shared your story with me recently and passed along your blog. Although we will probably will meet I want you to know that I will be in regular prayer for your family. Blessings and peace for the days ahead.

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
I think of you and pray for you often. God has given you a courageous heart-one that is not afraid to know pain and suffering and joy. Your transparency is a gift to others. I am so sorry for your sorrow and yet so thankful that God is our Redeemer and has given your family hope and joy in the midst of such pain. I pray you would have peace, strength, and joy in the trials of each day.
Katie Widmaier

JUST A MOM said...

May God soften the pain for you all. Thank you for sharing still.

Jaye

BLG said...

Boothe- I am Beth Perkins Goff and I was an Alpha Gam at Auburn. I was sent your blog and was asked to pray for yall and please know that I am!! The family in the 99 balloons video was actually some friends I worked with at Kanakuk. They are amazing people. I also have a great friend right now with a nephew who was born in Dec. with Tistomy 18 and he is doing great!! Know that there are people all over this world praying for you and God will give you strengh as I know you are already experiencing! God bless you and your family.

Chels said...

Sis, you bring me such strength and joy in this time in my life. Its so easy to get excited about where my life is, and forget that you and conor and sel are facing this trial everyday. For that, please forgive me. But every time I think of you (which is very often) I am reminded of the prayers needing to go out of your behalf and I lift you up. For me this blog is such a testament to how our Father works. You write when He's revealing something to you and I happen to look at the page when you most likely need a prayer. I'm glad you aren't forgetting the joys in your life right now. I know they are hard to think about and understand, but I promise you will be blessed and overwhelmed with peace when you stop and think about all He is doing for you. Thank you for your words. Call me back sometime. I love you with all of my heart and dont forget - Selly is right, Now Mary can rock Copeland.

I love you sis.

Kristy C said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you still.

Anonymous said...

hi,
i came across your site from a friend....and just wanted to let you know i am praying for you and your precious baby girl. God has you all in His hands. I pray that he continues to give you his peace and comfort during this time and you feel his remarkable love for each of us, his children, and specifically his love for Copeland. My sister lost her baby boy at 4 months...and i still remember at the funeral the pastor talking about a man that had a 5 year old little boy that was dying, and he told him, 'son its ok to leave. don't be scared. just run as fast as you possibly can into the arms of jesus. he's waiting on you with his arms outstretched.' i'm praying for a miracle for you. I pray you get to love on your sweet precious daughter. your family is an inspiration. --kerrie