Thursday, February 28, 2008

What we don't choose

I have been home from work all week healing from my surgery and have had an opportunity to watch a lot of TV and movies. (I really cannot believe how much trash is on tv these days, but anyway...) I watched a really good movie the other day- Gone Baby Gone. I highly recommend it. It is directed by Ben Affleck and stars his brother Casey. In the opening scene, the main character says that it is the things that we do not choose that make us who we are. I felt that was such a powerful statement. In the movie he relates it to family, neighborhood, and the city in which you live. I, naturally, related it to this latest season in our life. We never would have chosen to lose a child, but it has shaped who we are forever.

Most of you who know me well know what I am about to dislose too. Those of you who don't know me so well and are meeting me via this blog, well, this may be considered oversharing, but I don't care.

In reference to those things that we do not choose... I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when I was 19 or 20. Growing up I was a 'well-adjusted', happy kid, but when I went away to college I became very, very depressed. It is most common for major life events both good and bad to trigger an episode of bipolar disorder. For me, going away to college was such an event. In the fall of 1996, I had to drop out of school completely, seek treatment, and get well. For many years following this low point in my life, and after many therapists and medications, I was what you would call 'stable'. I graduated from college in 4 1/2 years (1/2 extra because of the one semester I missed;) and went on to get a teaching job. I even had a boyfriend and apartment. Sounds like life was good, right? Wrong! In 2001 I crashed. I had what was considered to a 'episode of acute mania'. I mean there were days that I was in a complete dark hole. And then.. there were the days and days where I did not sleep a wink, eat a morsel, and was really for lack of a better word- crazy. Looking back, I really sometimes cannot believe that that was me and comparing it to me know that I am so much 'better'. I was so sick and some days I really didn't think I would survive. Thank God, I had a wonderful doctor and family who pulled me through that terrible time.

At that time I would have never guessed that I would be grateful for going through all of that. I mean it was really awful and I was really sick. But now, in a sense I feel it was a blessing to have experienced it. As the movie quote said, the things we do not choose make us who we are. Experiencing the depths of a depression allowed me to see the power in my own strength and resilience. One of my mom's favorite sayings (which I now love) is "A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.- Eleanor Roosevelt" When we found out we had lost Caroline, I thought I was not strong enough to handle such loss. I truly did not think I would be ok. And look at me now- I AM!! I really think because God put me through those 'peaks and valleys' throughout my life and because of His sufficient grace that we are given such strength when we least expect it. It is often hard to embrace the situations that life gives us- those things that we do not choose. I have learned that everything you encounter does happen for a reason. Although we may not understand it at the time we must believe and remember that we may somehow be grateful for it later.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thought this was worth sharing...

Ever look at these words...HEALTHY HEART?



If we heal our hearts from past wounds and insults, forget about "Getting Even," and don't hold grudges, we will have a healthy heart.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

on the mend

Just wanted to let everyone reading know that I am home safe and sound.
My surgery went well and I hope to be healing quickly.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Say a Little Prayer for Me

Tomorrow I have to go to for gall bladder surgery. It is outpatient and should be an easy recovery, but if you would- say a little prayer for me.
I am more nervous about going to the hospital where I last saw by baby girl then actually having the surgery. I am sure all will go just fine. Keep you posted..

Monday, February 18, 2008

Here Comes the Sun

Today it is 65 degrees outside, but it feels like about 70. On this February day, the weather is not characteristic of the typical winter weather in Maryland. And so I must assume that the whispers in the wind, the rays of sunshine, and the big puffy white clouds that fill the air are a gift from above. Days like today remind me not to be sad and to rejoice in God's gifts. Our cat basks in the sun as he sits on the window sill and Nick is outside raking leaves. Today is a pleasant reminder that there are indeed sunny days ahead.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

In Good Times and In Bad...

Today Nick and I returned to the tattoo parlor so he could get his 'ink'. (If I forgot to mention it, I got a tattoo of a butterfly along with Caroline's initials on Jan. 23rd.) As I sat there watching Nick get Caroline's footprints permanently placed on his wrist, I realized (again) how lucky I am to call him my husband and my best friend. I was reminded of this part of our wedding vows and had to recall them by watching our video: "You are my best friend and I love you. I promise to love you in good times in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple and when it is an effort." Wow, who knew how true those vows would become when we said them? Life has been hard, it has been an effort, but I can honestly say we are better for it. Our marriage is stronger because of it and so is our faith. I am not the same person today that I was in that wedding video, and neither is Nick. We will be forever changed because we shared her moments. NO one could have convinced me a year ago that my husband and I would have gone to church and attended the Pancake Supper tonight! We have been to church almost;) every week since we found out about our loss. I can truly say that God has used Caroline and her short, but sweet life to teach us some big lessons. If given the chance would I have chosen to bear this pain to learn them? Well, of course not, but because we have made it through this we are grateful for everything in life, especially for eachother, more than we ever would have been without her.

Phillipians 4:11-13
I am not telling you this because I need anything. I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens. I know how to live when I am poor, and I know how to live when I have plenty. I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens, when I have enough to eat and when I go hungry, when I have more than I need and when I do not have enough. I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.