Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sucker Punched

From one end of the spectrum to the other.

About 9:00 tonight, I finished up the work I had assigned myself for the evening and decided to walk over to the library. There's a book I need for two of my papers and I wanted to copy the article in the new America magazine about Australian Jesuit poet Peter Steele. He's at Georgetown this year and my former spiritual director, who's also there, had emailed me some of his poems during a particularly rough patch some months ago, so now I am a Peter Steele fan.

It's a beautiful Indian summer evening and it was nice to get outside for a couple of minutes. As I made the two-minute walk, I thought about how nothing difficult had really come up today. The chapel sermon was based on Lamentations and was about listening to people through hardship, an excellent sermon that a year ago I couldn't have sat still for, but it didn't contain anything that you haven't read in this blog -- there was nothing in it that isn't just daily life for me now. So I was feeling pretty content and relaxed, as those things go.

And then, as I was standing at the photocopying machine in the library, a young man in my class came in and announced to the friend of mine working at the desk that his wife had an ultrasound today and it looks like they're going to have a little boy in mid-March.

I was standing there copying my article on the outside, but on the inside I was doubled over in pain.

This man's wife had a miscarriage last year and, of course, I wish them nothing but the very best in this pregnancy and in their lives as new parents.

But I remember some of those first-pregnancy ultrasounds so well, especially the one in May that confirmed two boys. I remember how dazed I was -- we knew about the two, but not about the genders. I remember how excited my grandfather was when I called him. And I remember that being the only couple of weeks during the pregnancy in which I was comfortable. I had finally stopped the all day all night vomiting, and at 5.5 months I wasn't as huge as I would be a month later . . . and all summer long.

It's so odd, and so hard, that that was my life then and this is my life now.

What I would give, to be back at the place where future Snuglis and backpacks and strollers were the topic of the evening ~ to be back at the place where "lamentation" was just a word instead of a life ~

to be back at a place where I could be completely oblivious to the fact that my joyous announcement of impending parenthood might be causing another person some serious pain.

I suppose you're finally growing up, when you're more aware of that possibility.

I don't know what you do about it, though.


Michelle said...


Karen and Joe said...

Yesterday...all my troubles seemed so far it looks as though they're here to stay...oh, I believe in yesterday.

Isn't it the worst when someone else's joy is now our stabbing sorrow. I know that one well.
Hugs to you, GG.

Nancy said...

Dr. Stephanie Mines has done much work on shock and trauma and how it affects our neurological systems.

It has been important to me.

Holding you in prayer.

Sarah S-D said...


karen gerstenberger said...

I don't know, either. One foot in front of the other, I guess.

Stratoz said...

your closing line... sometimes my students ask what should we do. I love to say, "lets panic" they seem to think it is not the best answer, so we come up with a different plan.

as for a more recent post on God being compassionate or not. I can imagine a God who knit together a young boy with a tiny imperfection and be just a bit angry, but I can't imagine Jesus being in a urology office and not being filled with tears.

peace be with you my friend