my one and only gratitude post

A November full of thanksgiving. My Facebook feed is full of gratitude posts every morning and Twitter’s a-twitter, too. Before the craze of Christmas consumerism kicks in, I’ll take this cultural cultivation of “eucharist” any day.

When we pause and whisper thanks.

There are so many ways to say it, aren’t there? Blessing, gift, grace, abundance. When I look back over the long arc of my life, I’ve known nothing but. Yet so many days were filled with complaining, griping, longing, lunging after more.

Even now it starts to feel like this as my thoughts spin southward: if only I felt a little better, if only I weren’t quite so sick, if only he were home more to help, if only I weren’t so behind in work and writing, if only we could hire someone to clean the house, if only it were December already, if only I could trust that everything would turn out ok.

Instead of the sheer gratitude of spilling out words that say yes.

That say life.

That say again.

Because the gratitude of this one small, overwhelming, mysterious, undeniable fact – that we get to try this again, to hope for another – is tied to every other deep gratitude in my bones.

Gratitude to God from whom all life flows, tiny as a trickle as it starts.

Gratitude to the spouse whose partnership in all things makes our life together – and theirs – possible.

Gratitude to the family and friends who love us through dark and light.

Gratitude to siblings who can’t wait to welcome our baby with love.

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When we first started dreaming of #3, back before we learned about a new kind of loss and grief, I imagined all the fun ways we could share the news. Matching Big Brother shirts on Facebook, photos of boys curled up with “Our New Baby” book, adorable announcements about adding two more feet to our house.

But the truth is, once you’ve been on the infertile receiving end of Facebook photo bombs and unexpected emails, you tread much more lightly on the tender ground of others’ hearts. There is too much pain on the path to parenthood for too many.

And once your heart breaks open to this truth, you clutch it fiercely.

Infertility always shapes our parenting. Now miscarriage is part of our family, too. Announcing and expecting shift into new shades in the light of what we have loved and learned and lost.

And yet here is a child, a child who knows no loss or pain, a child whose life is entirely his or her own, a child whose arrival brings us great joy and greater hope. I have to celebrate this truth loud and clear, too.

So here it is, friends and strangers who grace me with the gift of your presence here and the stories you have shared in this place, too. Here is my gratitude and my prayer. Here is my terror and my fear. Here is my hope and my joy.

It is all wrapped into one new life, and it is twelve weeks young.

I know of no other way to speak this truth into the world than to whisper thanks. Gratitude. Eucharist. Which is, and will always be, a broken heart from which deepest love flows.

It is month of giving thanks. With all my heart, and another now beating strong and steady within me, I can do no less.

. . .

I need ten full moons exactly
For keeping the animal promise.
I offer myself up: unsaintly, but
Transmuted anyway
By the most ordinary miracle.
I am nothing in this world beyond the things one woman does.
But here are eyes that once were pearls
And here is a second chance where there was none.

from “Ordinary Miracle” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

16 thoughts on “my one and only gratitude post

    1. Thank you, Peg! I am so thrilled this is giving us reason to finally meet in person when you come in March – and I’m selfishly so excited to take part in your retreat!

  1. Congratulations Laura on your pregnancy! Grow, baby, grow. I also wanted to apologize for not rescheduling our get together. Life has been incredibly busy and selfishly, since I am working almost every evening at church trying to fill in the gap left by a departure, I cherish my mornings at home with Elizabeth and have been hesitant to give those up, even for great things such as seeing you and your beautiful family. But hopefully we can get together sometime soon! Please know of my prayers for your newest little one.

    1. Thank you for your sweet words and prayers, Marie! And NO WORRIES – we will reschedule and make it happen. I completely understand that the time at home is precious; I feel exactly the same way. Soak up your sweet girl and hopefully your work will settle down soon.

  2. I was thinking about you today,(as my husband had recently told me your good news) and I love this post! I then got to reading some of your other posts. We had our 3rd loss 2 years ago. Your words ring so true. The announcements and joy on facebook when all you feel is pain. (We also struggled for our first, our 2nd surprised us a month after that last loss!) I am so happy you are able to be so open about something so hard. I pray the morning sickness passes quickly- pregnancy is sure not an easy road! And congratulations! 3 will be so fun!

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