Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 25

Today my sister, Tiffany, would be turning 35. It's weird for me to think of her as "old," since that is something she never was. But she was my contemporary. Just 17 months younger than me, we hit developmental stages at roughly the same time and so my dreams of her continue in this fashion. I dream that she has kids too, or that (and I really like this one) she comes to visit and cleans my kitchen. When I wake from such dreams, I sometimes keep imagining. I picture her more than willing to stay in our cold basement (it serves as our guest room), but also could see her winning my little girls over and ending up snuggling in bed with them. I guess I will always really miss her - the her that she was when we were growing up, the tormented her of her 20s, but also all that she might have become.

This past week - well into Lent and still deep in winter snow - has seemed pretty dark. Part of it, I'm sure, is that I'm always sad this time time of year. My body remembers to grieve before my mind. Plus - the lack of light and fresh air really take it's toll. It's late February when I start looking for real estate in Texas and cursing the very snow that looked so picturesque just weeks before.

But it seems like like this February was worse than "normal." It's one thing to grieve, but quite another to despair. I wandered around for a few days feeling sorry for myself until I realized what was really going on. In truth, it has not been the pain of loss causing my sadness. No, embarrassingly enough, it was my choice to focus on the meaningless superficial distractions of life. Oh my house is just so small, our finances never improve - and on and on. I witnessed first hand how dwelling in the muck of greed, vanity or jealousy just poisons you.

To be honest, I was actually a bit grateful to come back to grief. There is something very pure about grief that forces you to face your faith head on. Is God real? And if He is, what the hell are you doing? I mean in the light of God's presence, my girls' lack of matching bedroom furniture seems awfully petty.

In the Orthodox Church, we refer to the Lenten experience as a "bright sadness." I love that - and in many ways, that is how grieving is for me. It's no doubt painful - but also beautiful, because behind it lies meaning, purpose - and God. Sin is not like that - sin just takes you down deeper into more insecurity, more pain and no hope.

This lent, Bobby and I are also celebrating another pregnancy. Only three months in, I'm still really nervous. The wound of losing our little baby Adrian is quite fresh - and I'm scared of feeling that pain again. What's keeping me going, however, is the realization that it is not grief or loss that causes despair. It's sin. I can truly feel more pain just sitting around focusing on the weight I'm gaining, the anthropologie catalogue, or our how we "never go to the city anymore." Isn't that ridiculous? Letting sinful thoughts percolate unattended, will inevitably lead to misery. And truly, I'm tired of that. As scary as it is, - I'd rather put forth the effort - for confession, prayers, services, communion that enable me to experience God's presence now.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.


Beth said...

Everything about this post makes me weepy. Know that I am thinking of you and your precious family as you grieve Tiffany's physical absence from your life. And that little life within you- so so precious my dear friend. You and your child are in our prayers every day as is Adrian. All my love to you. May you find some comfort in a sunny day.

Michelle said...

So open, honest. Thanks for being vulnerable.

I think the fear of pain is the biggest enemy of enjoying the moment. You certainly have had your share of pain.

I pray you are able to enjoy the moments during this season.

Jeanette said...

Paige, you are in my daily prayers, as is your baby. I did not know about your loss of your sister. May God bless you and comfort your heart.

Kris Livovich said...

Paige, so honest and true. You are right about sin, thank you for writing about it. We continue to pray for you and your family and this new sweet baby.

Molly Sabourin said...

Oh, Paige...I am speechless. Thank you for your honesty. This post is beautiful - beautiful and sad and relatable and hope-filled. Peace to you and your whole family.

Jenny said...

Oh Paige,

You made me laugh, and then you made me cry. Both with the poignant honesty of this post and also with the wonder of it. The wonder of that sweet baby growing inside of you and also the pain of this month.

And this all reminds me...I seem to know of a place where you and Bobby could get a little sun. Babies in utero fly free, too! Please, please come...

Julia said...

This is really profound, Paige. It is so bold to say, "I was actually a bit grateful to come back to grief." But you explain it perfectly and I trust it coming from you. It is so insightful to point out that it isn't grief but sinful and petty thoughts that lead us down into despair.

You and all of your sisters are so exceptionally pretty. Looking at this picture makes me smile because I can't help but think of all the boys who were surely blown away by this family force of girl power. It must have been fun to be a part of that growing up.