Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twelve Gifts: #9 ETERNITY

“I think I’m broken,” I told my friend on our ritual morning walk. Two months earlier I delivered a baby that was stillborn, and I didn’t know if I’d ever truly recover. Sure, I had survived the ordeal, but as time wore on I found myself plagued with feelings of failure and self-doubt. If I couldn’t keep my baby alive, what kind of mother am I?

This was my hardest Christmas so far (even though Christmases are usually compared in terms of joyfulness rather than hardness.) We still had boxes to unpack from our move, and decorating the house for the holidays became a low priority. Then the fact that Christmas is all about a baby -- and I had lost mine -- made the season poignantly painful. Singing about the baby Jesus in choir practice was now so emotional I could barely get through a rehearsal without tearing up. And during “Mary, Did You Know?” I usually just had to get up and leave.(“Did you know that your baby ...has walked where angels trod...When you kiss your little baby then you’ve kissed the face of God...this child that you delivered ...this sleeping child you’re holding...”) It was all too much for me.

We spent Christmas in Utah that year. We got there early and Bonnie (my mother-in-law) had already turned our beds down and run baths for the kids. She is a natural nurturer. Just before we went to get ready for bed, she invited us into the family room by the tree and said she had a gift that she wanted me to open early. She handed me a small box, and I imagined maybe a sleep mask...or better yet a bottle of anti-depressants! Instead, what I discovered inside took my breath away. She had taken the diamond from her original wedding band, along with her mother’s wedding diamond, and had them set as pierced earrings. And she wanted me to have them. “I want you to wear them every day and never take them off,” she said. And I never have.

Every day when I look in the mirror I see two diamonds sparkling back at me, symbolizing generations of everlasting love. I see loyalty, honor, commitment. I see the word’s hardest material, symbolizing my own strength and potential. I see eternity.

I couldn’t wait to show them to my friend when we got back to Pasadena. Not for the bling or the glitz. For the symbol. “Maybe,” I pondered aloud, “Maybe I’m not broken after all. Maybe I’m being cut.” She nodded knowingly, like she’d been waiting for me to discover that for myself all along.

That year, and to this day, I’m grateful for a wise mother-in-law who intuitively knew I needed that symbol of eternal love to help heal my broken heart. And I’m grateful for a Father who chose such a loving way to tutor me about my own potential. I’m grateful for a pair of diamonds -- and my own, making it a threesome -- that carry the power of transcendent love, and the whisper and hope of eternity.


LisAway said...

What can I say? This is just beautiful. Especially having recently read the post about that baby.

What a wonderful lesson, learned by a wonderful woman!

Heidi Ashworth said...

This is breathtakingly profound! What it says about you--that your mother in law would want you to have such precious family heirlooms--is, I think, the most significant. Have a wonderful Christmas, Jana!

jenny p said...

You are so amazing Jana. Thanks for sharing all this. Merriest of Christmases to you and yours!!

Heather of the EO said...

You are so beautiful.

How many times are you going to make me cry? :)

It hurts so much to be CUT. SO much. But for your to see that for what it is just speaks volumes of the depth of YOU. You ARE a precious gem.

Um...maybe I should have emailed you instead, I'm getting waaay sappy, no? But I love you, I can't help it!!!

Brillig said...

I'm with Heather-- how many times are you going to make me cry? Beautiful, beautiful post. And the next time I see you, I'm going to have a good look at your earrings! I've never noticed them!

Dedee said...

Now I'm wishing I had noticed them when I met you. . .

Reading all of these at one time is filling me in a way I need right now and making me ponder anew my own true gifts. Thank you.