a love story: how we learn to wade in the water


Want the backstory first? Read A Love Story from the bottom to the top, or click the My Love Songs tab at the top.——-

word-of-testimony

How We Learn to Wade in the Water

Four months into parenting, Seth and I learn how to really give, to make room just as we begin to think we have none to make. Evening, I stand bouncing teething baby on my jutted hip. I open curtains, the day bending navy, and I wait for the rock-crackle of the driveway, for the car lights, for him to walk in, for the baby to lean into stronger arms. He comes with no break but a song on the drive from work, and I crack my back and then hide in the laundry room, unartisticly collapsed at my desk like a bag of sand pouring – we, in a stage of pouring.

We now are both in constant thirst, water glasses lining our little house, all to be hand-washed. We’re learning small capacity, how to stack at the sink, how to fold baby clothes into drawers with notebooks. 

And again, we love, have to learn the Mother-shaped body, the lawyer tired, the timing, how it holds together, by prayer, by small touch, by little acts – a dropper of tylenol in the night. And in the rare, somehow, again, two pink lines on a pregnancy test. They will be 14 months apart, and we daze through two months of shocked happy face. The Little Parents Who Could: I think I can I think I can I think I can. The bewildering excitement, the work to keep nursing, always drinking, ever being filled, and I begin to bleed.

I double in the floor over stacked pillows while Isaac rolls and laughs, the dog strangely aware of his charge, and I pour out and moan in grief. Back to back, my third and my fourth babies go this way, unexpected, great heart treasures lifted up to the Father, accepted to that throne room, where the sound is awe, where angels flesh out waving wings and covering eyes. They go there straight.

As helplessly grieved as we’ve ever been in the giving, we have never delighted more,  never realized more how nothing is ours. We walk into God fountain, swept into Peace River, and we steep long there. We understand our control in the matter, and we give, and our hearts stretch out like wine skin, capacity for two more, without ever having them fill our arms. 

Oh, how we hold each other, and we don’t talk much about it – how we spill out like carried cups, how even in death, we brim with life.

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27 Comments

Brooke McGlothlin
Reply September 21, 2009

Wow...Amber you are a beautiful writer. You have a gift. I pray that many women who have shared your ashes turned beauty will be lifted up by this post.

Faith Barista | Bonnie
Reply September 21, 2009

What a beautiful post to mourn and grieve. Beautiful because you lay your grieving heart within words to share and words to remember by.

I am so sorry you had to go through such pain. May God continue to heal and His words be your balm.

Kelly
Reply September 21, 2009

And I complain because we didn't plan either of our two, and cling desperately to hope that this pregnancy will bring our son to life, trying not to consider all the "what ifs" that you have lived, that He has lived with you, that have helped to make you the beautiful you are.

Oh Amber. What hurt. What life...

Lora Lynn
Reply September 21, 2009

Beauty from the ugliness of loss. Good words, friend. When I look back on my own losses, though, and I remember the part where He was carrying me through, I don't think I ever felt more beautiful. Because it was His beauty in the face of heartbreak. His strength that shown in my eyes. I was nothing. He was everything.

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply September 21, 2009

Grief does stretch the wine skin, doesn't it? It enlarges our capacity.

Boy Crazy
Reply September 21, 2009

These are the posts I read and re-read again and again. Have you always possessed this gift? Girl -- your writing is truly lyrical. Poetry. I find myself at the end of the post, breath held.

Melissa
Reply September 21, 2009

Ack...so freaking beautiful. You are so gifted and it is my great honour (its ok...I'm not illiterate..just Canadian) and privilege to visit you here this morning.
Two of my babies drifted away in this manner...and I've never been able to capture the complexity of the emotions so completely as you did this morning.
BLESS
YOU.

Jo@Mylestones
Reply September 21, 2009

You show us the day bending navy and the sand pouring and like every time I read more of your story, I am captivated and moved. And always in the direction of Him.

Megan
Reply September 21, 2009

Now I remember what I was thinking about your blog just before I ran into you at UBC last week: is there a Runamuck for Dummies? :) Sometimes I read your posts, and I'm like, "Wait, what are we talking about here?" And this from an English major too. :)

    Amber
    Reply September 21, 2009

    Megan! Not good! I'm just strange is all. You're not alone; believe me.

    Thank you guys so much. It's been so long since I've even talked about this stuff, so it's good to write about it now.

Danielle
Reply September 21, 2009

"As helplessly grieved as we’ve ever been in the giving, we have never delighted more, never realized more how nothing is ours."

Lacy
Reply September 21, 2009

"how even in death, we brim with life"

Oh, so beautiful. My heart aches & resonates with this. Since my firstborn, I've had two pregnancy losses this year, and while they were sorrowful & disappointing -- I've been filled with more and more Life. I have never stopped feeling His love and kindness towards me, even in the midst of a crushing blow or dashed dreams. To quote Leif Enger in Peace Like a River, "I felt a comfortable strangeness, as if smiled upon by someone behind my back."

Danielle
Reply September 21, 2009

"As helplessly grieved as we’ve ever been in the giving, we have never delighted more, never realized more how nothing is ours."

Amen and amen.

(The first comment was posted accidently before I could finish it . . .)

deb
Reply September 21, 2009

Your words give glory in all the joy and sorrow, and it humbles me .

Fiona
Reply September 21, 2009

You are NOT strange. Clever. Delightful even. Not strange!
You have such a way with words.
One day I know I will need to write about my baby losses, but it is a huge thing to tackle. You did it so well.

Amy
Reply September 21, 2009

Very well spoken, Amber.

Corinne
Reply September 21, 2009

Such a beautifully written post. I have tears in my eyes, such truth and honesty!

kristin
Reply September 21, 2009

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Sarah Mae
Reply September 21, 2009

Amber...you make me cry.

Yet,

Your words are beautiful.

Muthering Heights
Reply September 21, 2009

Oh my..this is so beautiful!!

(And my oldest two are 14 months apart!)

BlueCastle
Reply September 21, 2009

I love reading your story. The pain, the joy - you express it all in a way that makes me stop and re-read and mull your words over again. Thank you for sharing yourself.

Hillary@QuiveringDaughters
Reply September 22, 2009

Hauntingly beautiful. Thank you for raw vulnerability, for immortalizing pain to jewels.

He gathers the tears and places them, reverently, in crystal.

Heidi
Reply September 22, 2009

Amber,

I have been reading here for awhile...came by way of Kelly @ thisrestlessheart. (She is a real-life sister-friend of mine!) Your words always tug at my heart...I've even been going through and reading your archives because your story is so full of life, so real - the pain and the joy and the beauty all wrapped up and intermingling, unable to be separated from one another. Thank you for all that you write here, for the raw, real, vulnerability and the beautiful crafting of words.

Megan
Reply September 22, 2009

You're not strange!! I hope my words didn't sound like criticism. More than anything I was making a joke at my own expense.

I mostly just skim everything I read these days, but with your posts I have to dive in, splash around in your words for a while, before I understand what you are writing. I think that's a good thing. And a testament to your skill.

But what I should have lead with is this: this post is beautiful, absolutely stunningly gorgeously beautiful.

Megan@SortaCrunchy
Reply September 22, 2009

Your posts are absolutely an invitation to swimming through. Not unlike the prose of Toni Morrison, really.

I'm so sorry for your losses. Your reflections on that time illuminate the underlying truth of the Gospel - it makes no sense. And yet.

To Think Is To Create
Reply October 1, 2009

Oh my goodness. How could I have not read this before seeing you this past weekend? Before talking about my loss in the panel...

I know there is a reason. Perhaps because you didn't want to talk about it in person. Perhaps talking about it on a panel is easier for me than face to face.

Thank you for this beauty, my belly still feels empty today. The way my heart continues to fill though...wow.

Carrington
Reply October 10, 2009

Being pregnant now, this baby is already a part of our family, and I can't fathom the pain of losing him, and I can't fathom the pain that you, and so many of my closest friends and family- all these women, all this pain, my heart breaks for you and the little ones you lost. I'm so proud of your courage in sharing, and your story blesses others.

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