While we anticipate the arrival of our little one, I've contemplated newborns, particularly Shane and I, and our Savior.
Jesus Christ came into this world as a tiny babe, helpless and frail and yet he would grow and come to understand who He truly was, and eventually, the purpose and intent of His life came to fruition. All of this happened line upon line, here a little, there a little---He "increased in wisdom and stature....and waited upon the Lord."
Though Shane and I were born more than four decades ago, these days we are newborns once again, utterly dependent and only able to cry out for our needs. And we are being re-born as well, not a process we relish as we are being pushed and squeezed through a long, dark tunnel with an unknown future at the end. But we feel, we hope, that we are learning more about who we truly are, and increasing, by tiny degrees, in wisdom and stature and learning what it means to wait upon the Lord.
Shane has been struggling for these past many weeks. Because of his discomfort and the negative changes in his bloodwork we moved up his scans (scheduled for mid-January) to the beginning of December. The results were not a surprise given his physical state, cancer has come rearing back. After his October/November illness he was not the same---fatigue and discomfort became his constant companions. And this Christmas month, usually filled with joy and celebration and eager anticipation, has been exquisitely painful, mentally and emotionally, for us both (and for Shane, physically), laced with tears and sorrow.
I've shaken my fist at God a few times and asked, "Why? How can you do this to me now? A baby is on its way, I'm exhausted, and Shane's care demands so much of me. How can Shane be growing worse just when I need him most?" I don't have answers, but I still ask the questions.
This is not the birth/year/life we imagined for our family. We accept whatever may come whether it be death, or whether Shane's life is miraculously extended. I see no harm in planning for both; holding onto hope gives me courage and helps me to remain calm, and I also understand that planning for death is needful. I have a stack of legal papers for Shane to sign, I've spoken with Hospice, I've considered burial options. All while we await the birth of our fourth child. Life and death all jumbled up.
And I thank God, every single day, every single hour that we have our family close during this time: Shane's loving parents, his sister Melissa and her family. This is too much to face alone and we have never been alone.
For now I try to remember the words of a cherished Christmas song, about the Newborn Babe, who entered this world weak and impotent, lived up to His infinite, divine potential and became the greatest of us all.
Fragile fingers sent to heal us,
Tender brow prepared for thorn,
Tiny heart whose blood will save us,
Unto us is born, unto us is born.
He lives and because He lives, all of us, including my beloved Shane, will live again.