Category Archives: OneWord 2012: Dream

2012 In A Word

dream

My new favourite necklace – a gift from the talented Sheri Webb.

In 2012, I went against my instincts and ditched New Year’s Resolutions. I jumped on the One Word bandwagon: instead of an endless list of things to DO, we choose to focus on a single word expressing how and what to BE.

After an absurd amount of thought and prayer and contemplation (I think OverAnalyze is my default word), I picked my word of the year. I was somewhat embarrassed by it. DREAM seemed too hippy-dippy, rainbows-and-unicorns for a practical gal like me.

In the beginning it was a way to overcome grief, to find a new direction. It became a celebration and an exploration. I learned that the dreams in my heart are not merely selfish flights of fancy, they are clues about the person I was designed to be.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of you heart.” (Psalm 37:4) It’s not a promise. It’s not a backhanded sermon about desiring only spiritual things. It’s a song. a hope. a truism.

DREAM. Trace your joys and passions. Find your calling. Sure, there’s always some silly and some selfish in the mix (we’re only human after all), but when you dream your best dreams, you will see the image of God.

Creative. Loving. Adventurous. Generous. Brave.

I used to think that I should focus on God all the time. That the more one-dimensional I became, the better. Instead I am learning to delight myself in the Lord of laughter and wiggle-y children and rollercoasters and warm breezes. To celebrate with a God who is just as present at the playground and the kitchen table and the mini van as church or bible study.

Some of my most important dreams came true this year. To see my husband happy to go to work; once again in a career that means something to him. To adopt a child from foster care. To become a better mother and a better person.

Some of my icing-on-the-cake dreams came true too. To go back to university. To go on a trip to Hawaii with the family. To eat chocolate cake for breakfast.

So here’s me, a year of hippy-dippy dreaming under my belt, and all the better for it!

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Unspoken Things: Is This Grief Normal?

I’m like a badly dubbed foreign film. The words sound right, but the voice is all wrong. My lips keep moving long after the words are said. It feels laughably false, but they keep on watching anyway.

If I go through the motions, I may actually start believing what I say. It’s not lies or misdirection, simply an unspoken truth that lingers in the air.

I am desperately sad that I cannot have another baby.

There, I’ve said it. And very few will understand. It seems I am speaking a foreign language after all.

“ANOTHER? You want ANOTHER child? Seriously?” the woman shrieks at me, wide-eyed and astonished. I wish I had just left it alone. This is why I stick with the abridged version, the words they expect, familiar phrases that mean less than nothing at this point. No one wants to hear about this crazy hope I have been clutching for years.

Even my dearest friends, who love me and listen patiently, do not understand.

I love the life I’ve been given. I adore my three beautiful daughters. I have been absurdly blessed. And I feel greedy wanting more of it, but I can’t seem to reason my disappointment away. I have tried and tried.

I still remember the parade of doctors that came to my room: GP, OB, Nephrologist and even a few nurses. They began to cautiously broach the subject in the days after B was born. I had made no secret of my desire to have a big family, at least four (and a whisper in my head adds “or five, or six”). Add that to my “religious” demeanor and I can see why they were worried that I wouldn’t listen.

No more babies for me.

My kidney would not survive, and neither would I.

I didn’t give it much thought at the time. A twinge of sadness that I would not feel the wonders of pregnancy again; a sigh of relief that I would not feel the wonders of pregnancy again. Of course we would adopt. It had been discussed since we were starry-eyed teenagers planning our perfect life.

I’ve been holding tightly to the dream ever since. My husband, not so much. As we enter our third year in the process, almost a full year with our name on the list of approved homes, it has finally occurred to me that this may not happen.

No more babies for me.

After all the classes, workshops, paperwork, praying, homestudy, endless discussions, hopes raised only to be dashed again, waiting, waiting, waiting… we are near the end. We aren’t on the same page anymore.

He’s been good to do this for me, though now I wished we hadn’t even started. It was something he felt we should do, but had no actual desire for. But adoption is a team sport. And when push comes to shove… well, I just can’t keep pushing.

I know this isn’t a real tragedy. I’ve lived through that before, the complete and utter devastation of it.

But in some ways this is even lonelier. I feel guilty for being this sad about a normal thing. So I minimize the longing and paint a happy face on it. I’d rather keep it to myself. It’s so much worse when I share and they stare at me blankly. Or, worst of all, act like I’m crazy for feeling this way. Because deep down, I wonder if they’re right.

It’s time I face it, so I can move on. I want to dream new dreams, but first I have to grieve the old one.

We all must learn to lament,

otherwise “year by year,

as we deny and avoid the pains and losses,

the rejections and frustrations,

we’ll become less and less,

trivial and trivializing,

empty shells with smiley faces painted on them.”

Eugene Peterson (Leap Over a Wall)

So here’s me, and this is my lament. Because God hears my secret disappointments… especially when no one else understands.

What about you? Do you have a grief that people don’t understand? How do you mourn for hidden hurts?


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