We’ve been laughing, he and I. Over crock pots steaming with chili and harvest vegetables heaped upon the counter in earthy piles, over the din of Notre Dame football roaring up from the basement below, over the chorus of three small boys tugging for attention and talking all at once in the kitchen.
We’ve been laughing about last fall, tossing jokes about the morning sickness long past, about the garden bounty that rotted in bowls as I slept hard on the couch, about the autumn traditions we didn’t cook or visit or make because mama was growing the baby and in my world that is mighty work.
I marvel at this now – laughing while I close my eyes at oven’s blasting heat as I slide out another pan of sweet potatoes, rolling my eyes at his comebacks while I peel pyramids of knobbly carrots, grinning at the boys who steal fistfuls of green beans even as I turn to dump them in the roiling boil.
I marvel at how we are laughing. How far those hard days seem, and not just those aching, exhausting weeks of trying to keep down water and crackers. But the harder days before that.
The days of losing the baby and floundering for hope and curling inward because the world couldn’t see the pain. Because weren’t we young and healthy and at least we have two babies already and couldn’t we always try again? Because it wasn’t really a baby, was it? Only a handful of weeks along, only the tiniest curve of a body that could slip away so easily.
Only a whisper of a life.
Why should it still echo now, with our plumpy love of a round boy now gnawing at his dimpled fists in the swing and laughing gummy smiles at his brothers’ monkey faces and blinking bright owl eyes in the slanted morning light beside my bed each morning?
I know why now, and these heaps of garden harvest in my dirty hands remind me. Because what grows in darkness is life, even when we cannot see it. And what lies beneath is hope, even if it is a tiny seed. And what bursts forth is holy, even if it is a tender shoot.
I will miss that baby always. The thought will catch in my throat each time, the wonder of what could have been. And the way a body feels differently once it has carried both life and death within it.
I have known deepest joy and deepest pain from these children of mine – all four lives that have sparked into being, that head-scratching mystery, that sacred design that the Weaver knits together in the holy dark. I hold all this wrapped round my heart.
And as I wonder what to say today about a prayer for the beginning, for the first weeks of knowing and loving and hoping and praying, I think it is the same truth that fall teaches me each year.
These rich cold weeks bursting with deep color and deeper change, when we carry the outside inside, when we harvest one season’s hopes for another’s savoring, when we let go of what will not be and learn to welcome what will come.
The truth that we are nurturing life, all of us.
We are tending to its tender beginning. We are carrying its plumping growth. We are sharing its holy fruits with those we love.
. . .
Today it is a prayer for month two of pregnancy. A fragile four weeks: the thrill of discovering and announcing, the fear of worrying and wondering, the unknown of what lies ahead.
But a sacred four weeks, too. The beginning of a life that we will carry close to our own for the rest of our days, no matter what may come. The opening chapter of a book that is written by the Author of Love and the Word Itself.
Today it is a prayer, too, for the gifts we receive and the gratitude we live and the worries we can cast back, over and over in heaps and piles, onto the loving hands of the One who carries all of us.
Today it is a prayer for someone who may need it.
Today it is my gift to you.
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)
. . .
Month 2: A Prayer for Joy
God of joy,
Our hearts sing to you
In our moment of discovery!
We saw proof with our eyes
That new life has begun,
And we saw that it was good.
As a heart begins to beat
And a mind begins to grow,
May my own heart and mind
Rejoice in the wonder of this gift.
Even if sickness turns my stomach
Or tiredness takes over,
Let a deeper joy
Run through my days,
Fast and strong and true.
And if, as weeks pass,
Worries start to circle round,
Threatening to steal my joy,
Let your perfect love
Cast out my fear.
Help me believe
That you hold us both,
My child and I,
In the palm of your warm
And safe and loving hand.
In joy I pray,
© 2014 Laura Kelly Fanucci
All the prayers for pregnancy will be found here at the end of this 9 week series. Please pass them on…