Mike&Sarah

Tag Archive: remember

Empty

Photo from http://www.andol.info/life/1222.htm

I shoved my gloved hands deeper into my jacket pockets.  It wasn’t a frigid winter day, but it was windy and damp, having rained on and off.  Staff meeting was over and I headed back to our apartment to finish up a report for our team leader.  We had a team dinner in three hours, so I had just enough time to make the final edits and revisions.  I was glad to have words to wrestle with for the afternoon because near the end of our staff meeting sorrow had wrapped itself around me like a warm blanket on this chilly day.  I didn’t expect the sorrow, so when I realized what I felt, I was surprised.  I needed the comfort of mindful editing so I could ignore the unexpected sorrow.

This was a unique day.  Because three of our teammates are leaving the city, moving out, we had a day of farewells with fond memories and an encouraging send off.  But walking away from that, I didn’t feel happy.

It felt like everyone else on the team was moving on to something new: new ministry locations, new teams, new adventures.  And the one other couple remaining in the City  had a baby just a few days ago.  It seemed like everyone had new chapters of life to explore.  But I felt the weight of empty arms and was reminded again of the baby we lost.  If I hadn’t had a miscarriage, I’d be 5-6 months pregnant by now and we would’ve had our new chapter to look forward to, too.

Oh Lord, how do I move forward in this sadness, this sorrow, this emptiness?  May my wounded heart learn how to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.  Fill my heart with healing, with hope.

Update from Sad News

I’m so thankful for dear family and friends who drew near to us during the first horrible days of our miscarriage and these four weeks since then.  We are the recipients of so many kind words and thoughtful gestures that my words of thanks seem inadequate, but my gratitude for people’s kindness, gentleness and compassion goes even deeper now.

One friend sent the book I’ll Hold You In Heaven which is written to parents of children who have been aborted, miscarried, stillborn, or died in early infancy.  This book was a quick and reassuring read exploring through scripture the idea of the unborn having souls from conception.  It helped me realize that I have a child waiting in Heaven.  What a humbling thought.

Other friends sent prayers which made me cry as I read them.  I’m overwhelmed at how many people have suffered the loss of an unborn or stillborn child.  I never knew the depths of grief so many friends have struggled with, but as a friend who struggles with infertility recently shared with me, “loss is loss.”  You don’t have to have experienced the heartbreak of a miscarriage to understand the heart ache of unfulfilled dreams and longings.

Several people told stories of friends who held memorial services for their lost little ones.  I thought I was “beyond” that, for I’d already poured out my heart in an authentic, vulnerable, soul-bearing way just days after I lost my heartbeat-less baby.  In other words, I’d checked “grieving” off of my list and I wanted to move on without experiencing any more grief.

Mike, though, thought it was a good idea, and I wanted to be supportive (but not too emotive), so I begrudgingly agreed.  I didn’t want to open that wound again for it felt like the healing had started — was well in motion — and I wanted to simply move forward into the future with vague reflections on that sad time in our lives.

Two weeks after our loss Mike and I took the Hampton Jitney (bus) out to Montauk, NY, where my family has been going for over 50 years.  My Gramps and my Dad are both buried in that small, unassuming, unpretentious beach town, so Mike thought it would be an important place for us to memorialize our long-prayed for baby.

The weather was perfect: a sunny October day with clear skies.  There was even a festival in the middle of town.  Mike looked for a baby blanket or some kind of object we could use to represent our little one, but none of the boutiques he walked into carried the kind of items he wanted.  I didn’t think I could handle shopping for baby items without crying so I sat on a park bench near the town square and watched happy families buy large jars of pickles.

As a last resort we stopped into White’s Drug Store deciding on baby socks. Because the florist shops were closed, Mike gathered wild flowers from along the winding road as we walked up to Fort Hill Cemetery.

Fort Hill is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited.  From that quiet, grassy place you can see Montauk Pond, the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  There’s a meandering trail with scenic vistas and teak benches which are perfect for long, thoughtful rests as the sun sets.  There’s usually a soft sea breeze blowing across the top of the hill, too, taking the edge off the heat and humidity on hot summer days.

Sitting beside my Dad’s grave, Mike and I spent an hour praying to God and talking to each other about the baby we never held.  It was a surprisingly, unexpectedly healing time for us. I didn’t know what to say at first but sometimes silence suffices.

Here we are one month later.  Physically I’m healed.  Emotionally, I’m tender.  Spiritually, I have questions.  See, I had hoped that after my previous foray into writing about our miscarriage I’d be able to dam up my emotions and move forward with veiled references to loss and heartache.  But I’m learning that God has more for us than that: He is calling us to live authentically with loss.  We will have many opportunities in the years to come to celebrate with others while taking our broken hearts to Jesus.  We will live with the reality of lost dreams in a way I never imagined, marking milestones by someone else’s precious baby.

Constant Conversation

While riding the F subway home last night, I read the evening devotional from Charles Spurgeon’s classic devotional Morning and Evening. One of my dear friends, Beth, sent it to me a few years ago, and I recently downloaded it for FREE on the Kindle app for my iPad. (Did you know that there are a TON of FREE books for the Kindle and for the iPad Kindle app? I’m reading all kinds of classics on the train! Thanks Amazon!)

I stumbled over this last line from the January 12 reading:

[Silent] children are an affliction to their parents. Lord, unloose all Thy children’s tongues.    – Charles Spurgeon

That got me thinking, reflecting, and meditating as the train arrived at my subway stop and I filed out of the train into the old station. Climbing the stairs and thinking about this quote, I emerged from underground and discovered a crisp, beautiful, snow-covered world. Few people were out at our normally busy intersection where Prospect Park meets Park Slope and Windsor Terrace.

I walked by the movie theatre and thought about parenting. I’m not a parent, but one friend shared with me how difficult it is for her to get her daughter to open up to talk about her day. Another friend confided to a group of us that his son is silent and full of anger, making the home reverberate with tension when he returns from school.

These parents long to talk with their children. They want to hear from them, listen to stories, share memories, interact together and build a relationship. But their children are silent. These children offer very little by way of communication.

Writing “communication” brings to mind words like “community,” “communion,” “unity.” What wonderful longings we have! And how hard for these parents to feel so separated from their children; the children they love, provide for and protect.

Then I began to understand what Spurgeon was saying. How like a silent, morose child I have been when I rush through or forget to pray! What delight it must bring my Heavenly Father when I talk with Him throughout the day, sharing insights, hurts, embarrassments, observations, and asking questions and for forgiveness! The communion, the unity, the community with God comes from our communication with Him!

Now verses like Ephesians 6.18, Luke 18.1, Colossians 1.3, Colossians 4.2 and the more succinct 1 Thessalonians 5.17 “pray without ceasing,” seem like encouragement from a loving parent to communicate about even the mundane in life, and certainly the big issues.

Yes Lord, unloose all thy children’s tongues!

A Special Day

photo by Franco Bouly

May 6 is a special day. On this day in 2007 Mike Evers wrote on my facebook wall, kicking off a 10-month, whirlwind, international romance resulting in our marriage two years ago.  And here we are today.

At that time, I was in Guatemala with my mom and one of my sisters, Chrissie.  Chrissie had made it to the end of her adoption process and she invited Mom and me to join her in Guatemala to bring home her 10-month old daughter.

Mike wrote on my wall and I responded in a message, after noting that he has also written on several other SINGLE women’s walls that day!  Yes, I looked!

I love having days and memories to celebrate.  Some people are surprised that I remember this day, but it became part of our story, and remembering the major events in our story reminds me of how special our story truly is.  God moved heaven and earth to connect us together!

Our next “Special Day” to celebrate is in June:  our first date!

Remembering Dad

WOW – a year.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since Dad passed away.  I don’t really know what to call this weekend.  Is it an observation or a commemoration or a remembrance?

Whatever it’s called, we did the best we could.  We met for breakfast at a diner, then drove up to surprise Nana (Dad’s mom) with a visit and errands.  One sister gave Nana step by step directions on how to use facebook, and now the 91 year old is hooked! It’ll be good to have her more connected.
Later that night we pulled out the slide projector and Mom started telling stories that I’d never heard before!  The pics proved that my dad loved a snazzy outfit: flashy shirt or patterned pants when he didn’t have to wear his uniform.

(Pic from Dad’s Birthday, July 2007





AVATAR: A Glimpse of Heaven?


“watching Avatar made me long for Heaven 
– if James Cameron can envision that kind of world for Pandora, 
what has God created for us in Heaven?? 
awe-inspiring.”
(Sarah Gale Evers’ facebook status on 8 January 2010) 
Nothing within me wanted to see the movie AVATAR.  It looked like Aliens meets Roger Rabbit meets Star Trek, and I’m not really a sci-fi person. But Mike saw it one night when he was out with the guys, and he was sure I’d love it.  So, despite my initial misgivings, I trusted my husband and we went to see Avatar with his parents when they were in town in the beginning of January.
It was an uncharacteristically cold day in Orlando with blustery winds.  I nearly ran the thirty yards from the parking lot to the theatre so I wouldn’t freeze, even in my long sleeves and sweater.  With my “light wrap” warming me, I settled into my cushy chair, obediently silenced my cell phone, and donned my oh-so-stylish yellow-framed 3D glasses as I hunkered down to endure the long (nearly 3 hours!) movie.
But what a surprise awaited me!  I thought the film was visually stunning, though the storyline was a classic Hollywood formula.  It was predictable and canned, a tale we’ve seen a hundred times wrapped up in different time periods with varying leading men.  But I’ve never seen effects like these, and this wasn’t the 3D of my youth with ill-fitting paper glasses and red and blue lenses.  This, to me, was a whole new genre of computer graphics and animation combined with live actingIt was no where near Roger Rabbit.  I was so off on that analogy!   (Click here to watch the official movie trailer)

I walked out into the chill of Orlando after watching AVATAR in awe.  I just wanted to stay there, in Pandora, to explore and delight in this clean, fresh, connected Utopia.  As I hurried to the restaurant for dinner, my thoughts swirled around heaven, God and my Dad.  “What is Pops seeing and experiencing right now?” I wondered.   

Wikipedia says Director James Cameron (of Titanic fame) developed the initial script in 1995, but film technology hadn’t developed enough to achieve his vision at that time.  Can you imagine the challenge of trying to explain these visual effects to movie-goers in the same year Die Hard with a Vengeance was released?  Our language and experience in the mid ’90s was simply inadequate for the job. 

James Cameron isn’t the first person to struggle to explain the visions he’s seen.  The Apostle John had that same challenge.  As I walked out of AVATAR, I thought about John, who, after glimpsing heaven tried to describe it in Revelation in terms people could understand.

Here’s one of John’s “easier” descriptions of heaven from Revelation 4.6:  “Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.”   

What comes to your mind with this one from Revelation 4.2-3: “At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.  And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian.  A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.” ?

What a task John had!  Can you imagine trying to translate a vision like that into vocabulary for your contemporaries, or for his contemporaries?  I used to imagine heaven’s “streets of gold” in a Fort Knox meets the yellow-brick road kind of way.  But I now I’m applying some of the visually stunning scenery from the planet Pandora to my heavenly imaginings.  Perhaps those “streets of gold” have a luminous quality to them like the fields through which our movie heroes play and roam.  

John has some pretty funky descriptions of living creatures in heaven, too.  Those descriptions had me envisioning some rather scary beings, but after seeing some of the animals in Avatar with their multiple limbs and eyes, I now wonder if those heavenly creatures might make beautiful sense when I see them with my own eyes.   

I’ve allowed my imagination and the English language to limit my view of heaven to a place that’s less desirable, certainly less beautiful, than this current earth!  Here my heart soars when I come across a gorgeous stretch of field, the flowers bending and bowing in the breeze, or an ocean view as wave upon wave crashes upon the sandy shore.  I pause to admire sunsets with ever-changing colors as hues intensify and fade into the next shade.  Does God delight in these expressions of beauty, too?  He created this world full of gravity, tides, light refractions and the color-spectrum!  I don’t think the beauty of our earth was an accident or a by-product of good farming, ecology and environmentalism.  I think it was part of God’s original, intended design!  And if James Cameron and his crew can imagine such rich, luminous and unexpected beauty for the fictional planet of Pandora, then I can only imagine what breath-taking beauty God has in store for us in heaven!    

However, it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 2.9 


Missing Pops at Thanksgiving

After my dad passed away, I remember thinking how glad I was to have him back.  Weird, huh?  But no longer did I have to talk about chemo, blood counts, or hospital visits when people asked.  Now I could talk about my dad, about his life, legacy, lessons… and coaching!  I could discuss the man he was and my memories of him, and not his health concerns.

As Mike and I traveled up north to spend Thanksgiving with my side of our family, Mike asked if I thought we’d talk about my dad.  Strange as it may sound, I could imagine us not recognizing Dad’s absence so that we wouldn’t upset Nana (his mother).  We expected her to be hysterical.  But she wasn’t.  Sadly, we avoided a “public” conversation about Dad for most of the day.  

But I missed him.  And I wasn’t the only one.  While carving the turkey, one of my sisters commented on how Dad would’ve had a cow watching her that day.  Dad used to coach her through the carving process, and this year she felt like she was hacking away it.  I had to smile in agreement as I imagined Dad’s animated antics, miming the way to slice through the breast meat, and separate the joints.

I missed his silliness at the table, playing with his napkin after dinner, holding court with all his women fluttering around him, “oohing” and “aahing” at the succulent turkey, purposely mispronouncing “pecan pie” as dessert was served.  My dad knew how to say a blessing, too.  His deep voice resonated with awe, formality and gratitude.

I think we were all a little nervous about the evening.  But our friend Charlie joined us.  One of my sisters likened Charlie to tonic for he’s an excellent mixer with any crowd.  I think having Charlie and Mike at dinner helped diffuse the nervousness, apprehension and tension that I think we women felt, and we had a wonderful evening with a delicious meal.  

But no mention of Dad.  I didn’t have the courage to bring him up or ask us to all share a memory of him.  It felt like we weren’t supposed to mention the change.  I hope next time we all gather, I’ll have the courage to include Dad.  I don’t want to lose my dad again.