Friday, February 20, 2015

Learning the New, Building the Now

This past weekend, we went to Will's advising attending's house for lunch. Just Will and I - we were going to take Grace, but at the last minute, decided the windchill was too cold and time with Nana would be better spent.

Will's attending is a very interesting man - he did two residencies: one in internal medicine, then one in emergency medicine. His wife is from Japan, where she was a critical care nurse. They have one son, who is obviously very loved.
A woodpecker in the Poconos

They have two bird feeders outside their dining room window, and I was amazed at how they could identify those birds so quickly. Will can too - as part of homeschooling, they tracked birds for Cornell. I've always loved bird watching, but know very little about it. I've been on the Audubon website a lot recently, enjoying John Audubon's plates as well as trying to learn how to identify more birds in this region. Our neighbors have about 11 bird feeders, so we see a multitude of birds every day outside our windows.

I also liked learning that his attending has taken piano lessons for the past six years. It reminded me of the line from Robert Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man": "He studied Latin like the violin/ Because he liked it".

This Lent, my personal sacrifice is keeping a spiritual art journal each day, based on the day's mass readings. It sounds like fun: it's really hard for me. It's a sacrifice of time and pride. Just ten minutes. Seems harder than it should be.

My other Lenten sacrifice is daily rosary with Will, though I'm peetering on this commitment because he won't be home for most of Lent. I need to be stronger here - Lent is the devil's playground for spiritual attacks. I need more prayer.

I couldn't decide how to write this without sounding overdramatic, but I am really not looking forward to March -- which is a shame, because March is my favorite month. My mom will be here the first two weeks in March, my birthday and Will's birthday are in March, St. Patrick's feast day and St. Joseph's feast day (and more!), and it'll be the first month with our sweet second baby.

But Will won't be home. He'll be in the SICU 14-16 hours/ day, and just thinking about his January month in the MICU still ties my stomach up in knots, and I'm going through it all over again with two babies. Appropriate, perhaps, that most of my 40 days march through Lent will be giving up my dependence on my husband's help.

It makes me angry, and anger makes me sad. Residency makes me feel like a single parent whose significant other stops by for dinner. Maybe this is an unfair comparison.

I've been meditating on these lines, also from Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man" poem:
“Warren," she said, “he has come home to die:
You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.”          

“Home," he mocked gently.

“Yes, what else but home?
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
Than was the hound that came a stranger to us          
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.”

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.”  
I am trying to learn this new life. I am trying. And in learning to love the skies I am under, I am reminded of the Trinity. I am not in this marriage alone, or even with only Will. When we got married, we were married before God, and asked for his blessing. We invited him to always be with us. And when I'm sinking, why don't I reach for God enough?

I am sitting quietly in our home, our domestic church. My protruding belly has me leaning forward a bit more, and my back aches accordingly. In my tiredness, I am broken. In my fear, I am alive. Through my tears, I am washed anew. As I watch the birds outside our dining room windows, I smile at God's goodness. There are so many different birds, so many types within the same species. Humans are made in the image of God, and his creations are made in the image of extended glory. We cannot fathom the diversity of his goodness. We'll never know the depth of his mercy. He's always welcoming us home, bidding us to be with him in every moment.

God, you teach me so much.


  1. Prayers for you and your family, Julie!

  2. Jules - love ya, my UA sister! Beautiful writing, always draw so much strength and insight from your work. Admire your attitude and life perspective so much. Am praying for you extra hard this month and next, know God will certainly see you, Will and your bebes through! Keep fighting the good fight, you will overcome!!! :-)