I spent over thirty minutes this morning searching for a book I wanted to share with you today. I looked on every shelf, in every cabinet, in baskets, in bedrooms, and drawers, but I could not find the book that use to sit on our living room ottoman, that I remembered reading just before our lives got mixed up and changed around early Spring.
I knew the book had to be somewhere, I had not lent it out. It felt ridiculous, it was not a small book! I bought it because of the festive cover and coloring, which is why it sat out in the living room. The content was magic-stirring too, but it is set up more as a reference book than a pick up and dig in kind of read.
After the first twenty minutes passed, I thought about the irony over having lost this book, of all the books. I stood still a moment and spoke out the words, “God, help me please. Help me find the celebration book. And help me find celebration in the everyday again. Again.”
Here’s the book I found ten minutes later, on a shelf I had looked at, but still didn’t see.
And here is the message about celebration I found in my searching for what seemed lost.
We have permission to pause, and celebrate something, anything, or nothing…always.
Sorrow will tell us we have no business celebrating, after all, look around at the sadness surrounding.
Shame says we are wrong, disrespectful, shallow if we take time to celebrate the good when bad still exists.
Of course, we don’t go singing songs to those with broken hearts, not on Day One at least, but singing is what that heart will need soon, or permission to enjoy listening again.
One of the many things I’ve learned in our journey through infertility is that a barren womb is never fully satisfied. God validates in Scripture what for many women is a confusing and secret sorrow, especially women who are buoyed by their faith and devoted to serving others. A wise man named Agur, who may have kept company with the likes of the exceptionally wise Solomon, shares what will never be satisfied in this life, and of only 4 listed things he includes the “barren womb.”
Every human knows sorrow, and courts it in some way. For women with barren wombs, we can accept that to some degree we will always court this one.
It’s the strangest thing really. I parent a little person I adore, attend mom’s groups, chit-chat at playdates and do all the “Mom” things, but then one day just the sight of a pregnant belly can undo me, and I have to collect myself.
It comes with no warning, like when the tender memory of a loved one springs hot tears on you unexpectedly even after being separated by death for decades. But that’s the way of some sorrows.
Skinned knees heal and we move on with forget, but some sorrows fade in and out for the rest of our life.
If we are not sober to this fact, that we court joy and sorrow both in this life, the sorrow will take us by surprise, scare us and we will stare into it trying to understand it, day after day. Then before too long we lose celebration.
But I found it today. And it was right where I had looked, I just didn’t see.
I found reasons to celebrate this week, in the midst of unanswered prayers, unresolved conflicts, sinus infections and antibiotics. We celebrated Girlie Cub’s first little girl ferris wheel, and a big girl ferris wheel, and a roller coaster.
We celebrated marriage with a dinner date out in the midst of decisions yet to be made, tasks undone and we are pretty sure a dead animal decaying in a wall somewhere (that’s right, welcome to life on the farm). We celebrated our friendship with conversation about dreams as well as a lengthy lesson by Grizz on the Dukes of Hazzard. In fairness, I asked for it.
And tomorrow night we are choosing to have a special celebration, because it actually is a choice.
This week the sorrows of a barren womb resurrected for me. I’ve shared with women who get it, in fact, it had resurrected for them too. Phrases like, “…well maybe I feel this pain so I can be there to help her in her pain now…” were exchanged. This helps, community is again proving to be a gift. But I’m still tempted to stare into my sorrow.
But I don’t want to lose celebration, not like I have before. I want to hold her close, and am seeing the need to be intentional with her. If I’m not mindful, I’ll return her to the shelf again, and I cannot afford it. My family needs me to remember celebration.
So I choose my focus. I need to look outside myself, away from barren. I choose celebration.
Therefore, tomorrow night in honor of Girlie Cub’s insatiable desire for birthday parties, and the fact that we want to be a family that celebrates goodness in any shape or form, tomorrow night we are celebrating her beloved Pinky Bear’s 3rd birthday.
That’s right. We are having a birthday party for a stuffed animal ya’ll. But really, what do we celebrate if not love? And the love this little fake fur creature has brought our daughter, and so our entire family…well, I cannot begin to measure it.
I’ve been informed from the one who knows Pinky Bear best that she wants “Panda noodles” (Panda Express) for dinner, cupcakes with orange candles, and Paw Patrol balloons. And she wants the song. Who doesn’t, really? We need the song, just maybe not on Day One, but soon.
We have permission to enjoy the song friend, to celebrate. Especially when there seems to be nothing to celebrate. Maybe that’s when we need it the most.
Happy Birthday Pinky Bear, we thank God you are in our lives, you have meant the world to us.