I love meeting new people. My husband and I are both ridiculously social so even in the years before Eddie we loved to be introduced to a group of new faces and start making acquaintances from strangers, friends from acquaintances. Since Eddie my love of this process has only increased because every new batch, if you will, is a new audience for the amazing testimony God has entrusted to me.
Don't get me wrong. I don't walk into a room, stand up on a chair and start laying it out to the crowd. But as any parent who has lost a child will tell you, the subject invariably comes up. Especially now that I am pregnant again, it is downright unavoidable. Upon seeing my two little peanuts running around wild, there is an assumption that this is my third child and it is almost always commented upon. So I can either treat this as a discomfort and a pain or I can see it for the opportunity that it is: an opportunity to share the tremendous blessing I was given and the affirmation that God IS, He is good, and He was, is, and will always be a God of miracles.
I'm frank and upfront. I say that this is our fourth child, sixth for our family since I have two stepdaughters. I explain that our first son died just before his second birthday but that he was not "supposed" to live longer than a couple of weeks. He was our miracle baby and we are very grateful to God for him. For some people, this is their cue to back away from the conversation with varying degrees of grace and disappear. I don't mind; part of the mixed blessing of my theatrical personality has always been a very near disregard for other people's comfort levels. But for the vast majority of people, this is quite an icebreaker and the more they realize that I am perfectly happy, thrilled in fact, to talk about Eddie all day long, the more they want to know. They ask more questions and I get to share how amazing God is, how he spoke truths to my heart when men said there was no hope, raised my son up time and time again, gave me peace when he died, and has blessed me with peace, hope and joy every day of my life since calling Eddie home. These are conversations punctuated with laughter, though sometimes through misty eyes. They are conversations of redemption and hope and I love it every time God gives me the opportunity to have one.
As much as I hope these talks bless other people, my reason for loving them is more selfish than that. I love talking about Eddie because it reminds me not to worry. It brings me back to a time when I knew with a deep, concrete knowledge that God was in control. That His love was complete, infinite, and I could lean on His everlasting arms and find peace. Amidst the clutter of everyday life, I lose sight of that truth so often it is embarrassing. I get stressed about things like my kids' birthday parties (to which I say to myself, "Really? I mean, Abby... really?"). I forget that God is large and in charge and that He loves me with a love so perfect I can only begin to comprehend it.
When Eddie was in the NICU and we were finally able to hold him, we soon discovered that he really liked to be held in a very interesting way. One hand on his tiny chest, the other under his even tinier bum, he leaned forward, hands gripping my hand, head propped up on my fingers. And then we bounced up and down, up and down. It's great for mommy's biceps and apparently is very soothing on the baby end of things if you suffer from tummy pains. We would laugh, though, because Eddie took this practice very, very seriously. He would get a look of concentration on his face that rivaled the fiercest endurance athletes. Because of the angle and positioning, we called it his "spin class." He so clearly thought that he was controlling the whole process through some sort of telepathy, not realizing that he had no control whatsoever. He was safe in my stable, loving hands. I would bounce him as long as my strength allowed and never, ever would I let him fall.
When I was sharing about Eddie with some new friends yesterday, I realized that lately I've been "spinning." I've been assuming I have control over this process, this life. That somehow I am what is making it all go. The truth is, the whole mess is 100% in God's hands and I am free to relax and enjoy the ride, wherever it may take me. It's only a scary concept if I don't trust Him. But I know God and I know He is always trustworthy. He is tireless, good, and, no matter what, He is never going to drop me.