I started this new year with great intentions to faithfully post to this blog at least six days a week. I'm a little discouraged to see that I have failed already (significantly so) but am going to be diligent in beginning again. There are some days when I truly just feel that I have nothing to say, at least nothing interesting. Then there are other days in which I have something to say but just don't really feel ready to say it.
This post is one of the latter posts, a few days in the making. Because, more than anything, this blog is my tribute to Eddie, my touchstone in remembering the beautiful lessons his life taught me, my way of keeping his memory fresh and sharing him with others, especially those who didn't get to know him in life. So I felt that I should post my dream about him Thursday night. Every time I sat down to do so, however, I felt my throat tighten and my heart break a little and I stopped. I put it off. But I really don't think I'm going to have it in me to write about anything else until I get this out there into the cyber-sphere so I'm gutting it up and getting through it.
It wasn't a bad dream at all. In it, Eddie was standing on a chair in front of our kitchen table, frustrated with some project he was undertaking on the table's surface. He looked just as he had in the last months of his life: a gorgeous little man-toddler, hardly larger than the average twelve month old but with a maturity of expression befitting an adult. The fact that he was standing should have clued me in that this was a dream, since he was never able to stand on his own, but it was overshadowed by his terrific frown, which was definitely true to life. In my dream I was laughing at the intensity of it and he was not pleased with my giggling. I scooted next to him in the chair and hugged him, snuggling my head into the curve of his back and closing my eyes, loving every grumpy inch of my curmudgeonly son.
I then remember holding him, cradling him in my arms as if to rock him to sleep. I was smiling at him and bent to kiss the curls that lined his high forehead. Someone was there with a camera, taking our picture.
An unremarkable dream, really. That's it. No big revelations, no visions, no lessons. Except for the fact that he was standing, those moments could have been snatched from any number of the days that we shared together. But we don't share days together anymore, at least not in the way we used to. I feel his presence with me, some days more than others; I talk to him in my heart. But I don't get to see that hilariously frightening frown or kiss those beautiful curls, so these dreams are precious to me. I wouldn't trade them for the world. They give me little glimpses of the person I miss most, that I will always miss most, but that doesn't keep them from being painful. I woke up Friday morning feeling as if my chest had been hollowed out with an ice cream scoop.
These are the mornings when I have to breathe a little deeper. A little more deliberately. When I have to get on my knees (figuratively) before I even get out of bed. I give praise to the God who is going to get me through this day, through this life, without my first born son. Because the answer to the comment I get more than any other, "I don't know how you do it," is, honestly, really, I don't. I wake up some mornings and can't imagine surviving the day. I don't know how to get out of bed and have something that resembles a decent day. I don't know how to do it, but I know someone who does and I trust Him. So far He hasn't let me down.
So I prayed and I got out of bed. I prayed a little more and made coffee. And by the time my husband and bounding preschoolers were up and about, I was able to give them all a genuine smile. We played music and watched cartoons. I drank a hot cup of coffee and could appreciate its taste, its rich aroma, its magical reviving power. We decided on the day's adventure, a trip to see the "Dinosaurs Alive!" exhibit at a local nature park. On the way we stopped and ate donuts. I didn't have a decent day; I had a great one.
One of my go-to Bible verses is John 10:10 which reads, "The thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that may have life and have it in abundance." The latter part of that verse was printed on the memorial cards from Eddie's funeral and I know it probably seemed a strange choice to some. After all, 22 months of life does not seem "abundant" by the world's standards and in many ways, no, it wasn't enough. But abundance is not about quantity but quality. It's not about money or material possessions. It's not even about bountiful amounts of food, though those are always nice. Abundance, Christ's abundance, is about starting the day lost in loss, crippled by the pain of the past, but finding God's hands ever open, doling out much more than sufficiency. Pouring out joy overflowing, "pressed down, shaken together, and running over." Were it not for Eddie, I might have missed what an abundant life looked like. Through his short little life, my eyes were opened to who God was, what He could do, and what He offers, freely, daily, and without reservation. Love divine, all loves excelling.
So, yes, it hurts to close my eyes and see those images from my dream, not to mention all of those from my memory. I yearn to hold my little boy again and the promise of our heavenly reunion seems too remote, too far away, to ease the longing. But God is with me in these moments, covering me with His comfort and waiting for me to go to Him for help. To ask Him to get me through, to which He responds by lifting me up, above and beyond any height to which I could have aspired. I ask to be able to cope; He gives me the ability to flourish. I ask not to cry; He calls me to laugh. I ask for life to be tolerable; He makes it phenomenal. So through grateful tears tonight, I find myself whispering, simply, "Abundance." Much more than enough. The best I could hope for and better.