Instant Perspective, Part One
Instant perspective. Losing Noah gave me instant perspective. It’s a gift, you know. Once you’ve suffered a major loss of any kind, God redeems you through His precious gift of instant perspective. It’s like He allows you a Heavenly view of life for the first time, ever. For once, you can see the big picture. The pieces of the puzzle. The forest through the trees.
I gave birth to Rebekah exactly nine months after Noah died. And I remember an insane amount of details from her first year. From the day she came home, baths and diapers and nighttime feedings…I cherished it all. I knew I wasn’t promised tomorrow with her, and that knowledge caused me to treat every minute with the utmost respect. Taking in the details of every day became a passion for me. I memorized her face, her smell and the feel of her skin. I literally soaked up every minute with her, wanting to make certain if the Lord took her to Heaven, I would remember everything—and have no regrets.
Suddenly, a clean house and a daily shower seemed so insignificant, compared to sitting down and quietly nursing my baby girl. But miraculously, I still cleaned my house and showered–most days. Those middle-of-the-night cries that tend to be so burdensome to new parents (and rightfully so) sounded like sweet music to me. I’d think to myself,“I’ll happily get up and tend to my healthy, living child.” The demands of life that pull on so many young couples rarely affected me once I had this new baby. The most important thing in the world was to love the beautiful family with which God had blessed me.
You’d think after such profound clarity, I’d always remain so enlightened. Not so. As the years continued on, I became further removed from my loss, until eventually I slipped back into my old ways. Almost as if there’s never been a death at all. Dreading my duties. Misplacing my priorities. Wishing priceless days and seasons away, as if I and everyone important to me will live forever.
Today, I’m on a mission to regain my perspective. My heart yearns for the time when I again see my life from an eternal perspective, like I did in the months and years following Noah’s death. Except this time, I hope to achieve this without having to suffer a tragedy along the way.
Today, I’m asking myself: “What would I do differently if I knew today was the last day I’d see Rebekah, Elijah, Elliana or Jon? What would I do differently if a terminal illness suddenly put a finite number on my remaining days? What I would I do differently if the ordinariness of today—the ordinariness I so often curse—were stripped from me because of an injury or a disaster?”
Well, I can tell you a few things I would NOT do:
I would NOT clean out my e-mail inbox
I would NOT get upset about the cereal spill
I would NOT clean the fingerprints off the glass door
I would NOT let anyone leave the house or go to bed without a long, warm hug
I would NOT miss an opportunity to snap a photo of the kids drinking hot chocolate in their pajamas
I would NOT hold back a compliment
I would NOT send a child back up to his room if he came down to my bed in the middle of the night, afraid
I would NOT worry how I was going to get it all done
I would NOT miss an opportunity to point out to my children the power and majesty of God’s magnificent creation
I would NOT let unforgiveness come between me and someone I love
I would NOT read status updates on Facebook instead of reading a book to my daughter
I would NOT insist on cooking dinner alone, just to get it done more quickly
I would not send a child away if she wanted to sit in on my prayer time
I would NOT forget to tell Jon every day how thankful I am to share my life with such a loving, sincere and godly man
How about you? If you knew tomorrow your life would change forever, what would you NOT do today?
Girl, I LOVE this. You know how much I cherish living in this moment. While my "sudden loss" was more of a stripping away of my self, my dignity,and my crazy ideas about life and God and love, I still went through that same defining moment. Suddenly seeing what was really important, and learning to focus on that– the veil had been lifted from my eyes.
I think if my life were to change tomorrow, I would want to make sure that the legacy I have left behind me and the legacy I leave throughout that change is one of glorifying God.
Giving my self, my time, my heart, my love, and my forgiveness. Over and over and over again.
I would NOT try to find a minute to be alone.
This was an extremely insightful post. God bless you for sharing your heart.
I cannot begin to understand what it would be like to lose a child that way, but I think about my perspective every day. And I love this question today. Yesterday I had a day off of work-"Columbus Day" is not a day that I would consider a holiday, but my company was closed, while my husband still had to work. So I kept my kids home from daycare with me. I try to always make the most of my time with them since I do work, and so yesterday, we colored together, and cuddled through a Barbie movie, we had extra marshmallows in our hot chocolate, read books, and just enjoyed the day. I did no housework, paid no bills, worked on no projects. It was an awesome day. I am so grateful for every minute with them, they are growing up so fast, and you never know how much time you have. Thank you for that reminder again today. I can't wait for 5:00 so I can go start my evening with them!
I would NOT worry about spilled fingernail polish and I would NOT beat myself up for making boxed soup and I would NOT lose my temper so quickly with my girls…
Thanks for this post, Sandy!
Shoot. Spoken right to my selfish, impatient, irritable heart. Linking up to this tomorrow, as it totally relates to what I posted today. Thanks, Sandy.
P.S. That book I was sending you…um, just found it buried in a mess of empty water bottles and old hoodies in my vehicle! Oops. Heading to the mailbox tomorrow, begging your forgiveness for being such a slacker. 🙂
Oh Sandy. This rocks.
Wanna know something? The first few weeks after my daughters birth – I would get up in the night with her multiple times – and do you know who I would often think about when I was soooo tired and just wanted sleep? You. Yep – many of your posts about Noah stuck with me. I would think about how blessed I am to have a healthy child to tend to. Your writings have really made me so thankful for what I've been given – and they make me want to savor every moment. THANK YOU, SANDY. Your blog is a blessing.