Give Thanks

For so many people this year has been the worst. The 2020 memes are so real and keep me laughing, for sure. We can laugh at the memes and still cry at the tragedy. I have seen countless people lose loved ones from COVID-19. Ignorant people have ignored the scientific professionals all for the sake of perceived “freedom.” It seems that so many innocent people have experienced in 2020 what I experienced in 2019. Extreme sadness, mental health crisis, grief, isolation, the list goes on and on. I never want to downplay the horror that has been this year. I do have to say that this year I didn’t experience the death of a baby. So for me, this year has not been the worst.

I have to keep putting into perspective how terrible this year is for others because this is the year I’ve been able to find myself and live into a healthier being. I rang in the New Year with our two best friends (Emmett’s godparents). I found out I was having a little boy. I experienced belly kicks, voluminous hair, and stronger finger nails. I started a podcast and am developing an audience of parents and professionals who know the pain of child loss all too well.

COVID has not been a blessing. I want to make that very clear. I cannot reiterate enough how heartbroken I am for all the people who have lost loved ones. I have not had a family member die. Instead, I have had a family member be born. Perspective is everything. Its hard to say that I’ve had an insanely good year when I see suffering all around me. I don’t want to focus on the either/or, the good/bad, or the happy/sad. I’d like to focus on the both/and.

COVID has been hard AND James was able to work from home and essentially never miss a moment with our son.

COVID has been isolating AND it allowed me to connect deeper with friends in other time zones thanks to zoom.

COVID has been destructive AND we have been able to find innovative ways to spread the gospel.

COVID has been limiting AND I was able to fully participate in numerous youth events that a plane ride would have prevented.

COVID has been deadly AND I didn’t have a baby die this year. I had one learn to smile.

I’ve talked to moms across the world who lost children in pregnancy and infancy. I cannot imagine going through that pain with the added layer of COVID. I can only say that I am grateful for the healing I received that I may be able to support them in their trauma. I think this year I’ve had to learn that to give thanks for my blessings does not mean I have to ignore the hard things as they happen in the world.

When Jesus walked on earth he was nothing but a blessing to others even though pain and suffering surrounded him. Jesus is a constant reminder that we can sit in the blessing of one thing while also embracing the tragedy of others. For a savior who understands the duality of our being, I give thanks.

1 thought on “Give Thanks”

  1. “When your child dies you cannot talk about how much you loved being pregnant. … You will lose nine months of your history along with all the other things you’ve lost.” – Elizabeth McCracken, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, pp. 20-21

    Joy, I thought of you when I read this quote. The book is about the stillbirth of her first son. It’s my second time reading it. I first read it long before I knew my own kind of loss. I’m sending the quote your way because that’s one of the things I was grateful for about getting to speak on your podcast. I wanted to be able to share the joy of that first pregnancy. Just to talk about how much I loved being pregnant. We shouldn’t have to lose a month or two months or however many months of our history just because of what happens next. I hope you get to share the happy times from your first pregnancy with people, too.

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