Tag Archives: babies

A Voice, Crying Out

People ask me sometimes how I write. Where do your ideas come from? Is it hard? Does it take a long time?

Every day, when I journal, read scripture and devotional materials, ideas usually flow freely. I jot in the back of my journal different blog ideas. Ideas also come to me when I walk each day. Or, I might set out on a walk with a tiny idea and along the way it blossoms. I consider this to be divine inspiration. Then, when I sit down to write out a fully blossomed idea, often it morphs into something quite different which always surprises me, pleasantly.

I try to just yield to the whole strange, uncomfortable process. I’m always paying attention to current events and news items that touch me and others.

Sometimes, I hit an empty patch where no ideas come.  I just let that be and pause, sometime skipping a weekly blog entry. Sometimes I just need to let something simmer and not try to express it.

This week something unusual happened. Words usually come very freely to me when I sit down to write. I wrote a bit and then got very stuck. I left it. It stayed stuck. I prayed…still stuck. I walked…stuck.

So today, I’m sharing with you something very sputtering and partially formed. I think the problem is I cannot find my voice. I cannot put into words all I feel.

Politics aside, really, here goes:

Years ago, we had the privilege of flying on airline passes due to a relative working for the airlines. We took a short vacation within the state with our almost three-year old daughter. She had to have a real ticket, so she boarded with some friends who also had tickets but were flying on to another state. We were to get on the plane closer to departure time. Something happened having to do with the airline’s commitment to a ‘very on time departure’. While we waited, boarding passes in hand, the doors suddenly shut and the plane took off, with our two and half-year old on board, without us.

I had not anticipated in any way that this would happen. I cannot tell you the terror I felt. I had not explained to her this possibility. All she knew was we were not with her. I had no control over this, none. She was going to land in Dallas. Our friends had a connecting flight. I was shaking, crying, pleading with the airline personnel. Nothing helped.

This scenario worked out. I had parents in the area who left their jobs, rescued our daughter, fed her SpaghettiOs, let her swim and take a nap until we got there.

It was my only taste of my child being torn from me. I’m marked by it still.

Can you even imagine your child torn from you?

This is happening right now, in our country while we accuse each other of lying; while we try to justify who broke what law and who can fix it. People are citing scripture as to why this is good, proper and business as usual. Christians I know are on social media essentially asking what is the big deal, aren’t criminals deprived of their children all the time?

Breast fed babies are being pulled from their moms and their only known source of sustenance. Children are plaintively crying “momma, papa” while we debate whether these children are being incarcerated in prisons, interment camps, cages or simple fenced in enclosures. I’ve heard people say, don’t worry, the children are being fed and shown videos. Now we are being told there are whole facilities for babies. Really?

Statements are being issued by so many while so many others are strangely quiet. All living first ladies (where are their husbands?) and whole Christian denominations are making statements. Corporations are vowing to be a part of constructive change. And yet, this continues.

What is wrong with us?

I have scripture to share too. These two keep ringing in my head. God saying though the prophet Isaiah, Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the child of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15 God’s deeply entrenched love and connection to us being likened to a nursing mom’s physical, emotional and spiritual attachment to her nursing child.

And this, A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more. Matthew 3:18, quoting the prophet Jeremiah.

I’ve used this scripture at the funerals of children just to put it out there that there are some losses that nothing can help. Children being ripped from their parents is one of them. There is no consolation for that. There is no law, no wall, no political stance, no reparation or making it right.

My words do not flow today. I can’t find my voice. My mom’s heart, my pastor’s heart, my American heart is breaking. What is wrong with us, collectively, politically, spiritually?

There is no consolation for this.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller and nursing baby Pace. She is a breast cancer survivor.

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Milestones

In days gone by, a milestone was literally a stone or pile of stones which marked the distance along a route. A milestone reassured a traveler of the distance he/she had traveled and that they were still on the right path.

Now it also means an action or event that signifies a change in a stage of life or in one’s development. I think some seasons just have more milestones. May and June seem filled with them: weddings, anniversaries, reunions, school years ending and graduations.

Sometimes milestones seem to come along mildly and well-paced so you have time to mark them, to realize you are there, to feel all the feelings attached to that milestone and to move from where you are to the next phase.  You have time to breathe, take pictures and wipe your eyes with a special hanky. Sometimes you have time to make speeches,  celebrate and have parties and toasts.

And then, there are other seasons, when the milestones just fly by, one after the other with such a fastness about them that you feel out of breath, overwhelmed and wondering what just happened.

In the past week, our youngest child graduated from high school, accepted some scholarships and spoke at church on senior Sunday. We had three different family and friends gatherings, entertained relatives from out-of-town, celebrated his friends’ graduations and told him over and over how proud we are.

In the same week, I had a doctor’s visit where I learned for sure that I can stop taking the medication I’ve been on five years which has caused me countless side effects. I learned I only have to see the oncologist once a year now and can now do mammograms just like other women do, once a year. In the midst of all the other milestones, I cried in the parking lot happy tears of joy because it felt like a giant healing milestone. I wanted to feel it and to give God thanks for it.

Now, while we are still putting away graduation decorations, we are packing for our son’s college new student conference which begins in the morning. We will continue hovering around the milestone of getting him ready to leave the nest in just a couple of months.

In the midst of it all, our baby grandson was trying to play the piano while holding a toy (he’s a multitasker) and fell right on the corner of the piano bench getting his first big boy face boo-boo. His mom and dad were great saying, “Oh he will be fine and kids get bruised.” I could barely take it. I didn’t want that milestone to be at my house.

Milestones. They are everywhere…with so many feelings attached. Psalm 25:6, The Message translation, shares it as a prayer, “Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, God; Rebuild the ancient landmarks.”

God, be with us in our milestone moments. Help us breathe, pause and reflect at each one. Help us to notice the Holy, sweet, difficult passages in our lives and to let your mercy and love enfold each one. Amen

Yoga, Babies and Marriage

When the year turned new, I adopted a  word for the year. It is the word “new”. The purpose of having a word is to increase one’s focus. So I’ve been trying to be alert to all things new. I’ve also been trying to embrace new experiences and trying to learn new things.

So far, the word has led to me taking a Facebook Business Page class. For those of you who know me that last line should come with an exclamation mark because I don’t even really do Facebook. My daughter and I have continued to embrace the new world of repurposed and vintage treasures with our antique booth, Mimosa Rose. Every day,  on my to-do list, I now have a category  “new”. I make myself learn something or do something new before I do all my comfortable old things.

So a couple of weeks ago when a friend texted me that she was taking yoga twice a week and I needed to be there, I said yes. I’d dabbled in yoga before and I knew people had been doing it for centuries with good results. But,  people I’m here to tell you the whole yoga thing is awesome. Mind, body, spirit, relaxation, stretching, peace, love, personal challenge all rolled into one. I love this new old as time practice.

My other new is just watching our almost 8 month grandson experience “new” every day. Foods, mobility, sounds, textures, laughter, love, boundaries…the world is before him and it is pure wonder to see it through this eyes.

And marriage…I’ve been married to the same guy since 1985. I’ve loved him since we were 18. When I’m with him, we are still 18. In fact, we always say these days, “Can you believe we are grandparents?” We can’t. In order to be new, marriage needs attention and focus and taking time to just look in each other’s eyes again. We just finished a few days away together. Away matters. Away is different than home. I can’t explain it, it just is. Away makes all things new. A wise counselor told us once that couples need to be away every quarter together. This seemed very over the top to us and we have not yet managed it. But, I know he is right.

New things require focus, attention and time. Precious things do too like babies and relationships. I cannot do the downward dog or the dancer’s pose in yoga without focusing every ounce of my being.

What a gift to focus on new. Yesterday, I drove across Texas and saw new green grass, budding leaves and our precious state flower, bluebonnets beginning to emerge. What’s getting your attention these days?

 

Healing

After six weeks of not driving and wearing a boot on my broken right ankle, the doctor gave me good news. He said, “I can see on the x-ray that your ankle is healing. Your body is creating new bone.”  He released me to remove the boot to drive and told me only two more weeks in the boot for walking.

Then, he was funny. “No racquet ball, tennis or water skiing for you, though.” Since I’ve pretty much never done any of those three sports, I took that news quite well.

And then, I just felt proud. My body is creating new bone! How about that? I’ve been thanking God that bones and bodies and hearts can heal. Scientists don’t even quite know how it is that our bodies can heal or what exactly creates the just right condition for re-growth and new cell life in us.

In these past weeks, as I’ve poured over our new grandson, I can’t stop marveling at how the truth of scripture has come to life right before my eyes. Psalm 139:13-14,  For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Once there was nothing, and now there is baby Keller: his hands, his tiny fingers, his itty bitty finger nails, his sweet head and that kissable spot at the back of his neck. He is beautifully and wonderfully made, every inch of him. He arrived on this earth knowing how to cry, then nurse. His body somehow pre-programmed to grow and his personality all set to unfold. He is a miracle.

And imagine, if he ever falls and gets hurt or breaks his ankle, his body has been made somehow, to heal too. Or if someone breaks his heart some day or if life is hard on him, he has it within him to heal. He is fearfully and wonderfully made. We all are.

I had never broken anything except a toe before breaking my ankle. I’ve been surprised at how much it has hurt these past weeks. Without ever seeing the x-ray, I know exactly where the break is from the pain. I’ve felt the new bone growing. Healing hurts.  I guess that is true of all aspects of healing. You have to hurt to heal.

As a pastor and Christian, I have long celebrated and marveled at how we are made. I long ago surrendered to the mystery of life, healing and death, knowing I would never understand it all. Anne Lamott wrote, I didn’t need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.  Plan B: Further Thoughts of Faith

I’m with her. I do not understand all mystery but I’m going to stick with the One who knit us together in our mother’s womb, so fearfully and wonderfully made. I’m betting my whole life on the One who heals broken bones and broken hearts.    

Twists, Turns and Fractures

The last two weeks and two days have been an absolute whirlwind of emotions, transitions and unexpected events for me; one right after the other. 16 days ago, my siblings, dad, nieces and I sat with my mom as a team of medical professionals officially diagnosed my mom with Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve never had expected news hit me so hard. After my family left, I sat in the lobby, taking in that news. As the tears flowed, a very nice stranger/angel comforted me.

A few days after that I preached my last sermon in a church I have served since 1996. That afternoon, as thunder rumbled and rain poured, I packed up my office and moved out. When I left my keys, I realized that I was down to only a car key now. Leaving was my choice. I am acutely aware that my mom needs me; our daughter is expecting her first baby 5 plus hours away; our son is about to be a high school senior. It is a season of family.

I escaped to friend’s empty lake house for a few days. A couple of days into that, my daughter called and said there were some signs the baby would be here earlier than his due date. I packed up my journals, books, magazines and lake wear and headed home. A day after that she called again and said, “Yes, I think it will be soon.”  I packed up again and headed to her home.

Earlier in the week, at the lake, I had decided that part of my new life would be to be someone who paid more attention to sunrises and sunsets.  Once I started noticing them, each one was more  beautiful than the next.  At her home, Sunday night, I stepped off the porch to take a picture of a pink and coral sunset…my step landed in a small hole and I went down; my ankle twisting and turning in a most unfortunate way.

At the ER, the doctor delivered the news; it is fractured.  As I cried, my daughter reassured me “Someday this will be funny.  It will be funny.” More stranger/angels comforted me. For five days I was unable to bear weight on it; rendered helpless where I was supposed to be helping. My 9 months pregnant daughter picking up prescriptions and feeding me.

In between all this, the tragedies in Orlando; the news from Great Britain…all too much to take.

This morning, back home because now it seems baby will not come before his due date about 10 days away, I melted.  I cried for my mom. I grieved my job and my one key. I sobbed over my new state of immobility and helplessness. I worried aloud that the baby would come before I could be helpful.

Later, a specialist looked at the fracture and delivered several pieces of good news: no surgery! I could wear a boot and bear weight! I could travel! I could have stronger pain meds!

What have I learned in the last 16 days? It is okay to grieve the twists, turns and fractures of life as they are unfolding. Sunsets and sunrises are still worth noting. Life can change on a dime. We should all appreciate when our two feet work.  Watch out for small holes. Let stranger/angels comfort you. Let others help you. And, thank God for a baby who is sweet enough to stay right where he is until his Mimosa (that’s my grandma name) can heal a bit.