No, it’s not November, but I need an attitude adjustment so I’m committing to doing forty days of thankfulness.
Today, I am thankful for the lives of my five children. I have six, you know, but one — our first — didn’t have a life on this earth. Twenty-five years ago today, I gave birth to a full term stillborn daughter. Her little body looked perfect, but something must have been wrong. It was a terrible way to begin adulthood and marriage and parenting. Absolutely heartbreaking. As always, God provided wonderful friends who journeyed through the valley with us, but to this day, October 10th cannot roll around without memories and tears.
Her middle name — Ananda — is a Sanskrit word that means, happiness, the happiness that’s sought in all feelings and desires. That happiness is not a passing state of mind. It is not a ‘happy’ state of satisfied desire, alternating with ‘unhappy’ states where desires fail to be achieved. When we speak of ‘happiness’, the suffix ‘-ness’ implies a common principle. That principle is common to both happy and unhappy states. Happiness is just that principle of value which both happy and unhappy feelings show.
Or in Christian terminology, it means joy. Madeleine L’Engle said it well, “The complete joy in living without which the universe would fall apart and collapse.”
The two names together came from Boston’s song Hollyann. It’s a hippie song.
Of course at the time, I had no idea that I would have five more children. Three more daughters, two sons. The next pregnancy was pretty terrifying. Carefully watched, carefully guarded. Beautifully completed. Then we opted for home birth. I don’t know that I would have chosen that route if I hadn’t felt a need to reclaim birth as a victory instead of something that had been painful and seemed to defeat me. I needed to engage it; look it straight in the eye; be it. And I was thankful to be able to do that and to hold those babies and raise those babies and see them become the amazing people they are.
I hope that they, too, will make the dark into light . . . see the wrong and the right . . . be for life and never concede it.