Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mormon Women Project Interview

I was recently interviewed by my friend Kathryn for the Mormon Women Project.  I was so grateful for the invitation, and for the opportunity to share my experience and my testimony with a new audience.  But most of all I was grateful to talk about Jonah.  It felt so good to say his name.  I'm so grateful for the simple conversations in life.  There is so much healing in sharing our stories, and so much love in a listening ear.

Thanks to Kathryn Peterson for taking the time to listen, and to each of you for reading my words and sharing your own stories with me.

If a story is in you, it has got to come out.
William Faulkner 

Friday, June 28, 2013


A month ago I sat in the peaceful silence of the Draper Temple, waiting. I stared at the two stark white tube socks that shrouded my feet and contemplated their strange presence in a place of such beauty and refinement.  They seemed to me the perfect representation of Mormon practicality - a simple and unpretentious solution born to protect the purity of a sacred space.

My eyes drifted up to take in the elegant vaulted ceiling, the understated stained glass, and the expansive mirror that hung directly across the room.  I took in the beauty and light that surrounded me, but could not seem to look at the people around me - my family.  My mom and dad sat beside me; my aunt and uncle and cousins throughout the room; my grandmother nearby.  I could not look into their eyes because I knew I would fall apart. I did not want to distract or draw attention to myself so my gaze returned to the safety of my cotton clad feet, and my thoughts turned inward.

As my eyes scanned the cream-colored carpet I thought about my lovely cousin Lisa.  After all it was her joy that brought me and my family to the temple.  I thought about the drawn-out heartache she faced on her road to motherhood and the miracle we witnessed as she and her husband adopted two sweet boys from Ethiopia. This day was their day; a day to be sealed together as an eternal family.  My brimming emotion was the result of joy, love, grace, and heartache colliding.  I prayed that I could contain the overflow, but my control seemed tenuous at best.

All at once, I felt the intense physical yearning of my heart to be with Jonah again; to be a whole family again. If only I could hold him for a moment, and feel him in my arms.  I felt like singing and praising God for the miracle of my cousin's joy.  At the same time, I couldn't help but imagine how and when our miracle would come.  I wondered if my return to motherhood would find finality in this life or the next.

My thoughts drifted to the reality of a doctor's office.  Months ago, I found myself looking intently at a small white blip floating across the grey undulating ocean of an ultrasound.   

Scar tissue, my doctor explained.
How?, I wondered.
Probably from Jonah's birth, he said.

His explanation continued. Abnormal. Surgery. Insurance.  Throughout this dialogue my thoughts drifted to the symbolism or maybe the irony of an unseen scar; a life-altering change born of joy and pain. How is it that my new heartache is the product of previous joys?

My eyes were drawn from their downward gaze and my thoughts returned to the present, as Lisa and her family arrived in the sealing room. I looked at her and felt so much gratitude for her journey, and her own unseen scars.  Those scars brought such beauty and meaning to the moment.  I looked at her mother, my endlessly-compassionate aunt, and quietly acknowledged the scars that grace her heart.  I felt very aware that my sweet parents and my wise grandmother share the scars of their children and grandchildren.  I contemplated the scars that are added with each passing generation.  Then I thanked my Heavenly Father for the beauty of my own scarred life

In that moment of gratitude the tears finally escaped.  I felt such joy in my wounded family.  I felt a wholeness that I can only describe as Jonah's sweet spirit, and I felt a perfect peace that is still lingering in the corners of my heart and mind.

It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars.  
Garrison Keillor