Friday, December 7, 2012

Ethan will travel

We are moving.  A previous post discussed how difficult it is to say goodbye to our current Church family, community, home.  This post is to reflect upon my emotional journey that has accompanied Josh's interview process.

About halfway through the extensive interview process the Search Committee invited me to join Josh one afternoon.  He was having a second interview with the group after which they wanted to show me the town & Church-owned parsonage.  We had a nice meal together and I excused myself for about an hour-and-a-half so they could have their interview.

I walked around the Church, familiarizing myself with the sanctuary, nursery, etc.  Sat in the nursery for a while emailing people on my phone.  In my gut I knew we were going to move to this town, switch our communities.  I just believed that he was going to get the job.  Then the nerves set in.  Not the kind that happen to most people.  The kind reserved for parents of a dead babies.

These new people don't know Ethan.  Don't know of Ethan.  When they see my family they will see 3 children, not 4.  They don't know how deep my grief goes, how expansive it is.  They haven't witnessed my Tides of Grief.  Haven't seen me shake with tears yet.  Surely they will as his birthday approaches and the anniversary of his death approaches.  Oh, and as Josh's birthday & mother's day approaches.  All 4 of which occur within the same 2 week period in May.  Yet.  Will they run away from my pain as it is so unpleasant?  Will they be strong enough to hold my pain?  As my current Church family has.

I will have to tell countless people, over and over again, of Ethan.  The up side is I will get more chances to talk about my beautiful son, his life, God's miracle.  The hard part, the nervous part being seeing all of their faces go from smiles to horror again.  Pretty much going back to the first 2 months after Ethan's death here...not for my depression but for the frequency with which I shock people by talking about my dead son.  Even while I write this I wonder if those who read it recoil a bit with the phrase "dead son."  I don't want people to, yet I know it tends to have that effect.  And that effect multiplies when the phrase is heard in person, rather than read in a journal.

So I was sitting at one of those rectangular, white tables.  You know, the kind most church fellowship halls have around.  I became tired emotionally, put my head down on the table.  Prayed to God.  Asked him if Ethan will come with me, here to this new place?  If this was the right place for our family to move?  Will I feel even further away from Ethan if we move here?  His ashes were spread off of the coast of NH after all.  Those who "knew" Ethan when he was alive will be a state away.  I prayed hard, prayed honestly.

Raised my head & looked up at the bulletin for the search process.  The bulletin that updates the congregation as to where the search committee is in the process of finding a new minister.  I walked over to it.  And found it decorated in beautiful butterflies.  Not simple little stickers or drawings.  Intricate butterflies were all over the bulletin.  God answered my prayers.  He told me that Ethan would come with me here.  That he was already there, guiding us to this new Church and town.

In true Annie fashion I cried a bit.  Of course my timing sucked & someone from the search committee walked in to find me crying.  So as not to appear like a full on lunatic (crazy minister's wives do not win their spouse's jobs) I tried to hide the tears.  I failed.  This kind woman approached me, I told her that the significance of butterflies to me.  She placed a gentle hand on my shoulder and offered that perhaps, this was a sign that this was the right match.

From that moment on I knew this is where God is guiding us.  Guiding me.  And I know that Ethan will travel.

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