Wednesday, August 19, 2015


 I recently discovered, as we were cleaning out an old bookcase to make room for baby, a book by Joyce Rupp called The Star in My Heart, which Fr. Tom had lent me before he passed in July.  He’d been trying to help me find meditative material to work through the angst I still felt from the miscarriages of 2013, and thought this would be up my alley--though later, because I mentioned it, he came up with three new books directly on miscarriage and loss for the Catholic Center library, and got doubles for me to read and share with the many women I found telling their stories. He’d also started a bereavement group--one of his last projects in supporting our community, which he felt so strongly about because there had been so many funerals in just the past year. I also wonder whether he didn’t feel, from deep within, a sense that something was changing inside, a sense that suffering was growing in a way he hadn’t anticipated.

I think about him every day. Today marks my due date, and though I am not sure this is going to go down immediately, I still find myself mentally preparing, and the Rupp book has become one of many I have pondered over as I vacillate between anticipation and fear of what’s to come.  The book has his scrawl in it--mostly notes to himself, points he wanted to highlight in perhaps a group meeting on the book, much of it so hard to read, but still, his writing.  His hurried hand as he read and digested.  I feel as though he is near, peering over my shoulder as I read, and hear his voice grow persistent on the main points, as it always did in his homilies, or when he was fired up about anything. And that's good, since I really wish he was here as he was five years ago at my bedside, praying over me.

The focus of the book is on the notion of Sophia as a spiritual guide--Sophia in the sense of wisdom. I gave Isabella the middle name Sophia in part because of this:  she was my little guide to parenthood five years back, and she remains now a revelation to me most days, especially when I can cut through the whining long enough to understand what she’s trying to say. In the book, as Rupp reflects in a chapter when we get hung up on our “enchanted forests”--the places in our lives in which we set things or people on pedestals and then suffer disillusionment--she quotes Judith Viorst:

The road to human development is paved with renunciation. Throughout our life we grow by giving up. We give up some of our deepest attachments to others. We give up certain cherished parts of ourselves. We must confront, in the dreams we dream, as well as in our intimate relationships, all that we never will have and never will be.

It’s a good reflection, this one, applicable in many ways to various aspects of anticipation. For me right now it’s whether this baby will make an appearance naturally, and how life will change irrevocably with a new little member of our family. Over my lifetime I think I have paused and grown most when I did recognize transitions and moments when I needed to give something up, leave something or someone behind, let go and move on to something else, to the ineffable.  Not knowing what will happen when we detach, when we acknowledge the ins and outs of our anticipation and hope--there’s the rub. Who knows which way the ball will roll?