A flowered, raggedy and undoubtedly smelly, car seat.
Until recently, I thought little of its pink flash in my rearview mirror.
It was just the extra seat. The one we turned to when the booster ended up in the wrong car. Or when we had an extra kiddo to tote around.
That kind of little thing that had just somehow become a part of life’s unremarkable background.
But in August, this flowered, raggedy, smelly little chair became something sacred. It symbolized a precious new life. And in many ways, it waited for April 29, 2012 in the same way we waited…
With an unencumbered and even naïve, expectation.
Now even as I write this nearly two months later, the seat is still empty. But unlike when this story began, I know it will also be empty in April. In truth, it may be empty forever.
What once meant nothing and then something, now means so much more. Its pink, flowery emptiness reminds me of someone who is now with Jesus. Its raggedy form is overtaken by the memory of the brief days I have of carrying this same, precious someone.
But just as it reminds me of my sadness and grief, this empty seat also floods my mind with the mercy of God.
How deep it runs. How high it goes. And how far it can take you.
I would like to promise you that this is a happy story with a happy ending. I am that kind of girl. But this is not that kind of story.
What I can promise you, however, is that this journey will end with love, with mercy and above all else, with beautiful things…
The day I discovered I was pregnant was like most Sundays around the Cormany house.
A lazy, unintentional morning. Church in the evening. And a grocery store jaunt alone during afternoon nap time.
I hadn’t planned on buying a pregnancy test. But on a whim, as nearly all girls have done at one time or another, I threw one in the cart. Just to make sure.
I even ridiculously created a pathetic fort of grocery and toiletry items to cover it up. Totally normal, right?!? All in the event I ran into so and so.
Didn’t want to unintentionally start a hoot of a rumor right there in the Walmart aisle.
I mean me, pregnant?
Just a year shy of the baby turning one? Just five months after suffering a mild stroke? And just weeks after realizing how that same stroke would turn our ordered little world upside down and inside out?
Yes, that would be a good one. But just in case…just in case.
After lugging the groceries into the house, I went about the business of putting them away. Realizing I’d shoved the milk in the pantry, I gave up and figured I might as well take the dumb test. Put my mind at ease.
I mean, really, what were the odds? One GNO eating queso dip and drinking the house special appropriately called “The WooHoo?” Sitcom material, maybe. But certainly not real life.
Or was it?
The very second I saw the double line, I crumpled into a pile of tears on our wobbly toilet seat in a very non-comedic way. A reaction that would later wrack me with complete and utter guilt. But one that was also incredibly honest.
As I sobbed, the wobble of the seat nearly threw me to the floor. And maybe in some alternate universe it would have been sitcom kind of funny. But in mine and in that moment, it just wasn’t.
Because a good five minutes later, my husband found me, still sobbing. Seeing the test, he said nothing and simply hugged me. It was in his grasp that I could feel his earnest and gentle attempt to console me.
But sadly, consolation only works when you know from where the tears are coming. And only I knew that. Or at least I thought I did.
What I held with certainty is that they were by no means in response to the life inside me. They were from pure, unadulterated fear of what was to come. Or even what might come.
Fear for the baby. Fear for my family. Fear for myself.
And in gut-wrenching honesty, fear of all the well-intentioned, well-placed reactions that were to follow:
“Do you really think you should be doing this?”
“How did this happen?”
“Was this planned?”
All reactions that I knew would come out of love, care and concern. But reactions that I knew would do nothing to ease the fear I would face on this journey. A fear that made me feel so very far away from the Father I desperately needed.
Later that night, I sat in the sanctuary with my head swirling and my heart pounding to the beat of my own emotions.
I missed the sermon. I missed the songs. I missed the people.
But there was one moment I did not miss. It was less of a moment, really. And more, a silent conversation between God and me.
It may have been less than articulate on my part but it was true and honest and real.
“God, do you have any idea what you are asking of me? Any clue? Any inkling? I know you may be the God of the universe but this seems pretty near impossible.”
“I know what it seems, but Sara, I’ve got this.”
“But my body? You know I’m not stretching it when I say it totally sucks.”
“And nobody is going to understand. I mean, nobody.”
“But I do.”
“So, you’ve got this?”
“I always have.”
And that was it. I knew He had it. I didn’t have to understand.
In truth, no one did.
It was just that time. Time to trust that He was who He said He was. And time to believe He had it all cradled in His hands.
So with that conversation’s end, I began the emotional embrace of the life I carried inside. Not knowing what it would truly mean. Not realizing how deeply I would have to trust Him.
Or more importantly, with whom…