Remembering Faith Elizabeth

Remembering Faith Elizabeth

Monday, January 24, 2011


I was just sitting down at our home computer to print something off for Jamie...a Groupon (love Groupon!) for a nearby shoe store so that he can buy himself a new pair of Birkenstocks and not spend an arm and a leg. My husband has a bit of a love-affair with Birkenstocks...he owns four pairs of shoes...dress shoes, work boots, tennis shoes, and Birkenstocks. And he wears those Birks ALL the time...anywhere, any weather. We got nine inches of snow last weekend and he wore the Birks! While I was digging around for something that would keep snow out of my shoes and off my already freezing feet, he slipped on his Birkenstocks. Admittedly, they are incredibly comfortable. In fact, after wearing heeled boots today, my Birks will be the shoe of choice tomorrow...and I will arrange my outfit around getting to wear those Birks.

I digress...I sat down to print this Groupon off for Jamie - and the printer crapped out. Full-on, 100% beyond fixable, I'm fairly certain. I flipped through the manual and found the error message this piece of technology was giving me and discovered...I needed to call the company. Which I then discovered they only want you to do if your printer is still under warranty, which I know this one is not. Finally, fed up, I went to Wal-Mart's website where I found several printers that we can afford and will do what we need...cheaper than probably fixing the one we own. And probably a lot faster. And wireless. Decision printer it is. Trip to Wal-Mart on the errand list for this week. Check...

I sat down to write about what is in my heart (and then, summarily, was distracted by the printer debacle.) I had a day today...and day I had to consciously begin by reminding myself not to take my frazzled, disorganized, sleep-deprived self out on the 10-year olds around me. My students walk in my door at 8:40 a.m. I arrived to school at approximately 8:33 a.m. Just enough time to pee, put my lunch away, run to my mailbox and take a breath. And then the day began...twenty-something little people that needed something. Twenty-something little people that haven't been in school since last Wednesday, thanks to those previously mentioned 9-inches of snow! Twenty-something little people that simply need to be loved and taught and embraced...and today, it was hard at moments. I am stressed about work, stressed about upcoming work issues, and stressed about life. When did my life - our life - become so abnormal?

I remember telling my doctor once, at an annual exam, that I was "normal, boring, and average...always have been." I soon ate my words...I got pregnant with Faith and we went from "normal, boring, and average" to anything but. And it's not like we're new to being the anomaly...after all, Jamie had colon cancer at 28-years old. We have seriously spent a great deal of time looking at each other, asking, "What did we do? What have we done? When is it our turn?"

I have recently discovered an author by the name of Terri Blackstock. She is a Christian author that writes mystery/suspense novels. These books have done more to fill my mind with questions and wonder and thought than any in a very long time. They are wonderful stories, suspenseful and with wonderful characters, and she uses Christian principles and scripture as part of the story. I have cried through some of the stories and wept at my own heartache that weaves in her stories (really - on one occasion I had to stop reading and go back later because I was crying so hard I couldn't read the words on the page.) One of the things I've most taken away from these books is that sometimes the world around us, the failures we see and live through, are impossible to understand. She doesn't wax poetic about living a Godly life...she doesn't write characters that live without question or live perfectly. They just keep trying. She writes stories in which terrible things happen...and the people around it must cope and try to live a human life when they have a greater belief. I have taken so much from those characters...that being Christian and believing in God doesn't mean doing so perfectly or without question.

I will never understand why my child had to die...or why my husband had to have cancer...or shy my mother had breast cancer...or why Alzheimer's robs so many...or why so many deserving people struggle to have children...while others want for nothing. I don't pretend not to struggle with my own beliefs sometimes or question the "why" and wait for an answer I know that I will not get in this lifetime. My brain knows I won't get an answer that will satisfy me...because there isn't one that will. My brain understands this. My heart has a much more difficult time because, after all, I am human. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, a mother, a wife, a reader, a writer, an aunt. I exhausted and imperfect human being. I am, like most out there, trying to understand things I cannot possibly grasp. I won't pretend that I'm going to stop...because I won't. I will still search for answers and for the reasons, even when I know I won't find them. Maybe that's insanity...but I also believe that as long as I keep on trying, I just may find out something I didn't know before. Like a treasure hunt, I'm discovering that one clue leads to another clue, that leads to another clue...and so on. It is life...up and down, hard at times. I just pray that I can keep finding a way to start going up the next hill...each and every time I see a new one.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Yesterday I was out, running errands, standing in line at the grocery store when a voice called my name. I looked up to see an old friend...a friend I went to college with and had not seen since I was pregnant with Faith. We ran into each other at the grocery store, then, too. Thanks to the technology of Facebook, she knew much of our story with Faith, but she didn't know all the details.

So there, in the checkout line at Schnucks, she said to me, "How are you? I think about you all the time and I always mean to call you or write you, but I'm terrible at communicating. I want to know what happened with Faith...I've only caught pieces...will you tell me? Will you talk to me?" Well...that was the gist of it.

Now, maybe this sounds as though she was being a busybody, but I didn't feel that way. Admittedly, I was caught a little off guard, as I stood reading "Soap Opera Digest," waiting to buy coffee and bananas. But, once I got by bearings, I was glad she asked. She quickly said, "It's okay if you don't want to talk...I just think of you so often and just want to know how you are." I assured her it was okay with me to talk, but asked, "Can I get out of line first?" We both laughed, I paid for my groceries, and we took a seat on a bench at the end of the checkout line.

For the next hour (no, I'm not kidding), we caught up. I'm sure the cashiers and baggers thought we were crazy...after all, who sits on a bench in the grocery store for over an hour, chatting like two long-lost friends, while our groceries sat in the cart in front of us? I talked about Faith...I told our story. We shared notes on some common experiences we've had and laughed about common frustrations. We giggled over our husbands who seem to have a lot in common, including their "survivalist/prepare for anything" ways - we laughed at some of the supplies we have in our house for just such an occurence. And as I sat with this old friend, I remembered why we'd been such good friends at one time in our lives. I'm not really sure why we didn't stay in, I guess. She went her way, I went got busy and it just happened. But, it was fun to see her again and talk. She hasn't changed...she still talks a mile a minute, but it was kind of nostalgic to sit with her. It made me want to keep up with her a little more frequently.

So, to this friend...I hope that we can make time to see each other more than just an occasional occurrence at the grocery store. Thank you for asking about Faith...thank you for being you and not worrying that what you might say could be awkward (a problem, I assure you, she never had)...thank you for being direct and compassionate and letting me talk about my beautiful daughter. Thanks for sharing stories of the crazies...for laughing and letting me ramble on a bit too long at times. Thank you for reminding me why we were friends, and why I'd like to be better about keeping in touch from now on.

Who knew a trip for coffee and bananas could end up reminding me of a great friend?