Saturday, June 21, 2008


Two thoughts have been rolling around in my head lately. the first is an exert from a book that Fawn lent to me called The Dive From Clausen's Pier. In it the mother and daughter are talking about life and actions and what our actions say about us and the mother said something very profound." What we do does not define who we are, who we are defines what we do." The second I heard many years ago, so long ago in fact that I dont remember where it came from or who said it, goes something like this: " The only way to understand ourselves is by what God is and what He does for us." This is written down somewhere in my jumble of journaling and notes and has a verse attached which is Romans 12:2
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect"new living translation)
I like the Message version of this the best and it goes:
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."So these thoughts have been swimming around in my head with the usual chatter- thoughts about who I am, how I fit in, if I am living life successfully, if I am really being the best I can be. Similar thoughts I am sure that we all have from time to time. Sometimes I reflect on the days and my words or actions and I wonder how those words or actions reflect on me, what do they say about me as a person? And I remind myself of the quote from the book.. it is not my actions that define me, it is my heart that defines my actions... but then the second thought has recently come into mind... and I remind myself that I am not even defined entirely by WHO I am in my heart, but defined by Christ who lives in my heart. I am not defined by me, but simply put, I am defined by the Creator and what he has done and continues to do. With those thoughts in mind I wonder why I spend so many sleepless nights and anxious days trying to understand why I will never feel like I fit in 100%. I keep trying to conform to the patterns of life around me, keep trying to find "my niche" in society..... but the truth is very clearly cut out for me that I will never find my definition there..... And your thoughts on this anyone?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Parting- Faith's story Part VI

11 months ago today, Faith departed this earth.I awoke that morning with a great internal heaviness. OUTSIDE the hospital walls the rain was coming down- literally in some parts of the state in floods. These were some of the biggest rain showers we had seen in years during the heat of the summer. It was strange weather for a strange time. INSIDE, my heart was breaking and flooding my body with great sorrow. I didnt know it was the day that Faith would part. She had been resting so well the day before and although it had been only days since we got the news of how broken her body was- she had been fighting so hard that I hoped for miracles of life. I didnt know why my heart was so heavy, but that morning I was so uneasy and so broken that I didnt know if I had ever felt any lower. For all the internal and emotional distress I was feeling, Cliffs body was giving him grief in another way. He awoke that morning with one of the worst migraine's he has ever had. It seems really that as her parents, our spirits and our bodies knew that something was occuring.I took my journal and book and went down to visit Faith in the Nicu. I tried to stay up beat, to talk to her and sing to her... but it was almost too much. I prayed to God to ease the heaviness in my hold the pieces of me together that felt as if they were falling apart. Eventually I wondered down to lunch in the cafeteria..... and it was after I finished my indian taco( i dont think i will ever forget the meal i ate that day) I got a call on my cell phone. It was one of the surgical residents and she said I had better come on up. I knew in my heart that this was the call. That things were bad.... I called to Cliff to meet me in the NICU and raced for the elevator. As I scrubbed in on the 7th floor my heart was in my lungs and beating so very hard. When I went into Faith's room the machines were sending an alarm which had been going on so long that someone had hit the mute button and the nurse and several doctors were in there trying to get her oxygen levels to return to normal. They explained that she had been desaturating for over 15 minutes at least and that they had attempted blow by blows..... did I want them to try anything else in an effort to save her? I knew this was the question that we had dreaded- the moment we hoped not to face. Cliff wasnt in the room yet but we had already discussed our thoughts and desires for her care. They were asking if they should attempt chest compressions. " No" I said as there was nothing more I knew to say. "My husband is on his way" The nurse told me I could hold her and still keep her on the vent awhile to allow my husband time to get there. I couldnt believe I was finally going to get to hold my tiny baby girl in my arms... and now it was time to say goodbye. I held her and talked to her through my tears. I told her it was okay to let go. Cliff arrived and he held her too... and we cried as we stroked her face, carressed her hair, and held her tightly in our arms as we had longed to do for so long. We told her over and again that we loved her. The medical team removed the vent... and by this time she was already growing faint. We held her in our arms until her spirit left her body. The doctor listened to her heart and called her time of death. I looked down in her face which was now slack and knew she was gone. The nurse helped us to give her the first and final bath... We cleaned her body and removed all the tape and wires and tubes.... and I got to see how beautiful my baby was without all those other things in the way.I didnt know how I was going to be able to leave that hospital and face the trip home, much less the days ahead. I reminded myself over and again that she already had a perfect new body in heaven, and that we would meet there again.... but my heart was still so broken. I had held my baby in my arms as she breathed her last breath. I knew in that moment that I would never be the same person. Faith had profoundly changed my life and taught me the greatest lesson of loving unconditionally.......and she will be forever loved.

In Memorandum: Faith Constance CarlsonJuly 3 2007 - July 12 2007- Forever nine days in our hearts