Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lord, please let me hear his little voice.

I found myself tucked away in a tiny monastery over the weekend. (You read that right.) I went with a couple of friends to a small group of nuns who just so happen to open up their beautiful home to visitors longing for a quiet place to pray, rest, and retreat.

The nuns have their living quarters on one side of the monastery, with a small chapel at the center, and guest rooms flanking the other side. We were free to use the chapel, any of the cozy and quiet rooms on the guest end, and the grounds surrounding the facility. We were also invited to join the nuns for morning prayers. This non-Catholic was touched when upon arrival, the nun explained that while we were using their space, they would be praying for us. These are women who have spent the last fifty years in prayer, each and every day. I was honored.

Visiting the monastery was perfect timing. A kiss at the end of summer, awaiting the beautiful autumn. I am a "fall" girl. I feel most alive in the season of changing leaves. I'm always more energized. More focused. I had dreams about using the monastery time to strategize and plan out my entire fall. Goals, projects, vision. You get the idea.

As I sat down to think about entering September, the month I refer to as "mine", my thoughts went to my boy. Does this happen to every parent? The immediate recognition that life is totally and completely altered because of our little ones?

One of the theological mysteries that I often contemplate is prayer. Since having Jack, I have spent more time pleading with God than I ever thought was possible. Pleading with God for each and every breath. Pleading for health. Pleading for protection. Also, more time spent in thankfulness. Utter and life-altering thankfulness for each milestone. More acceptance of his life and his needs. Acknowledgement that for some reason, Jack was spared and he is on this earth.

This is the confusing balance. Of wanting and pleading for more. Always more. Feelings of desperation. But also of accepting more. Of knowing we are the lucky ones. Of gratitude. This is why prayer is such a mystery to me.

And so in the first moment of quiet at the monastery, I scribbled down these words. I had stolen away to an outside deck. My view was a big golden field and an outcropping of trees beyond. I was watching the sun dip down the big Montana skyline and as I saw the light fade, I wrote these words:

For Jack
How much do I ask for?
How much do I accept?
The line always fluctuates.
Always longing.
Then reminding myself how good we have it.
My boy is alive.
He is JOY.
But still, I ask.
I plead.
Lord, please let me hear his little voice.
And then I kinda just went quiet for the rest of the weekend. That was my prayer. That was enough.
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ruby7 said...

I know what you mean about "hearing his little voice." I have been waiting 23 years to hear my son's voice. Just to hear him say Mommy or Daddy or I love you. That would fill me with joy! However, I am thankful for this son of ours. It's just that all moms and dads want "more" for their children. That doesn't smack of ungratefulness; it speaks of love. <3

Mrboosmum said...

I really get this Jessi. Since having Boo I too have begged and prayed for so much - that he would make the next milestone, that I am strong enough to be his parent and advocate, that his sister won't miss out from all the extra time and attention he needs, that he would make it through the night. And two years down the line, I beg and plead just as much, but I too have noticed that the scales have tipped away from desperation towards acceptance and like you, gratitude. I am thankfully never now as desperate as I am grateful. It really is a confusing mix of feelings and few people seem to understand. Thank you for articulating it so eloquently and clearly.

Beverly said...

I've missed hearing about Jack. I've been praying for my daughter for 42 years. This posting touched my heart with gentle memories. I still pray. She's still here. I can never give up.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful prayer, Jessi. Love, Lindsay B.

Catherine W said...

So beautiful, heart breaking and gut wrenching. I have an ex-23 weeker too (surviving twin, her sister died in the NICU) and I recognise many of those pleas.

The terrible tension between wanting more (for her and for myself) and just being unendingly thankful that she is still here and can do so many of the things I was told that she would never achieve. I hope that you may hear your dear Jack's voice, I truly do hope so.

Sending love xo

Alisha said...

I know this all too well. In the last 8 weeks I have prayed more than ever in my life, alternating between, "Thank you so much for giving us Lucy," and "Please let her live." I am sending you a giant hug. So glad you had the chance for a quiet retreat and reflection.

KatieO said...

I just sobbed a little bit.