Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Slow Down

Last year the day before Halloween was a Sunday.  Our church meeting started at one o'clock.  Around 12:40 on the Sunday before Halloween last year I was putting on my own shoes, looking for the lost pair to a tiny black shoe, and wondering if it was cold enough for jackets.  We were just gathering ourselves to walk out the door when the phone rang.  On most days, at that point in the departure process, I probably would have ignored it, letting the machine take a message.  I think perhaps there was some small crisis involving hair bows or some such and I thought that granted me enough time to at least check and see who was calling.

The caller id said it was my mother on the other end, and you can't ignore a phone call from your mother.  I answered, "Hi, Mom."

"This is Dan." was the response I heard.  In my impatient, self-important hastiness I did not pick up on any of the clues in his voice.

"Oh, hey Dan.  Is this important, because we are just on our way out the door to church."

Is This Important, I asked him.

Those words have haunted me for exactly a year now.

When I got off the phone with him and it was clear that I would be unable to go to church, Devin asked me what I wanted to do.  I told him I needed to go somewhere beautiful.

I sat on a bench in that park, 6 months pregnant, my face a portrait of human misery, and I thought about heaven and love, pain and loss, beauty and hope, sorrow and despair.  I thought about babies.  I watched my own once-babies run through the bushes and flowers, and I knew they were wondering if it was alright for them to be laughing.  They didn't really understand why mommy was crying, even though I had told them over and over and over that afternoon.

"Everyone has a time that they leave this earth and go to be with Jesus in heaven.  Today was Tabitha's time," was what my muddled mind came up with to tell them.

A few days later I took a train to be with my family, and to say goodbye to the sweet face that I had only just met.  In this past year, every single time we see a train, my girls remind me.  "Look, mommy. A train. Like the one you took to Michigan to say goodbye to Tabitha."

And I say, "That's right, girls.  That's right."  Trains, for me, will always mean Tabitha.

Today was a beautiful day, the warm sun shining and a gentle breeze blowing.  I took my three girls to the park, and sat on the same bench as last year.  I thought about all of the sights and sounds and smells of life.  All of the small and insignificant sensory details that let us know we are alive.

I don't really know the point or purpose of this post, but I do know that I never want to be haunted by words again like I have been this past year.  I never want to be in such a rush that I assume what is happening in my own life is more important than what is happening in someone else's life.

I want to slow down.


  1. Oh Amy, I remember that Sunday as well. Being weeks away from Landon being born, my heart ached for you and your family. I can't wait to see you this Saturday and hopefully the weather holds up and is nice enough for playing at the park.

  2. I am glad you had nice weather. We did not here. In a way, it felt like the earth was mourning with us, but it did cancel our picnic at the plot plans.

    We all need to be somewhere beautiful sometimes.

    And we all could use the reminder to slow down.