Monday, August 29, 2011

Dark Web

First the update on the babe:
We went back to the NICU (which was a strange feeling) to check in with Phoenix's neonatologist. It was a quick and uneventful visit -- he commented on her baby fat, checked her heart (the murmur is forever gone!) and talked about her lungs/oxygen with us. We just have to keep doing what we are doing, and give Phoenix the time she needs to grow new lung tissue.

[[WARNING: The next several paragraphs are totally unrelated to the Phoenix, so feel free to skip them.]]

I recently read a book called "Under the Unpredictable Plant" (by Eugene Peterson) for the internship, and have spent a lot of time dwelling on a section describing a change in Peterson's perspective on the seemingly trivial and homogenized lives of his congregants.
He writes:
"[Reading] Dostoevsky made them appear large again, vast in their aspirations, their sins, their glories ... He trained my antennae to pick up the suppressed signals of spirituality in the denatured stock language of conversations, discovering tragic plots and comic episodes, works-in-progress all around me. I was living in a world redolent with spirituality. There were no ordinary people.
... Now when I came across dull people, I inserted them into one of the novels to see what Dostoevsky would make of them. It wasn't long before the deeper dimensions developed, the eternal hungers and thirsts -- and God."
I have been haunted by this idea ever since finishing the book. As a result, I self-diagnosed my own sick tendency to see only the immediate. People offer the world a version of themselves, Peterson suggests, and I have not been fighting deeper to see souls in all their glory. I think this is especially disturbing to me now that I have found myself to be a stay-at-home mom. I love being a mother to Phoenix, but all the heights and depths of my being are certaintly not conveyed in my "job" title.
But for some reason, I have seen people with the very eyes I fear. And I don't want to anymore. I want to learn to see the drive-through employee as a complex and magnificent soul. The grocery clerk. The trash men. Acquaintances I had previously categorized as unworthy of attention.
And I know the only way to change my habit is to create a new one -- and I'm workin' on it.

One way I am doing so?
When I get a few minutes during the day (and I am managing to stay awake), I have been reading a novel called "The Elegance of the Hedgehog." I bought it during a long day at the hospital -- I snuck away to find something new to read to help pass the time inbetween her feedings. The two main characters are women of profound depth and intelligence that intentionally hide their powerful minds and play along with other people's perceptions of them. When I read the description, it felt in-keeping with my newfound soul-seeing task.

[[Back to the baby]] ...

In the incredibly well written text of the novel, I discovered this dark sentence:
"When illness enters a home, not only does it take hold of a body; it also weaves a dark web between hearts, a web where hope is trapped."
Fortunately, hope flies free in our home despite Phoenix's continued dependence on oxygen.
But her oxygen certainly affects more than her lungs, and we could use prayer for endurance.

 Things I am tired of:
1. The baby being on oxygen.
2. The baby being hooked up to a monitor.
3. The monitor beeping loudly all day... every day.
4. The monitor beeping loudly all night. ALL NIGHT.
5. Getting tangled in the baby's cords.
6. My insulin pump getting caught on her oxygen tank.
7. Being stuck in the house because of the baby's cords.

Her cords are our "dark web," and I yearn for the day that I can change her diaper or give her a bath without being tethered to her tank. Pray that day comes sooner rather than later, and pray for Josh and I to keep from being discouraged by her continued dependence on the oxygen.

And pray that we find our camera (I think the bed ate it) so that you can see more pictures of little miss cutie boots.

Side note:
Thank you for all the encouraging notes about breastfeeding -- sister and I are going to keep at it!
The other night, in a moment of feeding frustration, I decided to change my perspective. I held her close, gave her long, snuggly kisses, and thought about the two and half weeks that I could only look at her through the plastic sides of her isolette. I would rather fight to feed her from now until eternity than relive those days of separation.
I know it will click for us one day ... until then, the two of us will continue to be tired and covered in breastmilk.

1 comment:

  1. Emily, thank you for sharing the great insights of Peterson's book and The Elegance of the Hedgehog--I would love to read them. I am taking a Christian Ethics class in Divinity School this semester called "Healing Arts: Illness, Suffering, and the Witness of the Church." It is taught by a Pediatric Oncologist and a Theologian/Medical Doctor and Psychologist. While I know I am looking for "answers," I am also very much looking forward to the journey through the dark question: "How can a loving God allow illness and suffering?" I will be praying for you, your husband, and Phoenix, especially as I read for this class.

    If you finish The Elegance of the Hedgehog and you are looking for a new book, here is a link to our texts for the semester.

    I'm praying for you!