I got an email the other day about the latest in "push presents", gifts bestowed on a new mother after she has given birth. I can't remember exactly what this latest recommended gift was, maybe a ring or something. I personally would have preferred a huge bouquet of my favourite flowers, pure white roses. Or maybe a year's worth of full body massages. Anyway, I didn't know much about push presents when I was giving birth. From the email I got the impression that the gift is supposed to come from the father of the baby being pushed so I guess my ex husband didn't get that memo either!
When I was actually in the act of pushing, the only thing on my mind was my baby; she would be my reward, my gift, my push present. You hear people all the time saying you forget all the pain of labour when you're finally holding your baby in your arms. It was worth it! Worth the pain and discomfort. The first time I held my baby after she was born was when she was dying.
So I've been back from my sabbatical about six weeks now and I'm still catching up with everyone. I've missed births and engagements and now have several weddings to attend. Not so long ago these would have sent me to a place I like to call Despair. But somehow my life has changed in a way I could never have imagined. A friend of mine said its like I've had the refresh button pressed on my life. I've rediscovered my love for adventure, I've done things that have taken me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow, I've joined a new church, I'm meeting new people, and I'm becoming someone I like, someone I recognise. I feel like I'm really living and honestly, at one point I never thought I'd feel that way again.
So I wonder if it's the same with all of us who experience grief in some way. Of course we all experience it differently and our circumstances and personalities play a part in that. But I wonder if, if we can just hold on until we can get to a point where we realise God's already holding us, if we can get through the raw pain until the scar starts to form its tissue, whether we can somehow recognise the gift of starting over - whatever that looks like?
So it probably all sounds a bit romanticised but this not about negating the pain; it's about living through it and past it and growing into and and loving the new you. A bit like "How Stella Got her Groove Back".
So anyway, I like to call this new me with new opportunities and new growth, my push present; my chance to start again. It hasn't been flowers and it wasn't my baby girl but it's still a gift, so I'm taking it anyway.