Tonight marks the beginning of the High Holy days starting with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Whereas most people reflect on the past year closer to December 31st, my reflections happen closer to October. To say this was a monumental year is an understatement. I have never had such a tumultuous year since my first year on this earth. The events changed my world three-fold: mentally, physically and spiritually. I have grown in my career and have enjoyed success at my work this past year. My running reached a new level and I had the pleasure of becoming part of an amazing group of runners who I looked forward to running with every Sunday. In December we found out we were expecting a third addition to our family and made the decision to start looking for our own home.
All of these changes are minute compared to the enormous change that occurred on March 5th. With one sentence our world went from one extreme to the other, and I was faced with my biggest spiritual crisis. I was furious at God for months, even after she was born I had a hard time considering prayer. It wasn’t until I let her go into the arms of the medical professionals that I didn’t have a choice. Still not on the best of terms, but it is a little easier to pray these days than it was 2 months ago. I learned something really big this year and because of this crisis of faith, I have grown spiritually in a way that was completely unexpected. I mean, how can you grow spiritually without praying? By relying on the prayers other people were sending us, by handing her over to the unknown, by being brought to a place of where I had nothing else to rely on. Amazing.
Physically, I went from one size to another and am looking forward to the pendulum swinging back to my former size. I was given the all clear to start exercising. My heart is looking forward to working hard and hitting the pavement. I’m a hell of a lot more tired than I was last year no doubt, but I plan on starting my road back to sanity as soon as possible.
So much change in 365 days, and so much growth. The gifts we have received in exchange for a sick child are priceless. Yesterday was challenging because I have been feeling really isolated and sorry for myself. I’m days away from turning 40 and my wish for a celebration doesnt exactly coincide with Isabelle’s condition. I just want to celebrate something since I feel like I have been in mourning for months. Sometimes it just gets me down that I can’t do the things I want to do or did with my previous children but the next thought is what a miracle Isabelle is and I will do whatever it takes to keep her with me. She defies odds by being alive. She is a living, breathing miracle. She survived an invasive open heart surgery. Her aortic arch was recreated using Gor-Tex. They make bathing suits out of that.
I find it interesting that God feels it necessary to back a person into a corner in order for them to turn a corner, to turn towards Him. Perhaps it is because walking through tremendous pain and surviving makes for a stronger bond, rather than having everything go according to the person’s plan. It’s easier to pray when things go right, but when things go the opposite way, it is next to impossible. Who knows.
I won’t be in synagogue for the first time in years for Rosh Hashanah. It bothers me, but I know this is one more “Next year” type of situation to add to the growing list. I’d rather be home with Isabelle and know that the only germs she is exposed to are mine.