Friday, September 15, 2006

Ode to Joy

After feeling really blue all day Monday and Tuesday -- whether from pregnancy hormones, 9/11, or what, I don't know -- I awoke Wednesday feeling...happy! A total and welcomed surprise. Brendan, too, awoke in a fabulous mood, full of good humour.

Before he awoke, however, I spent some time browsing on-line for writing jobs. I'm still doing my gig with Atlanta Dog Life, but I need more work. I did write October's cover story on Uga, the University of Georgia mascot as well as two brief articles on agility dog training and Frisbee dog training. But I need more! More writing, more money, a greater sense of self-worth.

So...anyway...I found an ad on craigslist for a writing job with this group. The concept of the organization blew me away. And when I read the web site, which I did in depth, I felt a little overwhelmed by a renewed sense of purpose and joy. I can't really explain it, except to say that when I read about what they do, I really thought this is where I belong.

Crazy. I know. But I sent my resume and some writing samples along with the requested sample paragraph describing what their organization does. I thought that it would be like most of the other ads I've responded to in the last year where it takes several weeks before anyone gets back to you. Within a few hours, however, I had heard back from the founder of the organization, who by the way, sounds like a really cool woman.

Her e-maibeganin with the word namaste, which means (in case you've never heard it before) the god in me salutes the god in you. It's a lovely greeting that I have never been able to bring myself to use because I feel a little pretentious saying it. But I love it when others use it.

Anyway, she sent me a delightful e-mail asking me to tell her about my spirit, about what makes my heart sing. She asked me what I would do if I could do anything in the world. It's exactly the kind of interview process I've been dreaming of my whole life. I'm not sure I answered with the answers she would have wanted to hear, but I think I answered very honestly.

For some reason, I feel that the sense of joy with which I awoke that day had a part in my finding that ad. I don't know why, but I feel very confident about this. Oddly so. It may not work out at all. I'm sure a thousand other writers have applied for this same job. But I'm okay even if I don't get it because I had a brief, but meaningful encounter with another human being. One who, by all accounts, is a genuinely loving and wonderful person.

I'm having difficulty articulating it, because it seems strange to me, but something has changed within me, and relates directly to discovering this organization and seeing the good they want to do in the world, and feeling like I have the power within me to do good in the world, even if it's just in making life better for the people I touch every day. That may be enough. It's the kind of thing that if everyone did it, the world would automatically become a better, more connected place.

Monday, September 11, 2006

100 Years

I remember being a kid and hearing my grandmother and mom and other friends and relatives telling stories about where they were when they heard President Kennedy had been shot. I remember my grandmother saying that moments before the news came over the radio, she heard a loud cracking sound and looked out the kitchen window to see a very large branch fall from a tree near the house. She always saw it as an omen.

September 11 has become that day that will live in my memory forever, a miscarriage my harbinger of the evil in this world.

Five years later, every moment of that day is as vivid in my mind as if it happened yesterday. Sometimes I wish it weren't. Sometimes I wish that I didn't feel the emotional pain of that day still lingering on in my heart. Other days I simply accept that like the scar on our nation, I will always carry this tender scar on my heart, on my soul.

I spent much of September 11 in the hospital, having a D & C and recovering. Before I went into surgery, Scott and I sat in the waiting room, glued to the TV, terrified of what was happening, wondering how much worse it could get. When I awoke following the surgery, I couldn't stop crying. In the days to come, I lay in bed, immobilized by sorrow. The pain and guilt I felt over losing my baby seemed trivial examined next to devastation of the World Trade Center and the greater loss of life. Still, I needed to mourn my loss, my baby girl that I would never know.

Those first few days after it happened are all a blur. I just remember lying in bed with Scott, both of us crying silently, watching CNN constantly, and reading about miscarriage, trying to figure out how I could have prevented it.

In many ways though, I wondered if it was a sign from God that we were entering a dangerous time and that it was too dangerous a world to bring any more children into. I wondered if it were somehow a blessing in disguise.

In the months that followed, we began to talk of trying again to conceive another child. I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do, still afraid of this new and terrifying world. But Scott said one day that having a child is the greatest act of hope anyone can perform in this world. For me, it was a turning point. By May, on a trip to New York City, we conceived Brendan. Finally, I felt hopeful and happy again.

And today, five years after the whole world changed forever, I have another darling baby boy growing within me. As I sit here writing, feeling him shifting and stretching, I am again filled with hope. I remain in awe that the families whose lives were devastated on 9/11 found the strength and courage to go on. But when I look into the smiling face of my three-year old boy and I think about holding the new little person growing inside, I know why. Hope can be buried within our hearts beneath all the burdens this world throws at it. But ultimately, it cannot be destroyed.