20 September 2011

Beauty Still Wins

When I was quite early in my pregnancy with Ewan -- long before we ever found out about his heart -- I found myself thinking about Eve a lot: specifically the curse. You know, the whole “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children” thing.

I wrote in this post about how before I was pregnant, I thought that the increased pain referred primarily to childbirth (which it no doubt includes). But having had the perspective of being pregnant, I speculated that it also included several of the less pleasant sensations of pregnancy like nausea, hip pain, not being able to see your toes, and the incredible amount of effort it takes to pick up something you’ve dropped on the ground (again). Maybe it even includes dealing with strangers’ voiced suspicions that you’re expecting twins.

On our fridge

I speculated in this post about what an amazing thing it was that God didn’t do away with childbearing altogether. I mean, I suppose He could have axed the whole pregnancy thing if He wanted to curse the human race more completely. Having created them with His own two hands, their help certainly was not required. But childbearing was something He let them keep. He got the ball rolling, but left the work of making more humans up to them, and eventually to us. Adam and Eve were cursed, but they still got to be a part of something really good that God had started. It may have involved incredible pain, discomfort, and inconvenience, but there was still life. New life had not been done away with completely.

I closed the post with the following paragraph:
“And I wonder if Eve, in holding her children, thought what a terrible and beautiful thing it all was: the exquisite pain in bringing forth the delicate little life she held. I wonder if she looked at those little babes and thought in spite of the all the discomfort and pain that would be fresh in her memory: beauty still triumphs.”
I could not help but think of this post again recently, Ewan’s first birthday fresh in my mind. The exquisite pain of the past year is only too fresh: the body-wracking fits of tears, the depression that seemed endless, the turbulent waves of emotion, the need to deal with painful details and answering awkward questions. All of those things and more were part of the weight we carried. Yesterday I wrote about how beautiful a day Ewan’s birthday was, marked by gladness and gratitude, celebration and laughter. Without denying any of the gritty reality of what the past year has held, James and I were both able to say honestly that Ewan’s first birthday was a beautiful and happy day for us.

And so here they are again, side by side, held in tension with each other: beauty and pain. The presence of one will never negate or mollify the other. But it struck me this weekend that what I speculate of Eve’s thoughts in that final paragraph is true of mine: beauty still triumphs. Something ugly and terrible may have happened -- something that nobody wanted to happen -- but Ewan still exists.

He’s still here in a not-so-tangible but very real way. I can still sense his presence, his life, and his love. He is still a part of our day-to-day reality. The pictures of him that decorate our home call to mind his sweetness, his ferocity, and his life. He might not be right here, but he’s not gone either. And you know what that means? It means that at the end of the day, beauty still wins.