Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Flipside

Due to my upbringing I have often pondered heaven and hell.  During Halloween, where I am from, exists these strange things called tribulation houses.  Its a Southern Baptist's version of an appropriate haunted house.  Its a re-creation of specific parts of the book of Revelations from the Bible.  You pay five dollars and walk through rooms where people have just disappeared.  The vaccuum is running but no one is in the room. The news reporter on the radio is screaming about the traffic accidents, plane crashes, etc. happening all as a result of the disappearing people.  As you go through the house you learn that all of the Christ believers have disappeared and chaos has errupted on earth.  God has saved his people and the ones left must make a choice; suffer in this new chaotic world ruled by evil and still go to heaven when you die, or accept the new rules, find comfort on earth but be eternally damned to hell.  After making this connection, you are lead into a pitch black hallway that is a simulation of hell.  It's so hot it makes you sweat, breathing is difficult and the only sounds you hear are screams and moaning.  The narrator tells you of the eternal suffering and pain the people in hell experience and just when you think you can't stand the heat, they let you out into heaven.  The room is cool and white, candles and lights flicker next to beautiful people dressed as angels and there are places to sitdown and read the Bible.  As a child, I was so thankful to leave hell and go to heaven.  I could feel relief wash over me as soon as the cool air touched my skin and I would listen intently as the narrator told me of an eternity of love and celebration with all of the ones who went before me.

As an adult, and no longer Southern Baptist, I think back to those tribulation houses and one major flaw (besides the fearmongering) in its design stands out.  They take you through hell and then you get to experience heaven.  But in the reality of death, from a Christian stand point, its seems to me that it would be the opposite.  I imagine, when we all die, everyone would experience heaven first.  They would feel the cool air on their skin, the peace, joy, and eternal understanding that is promised.  They would celebrate with the ones they love who had gone before and they would know God.  Then, when they grasped the full understanding of what heaven is, the ones that didn't believe on earth would have it all taken away.  The peace, the joy, all of it will be stripped from them and they will be plunged into an eternal hell.  For how can they really understand hell if they had never experienced heaven?

The day my daughter was born, she lived for an hour and a half.  I didn't know I was in labor, I never felt a single contraction.  I was in the hospital on bed rest and I felt pressure.  I reached down and could feel the top of her head, so I called for the nurse.  Ten minutes later I vomited and she slid out.  I was so afraid they would drop her, but they didn't.  They wrapped her in a blanket and they laid her on my chest.  She was only 22 weeks and 1 day, she didn't have a chance.  But as she laid on my chest and I looked at her, touched her, and talked to my living daughter, I glimpsed heaven.  I felt that perfect peace and joy that defies all understanding.  For 90 minutes I felt that cool air on my face and I understood God.  Then, her heart stopped beating and she was stripped from my grasp, my peace, my joy was taken away and I thought to myself, surely, this is hell.    

Alice was born first and alive.  Drake died during delivery a week later and I never got to experience his life outside my body.  Do you remember your thoughts when you first saw or held your child (children)?  My mother always says that your first born is different than the others.  Alice was my first born and I do have different feelings about her than Drake.  I feel the same love for them of course, but I feel more of a connection to Alice.  If you have more than one, do you feel the same way?    

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Alice and The Dragon

The Body put on the metal armor intending to be the valiant knight.  It knew The Mother did not think it was time so it slipped out into the kingdom unaware.  "I will be the knight in shining armor" it thought as it hastened into the unknown, intending to make The Mother happy.  After days of travel it came across a castle that was locked on all sides.  The knight knocked on the door and to his surprise, it opened.  The knight went into the castle and came to a closed door that read " The princess lives here and when the time is right, her knight in shining armor will escort her out into the kingdom, but beware, she is An Alice."  "An Alice," the knight thought "what had The Mother said about that?" the knight couldn't remember.  So, it continued through the door and up the staircase.  The Princess was snug in her bed, her brown hair curled around her shoulders.  The knight was struck by her beauty and immediately realized this was the one The Mother was waiting for. But, she was so small, the knight knew it wasn't her time.  "I will be back to take you to The Mother when you are ready" the knight told the princess as it hurriedly backed out of the door. But in its haste, the knight forgot to latch it closed. 

     The knight set out again, but an hour later, it began to rain.  The knight hurried through the forest until it eventually found a cave.  Thankful for the good fortune, it went into the cave to rest and dry off.  But the rain continued until finally the knight decided to explore.  It followed the cave down into the darkness for almost a week.  The knight was convinced that it was empty and disappointed it wasn't going to get a chance to prove itself to The Mother when it heard a light noise, as though someone was kicking the cave wall.  The knight followed the sound until it got closer and closer and the caves got hotter and hotter.  The air was so hot that the walls began to tremble.  And that is when the knight saw it.  The most glorious beast ever created.  The Dragon.  Its red skin and blonde scales glistened in the heat of the cave.  The knight noticed that The Dragon's  legs were caught in a hole in the floor of the cave and the thumping sound was The Dragon trying to free itself.  " I have come for you Dragon!" the knight announced, its voice echoing inside the cavern.  "I have come to slay you for The Mother, I am the knight in shining armor!"  The Dragon, struggling to break free, yelled to the knight "It is not time, I am not ready, I must get free and stay until The Mother calls."  But the knight, intent on its decision fought the dragon, pierced his heart, and drug him from the trembling caves.
     Then the knight heard her voice "What have you done My Body?  Why have you betrayed me?  Do you not remember what I said?" The Mother asked. "She was An Alice and curiosity killed the cat.  The rain you felt was my sorrow for The Princess for now, she is lost to me.  You searched out My Dragon, the only one of his kind, you have slain him and drug him out from where he was safe.  Why did you not listen when he told you he was waiting for me?  Villain! Why such treachery?," The Mother wailed.  "Haven't I kept you safe and healthy all these years and this is how you repay me?" she asked.  But the knight had taken off its armor and The Body did not answer.

I have an incompetent cervix, that is what started my problems with Alice.  After I delivered her a week later I developed an infection with a high fever and was told I had to deliver Drake or risk becoming septic and ruining my chances of having other children.   It is sad that the mind and heart are often at such odds with the body.  After your loss, have you tried to find a balance between the three?  How do you do it?   

Monday, March 28, 2011

Infinite Space, Infinite Possibilities

The Second Law of Thermodynamics seems to support the idea that the universe is constantly expanding and moving toward chaos.  In that chaos exists infinite possibilities.  If our reality is the most ordered of these possibilities it makes sense that alternate, more disordered possibilities exist.  It makes sense that in the most disordered of these possibilities my children are alive.

I wake up in the early hours of the morning, the beginnings of the day peaking through the edges of my bedroom curtains, and I hear the soft cry of my Alice.  A cry letting her Mommy know she is hungry and wants to be held.  I get up and slide on my slippers and reach for my robe.  About that time a second cry pierces the quiet morning, Drake, always the second one to wake.  My husband rolls over and mutters that he loves me and I go into the nursery to greet my children. 

This all happens in my Wonderland, that infinite possibility that hasn't been proven but can't be disproven.  My Wonderland where Once Mothers and Once Children are just mothers and children.  Where Never to Be Mornings are everyday mornings and the probable disorder is a perfect chaos that has an infinite chance of being true.

The mornings are the most difficult for me.  My husband goes to work and the silence he leaves behind is all I can hear.  What times do you struggle the most?  How did you imagine it to be different?