I never intended for this to be a personal, confessional blog. I didn’t intend to come here to process. And even though this is a little bit of that, I really do think this is a story about beauty that makes sense to tell here. So here is the story of our oak tree, my daughter, and what it is to be fruitful.
We’ve lived in this brick house at a double dead end for four years, and our great big oak tree in the front yard has only produced acorns two years out of the four. It would make sense if it had been every other year, as if it were on it’s own little two year restorative cycle, but no. There have only been acorns the two years I was pregnant, three years apart – 2015 and 2018. We always made jokes about hormones in the air and it was fun and beautiful for the very trees to respond to the life growing inside me.
Except now in 2018 I’m not pregnant anymore.
On Halloween I started bleeding. And even though a trip to the ER that night resulted in a healthy looking ultrasound, the next day our little one went home. There is so much more in the story, but even now it is the swishing back and forth of the broad strokes that is almost more unbearable. I was through first trimester. Everything was looking lovely. Then I started bleeding – such a light pink at first I almost thought I imagined it. Then everything looked fine again. And then everything was over. The whiplash of those 24 hours is still staggering to me.
I feel sure in my heart that my baby was a little girl, and we named her Frances Nikolas after two favorite saints – St. Frances Cabrini and St. Nikolas of Tolentino.
I think I am still that oak tree through – the best of my fruits gone perhaps, not unlike the thousands of acorns that end up in the gutters and the storm drains, but producing them nonetheless. This pregnancy will not bear the fruit of a child as we so deeply desired, but instead it is bearing the fruits of reliance on God, deepness in our marriage, and empathy for the suffering. They are less fun fruits. They are harder to sit with, and harder to celebrate.
But life exists nonetheless. Life is real even when it simply flickers before it joins God.