Monday, August 12, 2013


Yesterday Sean tried to introduce a little diversity into Walter's recent video viewing (since he's been sick, an endless loop of The Muppets, Sesame Street you tube clips, and covers of favorite Woody Guthrie songs) by breaking out our Fraggle Rock collection.  He chose season 2, disc 1 (season 2 being the best season, in our opinion.)

It's a good choice, but it's a choice we made once before, and when the episode started I was immediately transported back three years ago, the last time we turned to fraggles for distraction during a difficult time.  I was off from work, I spent my days resting with my feet up, I took frequent baths, all as I'm doing now.  But three years ago I wasn't on bedrest, I was having a miscarriage--slowly losing our first pregnancy over the course of a very long, very sad week.  

The first episode on season 2, disc 1 is an episode about Wembley Fraggle becoming a parent.  The episode starts with Wembley feeling depressed, feeling like his life lacks meaning and purpose. Someone (Boober, I think?) makes the comment that meaning doesn't just fall from the sky.  Suddenly, a large object drops from the sky into the fraggle pond. The fraggles all panic, except Wembley, who recognizes the giant egg as "a house for babies."  The fraggles, including his friends, all think Wembley is crazy.  He is defiant, and tells them he's going to do what you do with eggs: sit on it.  The fraggles think this is hilarious, and even his friends can't help but laugh at Wembley's expense.

Wembley sticks to his guns, devoting himself to the task of caring for the egg and the tree creature inside. He talks to the baby and sings the baby a lullaby.  Early the next morning, the egg hatches.  The baby tree creature emerges and immediately identifies Wembley as "Mama!"

Being a Mama is not easy, Wembley soon finds.  He can't figure out what to feed his baby.  His friends have gone from not believing Wembley to being fairly annoyed with him and the baby, who is larger than a full-grown fraggle and very, very needy.  The baby gets depressed (much like Wembley at the beginning of the episode) and Wembley realizes that tree creatures want to fly, so the fraggles all come together and sing a song as a flying lesson.  But they can't teach the baby to fly, and Wembley realizes his baby needs to be with other tree creatures.  It's a very hard decision and Wembley has to be prevented from going with the baby, but ultimately the baby is returned to its tree creature parents, who have been mourning their loss and are overjoyed to be reunited with their baby.  Now Wembley is mourning, until he sees his baby soaring, joyfully flying and shouting "Fly! Fly!"  Wembley is still sad, but happy, too. 

Yeah, it's pretty intense.  Too intense for Walter, it turns out, although I think he was overwhelmed less by the emotional content and more by the really annoying, high-pitched crying noises the baby tree creature makes (Walter ... we are not going to be able to turn off your baby sister and turn her crying into Woody Guthrie's "Take you riding in my car, car" ... I'm sorry.)

Too intense, for me, too. "I can skip this one," Sean said, in 2010 and in 2013.  "No, it's OK," I said three years ago and this weekend.  And yesterday I added, "We've come so far."

Most pastors really only have a handful of sermons that they give over and over again with slightly different words and nuances.  One of my sermons is about idolatry, and how you can come face to face with what you've put in the place of God in your life by asking yourself "What am I most afraid of losing?"  My answer to that question is unequivocal: my family. And you might think, "Well, that's not so bad.  If her biggest problem is that she loves her family too much ... big deal." But no human relationship, nothing on earth, can bear the weight and burden of being made into a god.  It's not fair to make your spouse or your child THE source of meaning, purpose, and hope in your life.  Like Wembley, you will find yourself weeping as you watch them fly away, your meaning taken from you by the inevitables of growing up, of distance, of time, of death. 

But ... and here's something I didn't realize until yesterday and need to add to my sermon ... the episode ends with hope.  Wembley has lost his baby, but he hasn't lost his meaning, and he hasn't lost the meaning and the joy he gained from his time as a Mama.  We shouldn't make our families (biological, adopted, appended, chosen, immediate, extended, ecclesial, etc.) into our god, but our families do give us a glimpse of God, a lived experience of the meaning, purpose and love that come from God.  
Edison-Albright family picture, 2006
Today, Sean and I are celebrating our seven year wedding anniversary.  I use the term "celebrating" rather loosely since we're not, like, going out for fancy dinner or on a romantic date or something like that.  We're even a little skittish about kissing each other, since Sean seems to have picked up Walter's cold.  Between Sean caring for me and Walter and the dog and the house and trying to catch up on some of the time he missed from work, it seems unlikely that this evening will bring any sort of romantic respite for either of us.  And pretty unlikely in the near future, too, as we're kind of, you know, expecting a baby any minute now but if not any minute then certainly next week, Wednesday.

And yet, we are celebrating, and it is romantic.  Here we are, right on the cusp of a new adventure in family life, hanging onto the edge of that cusp like our lives depend on it.  When I kissed Sean this morning I felt the thrill not only of living dangerously with germs, but of that spark, that attraction, that love that brought us together in the first place and keeps bringing us together again and again. 

I'm not going to say that Sean gives my life meaning. That's an awful lot of pressure to put on a guy, even a guy as wonderful as Sean. But I will say that, through Sean, I've gotten to experience a meaning and a love much bigger and greater than just us two.  We've come so far since the day we met in 1999, from our first kisses in 2002, from our wedding in 2006, from the miscarriage in 2010, from Walter's birth in 2011 ... from yesterday, really.  I'm excited to keep going, to jump off this cusp and onto the next, to find new ways of making meaning together.

Happy anniversary to us, novelgazer.  I'm so glad I get to fly with you. 
Edison-Albright family picture, 2013

1 comment:

3d8th said...

Happy anniversary! To quote Les Miserables: "to love another person is to see the face of God"

And that includes Sean, Walter, Sally, Bean and everyone else who flies along with you.

Totally unrelated but the word I had to enter for this post was "acemore"