Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Meaning of Finch...

When I returned to Ireland in January I was in a state of desperation and clutching at anything to fix my marriage. I'd made the 25 hour journey back with Molly as my home had become 'emotionally unsafe'. I had spent two weeks sitting next to a man who couldn't decide wether to discard me like an old pair of socks or cling to me and beg me to save him from himself. I was constantly looking at him sideways and asking him if he was ok, literally motioning a thumbs up signal with a questioning look! What I was really asking was 'right now, in this second, am I in or out? Am I a keeper or not?'.

When I arrived in Ireland I begged my family and friends not to hate him, I pleaded with them to see that he was 'not himself' that he was ill and needed help. I was contacting my doctor and inquiring about how to have him admitted for psychiatric care. I frantically text messaged friends and family with prayer requests and organised a day of fasting on behalf of my marriage. I met with his closest and oldest friends and spilled out every detail of our marriage in the hope that they could help somehow. It actually resulted in one particular guy flying over to spend a week with him. A week where we all sat waiting to hear a positive sign that things were improving. But there was nothing positive to report. The more he talked, the more resolute he became.

After a month I had clutched at all my straws and exhausted every last effort. I was deflated and bereft of hope.


What could that word mean to me now? I thought i'd been so desperately hoping that whole time, doing all I could, anything at all, to repair things.

But I have learnt and am continually learning that hope is not an action, not a task that I can execute. It is not a phonecall, an email, a late night vigil at old make-out points to offer up some sort of sacrifice. And hope, does not stick to an agenda.

Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words
and never stops at all....

I had run out of all ideas and had no words left. But there was still a tune to be sung. Not by me, but by the little bird in my soul. In february I had a scan and learnt that the child living inside me was to be a son. That afternoon was particularly traumatic, a story for another time perhaps. A few days later I found myself wandering through Belfast seeking out the perfect little bird necklace. I wanted something to carry around to remind me of the Emily Dickinson poem which had became my personal mantra.

Something I could look at and visualise the little bird who kept on singing even when I didn't know what to hope for anymore, but whose tune kept me getting out of bed every day, kept me eating, kept me alive.

I was looking at a pendant of a little swallow in flight when It suddenly dawned on me. The name we had chosen if Molly was to be a boy was Finch. The name had been drawn from To Kill a Mocking Bird's protagonist, the most admirable Atticus Finch. A noble man fighting against the odds for justice. That afternoon as I stood looking at the depiction of a bird in flight I felt so struck by the avian significance of the name Finch.

Finch - the little bird, living within me, my hope. I no longer needed a necklace. I had the approaching due date instead. Hope was growing inside me and someday I would give birth to my hope.

And I did....
He will forever be a reminder to me that life does not follow an agenda and sometimes we don't even know what to hope for. But we are stronger than we know we are and there is beauty around the corner we could not have dreamt of.

Sometimes in the form of snuggly, sleepy, magical, newborns.

Thank you Mr Finch.

*** The top picture is a beautiful painting my wonderful friends in Canada had commissioned for me when I told them of the significance behind my chosen name! so beautiful! ***


Maddy said...

That is beautiful, stunning, so sad and yet hopeful all at the same time. He is gorgeous. I am praying for you all when you come into my mind. Finch is a perfect name, strong and full of hope. May you be immensely blessed with the increase to your family. May you find peace and strength through this time, and joy in this most precious and valuable gift that was beyond the odds that was given to you. Much love. Maddy x

Isdanish said...

Oh, that's such a touching story. I think you have a way with words. Maybe you should write a book someday?

Anyway, congratulations on your little bundle! He is precious.

Manda said...

Beautiful. Just a beautiful and wonderful reminder that life forges ahead even when we don't want it to. I'm so glad you have your sweet boy!! Here's to healing and a new chapter in your life. Blessings on you Alli!

thoughts of a person on a journey said...

blessings and healing to you and your family... awesome way with words

thanks for the snapshot will be praying still....

Anonymous said...

alli i followed ur amazing birth story of molly and had no idea what was happening in ur life since then. as u know babies bring tough days but none that aren't worth it! my daughter is the same age as molly (myah) and i now too have a son (noah). it may not be how u planned things but ur life is an inspiration and ray of hope to those of us who things aren't quite working out for. molly is gorgeous and finch is a true blessing. u r all in my prayers x

Lara said...

Beautiful, beautiful girl! In such a short time, the lessons you've learned on your journey are so apparent. I don't even know you, but I think of you often and wish you all the best w/your little family. I love Atticus Finch; if this new little guy is at all like his mama, I'm pretty sure he'll live up to his name.

dana said...


anabella said...

this is such a beautiful and inspiring story. that man was definitely out of his mind to have let go of such a magnificent person.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post.

I've wanted to post these song lyrics for you and I think this is a perfect opportunity. Her name is Sarah Slean and she is a Canadian singer/songwriter.


Hopeful Hearts:

so we take the path not taken
down into the fields of war
sword alone, the shield forsaken
this the right we're fighting for

hopeful hearts are moving targets
I don't know how I survive
we go out like birthday candles
then like suns we rise, we rise...

o struggle is right
what's black is white
the moment you fall you fly
give us your dead
they live again in
our hopeful hearts

fiends and devils in the garden
take their fill and leave me scarred
but I still have my secret weapon
this my brave and hopeful heart

o struggle is right
what's black is white
tThe moment you fall you'll fly
give us your dead
they live again in
they live again
o struggle is right
what's black is white
the moment you fall you'll fly
give us your dead
they live again in
our hopeful hearts

marge said...

I love this. And you. ;) what a beautiful story you will get to share with him.

Anonymous said...

Yo are lovely and amazing. A person who can show their true colors and remain hopeful under extraordinary circumstances has so much to offer the world. Everything you say resonates with me. I've been there with moments of desperation. Healing is not a moment; its a process.

Anonymous said...

Oh Alli that is beautiful. I really think you should be an author. You have such a way with words. Some of your postings bring tears to my eyes. Isn't it funny that you live in the same neighborhood as someone and think all is well. I guess the saying is true, you never do know what goes on behind closed doors. Be safe, love your babies and someday someone may wake up and realize what a wonderful life he is missing out on.

Anonymous said...

Stunningly written, so moving love the 3 of you so much and very proud to still be able to say you are my sister! x

Eyeliah said...

Great writing here, you express yourself so well. It’s such the perfect name.

cassee01 said...

he is beautiful... congratulations and glad everything went okay... his dad is crazy for leaving

VonaRosa said...

Congratulations! He's gorgeous and the name is perfect! Glad he's finally here. Wishing you all the best :D

Eva Marie said...

what a beautiful baby - and love the meaning behind the name!

Sarah said...

You might also like to know that in Italian paintings, the Christ child is shown holding a finch. There is a legend that says the finch came too close to the crown of thorns, looking for a thistle to eat, but instead got a bit of the blood of Christ on his face. Also, because the finch eats from thorny bushes, it's associated with the Passion. It's a perfect name for him.