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! ***