The gleaming, golden orb pulsates with energy. I cradle this bright globe in the space between my outstretched hands. Eyes closed, I effortlessly roll and recede, left and right; I am a clear, sparkling wave on a peaceful shore. I raise my orb overhead; it radiates in purity. I focus on my cool, cupped palms, …
Twenty years ago, in an effort to evade an impending nervous breakdown, I left my four children in the care of their dad, and went to Florida for a month to simply be still and know God. It was perhaps the bravest and best thing I’ve ever done.
After significant accounting, historical research, graveyard excavation and gnawing introspection, I have come to a decision that has shoved my world off its axis, and is still rattling my bones.
I am worth $6.99.
This discovery was prompted (in all its complicated monstrosity) by a punnet of raspberries. A “punnet” is the packaging size of fresh raspberries here in Australia – a fragile, tiny plastic clamshell to carry your hairy rubies home… if you pay about $6 for the ransom privilege. The punnet weighs about 125 grams (a quarter pound), so it’s not a whole lot of bang for your bucks, so the cost:benefit ratio has always been hugely ridiculous… until a couple of weeks ago.
Previously, every time I saw them I’d stop, look at their plumpness, (stealthily suck in the scent of them) and – weighing up a running tally of and scrolling logarithm of if/then/else/and/therefore, continue past to more sensible fare. But that particular week, raspberries were on special, and their siren call was spectacular. So I bought a punnet, babied it through the cartons of milk and bags of potatoes required for the feeding of giants, into the car then ate every single one before I got home 10 minutes later.
Home, where I had raspberry breath and guilt thick around my shoulders. What on earth was going on? History, that’s what.
Today’s guest post is from Ana Blake. Ana majored in humanities with a minor in English literature from BYU. She wouldn’t mind being a free-lance writer but up to this point hasn’t published anything. (She does have almost thirty full-sized written journals and enjoys writing the annual family Christmas letter, though.) She and her husband are the parents of nine children.
After my husband and I were married, whenever the subject of family size came up, I always joked, “We’ll go to five and then take it one at a time.” (I was banking on inheriting the same high fertility that my mother and grandmothers had experienced.) What was originally a joke quickly became our reality, until I found myself fairly fresh from childbirth on my sixteenth wedding anniversary, surrounded by numberless concourses of posterity all debating about whether the next baby would be a boy or a girl. (Okay. I exaggerate. It was six days before my anniversary and there were only nine of them and only the six oldest were talking about it, but I swear the rest is true and they really were were discussing the gender of number ten.) I just rolled my eyes as far to the back of my head as I could and tried to ignore them.
When our first child was born, I had little idea of the expenses of parenthood. I knew that children had to be fed and clothed and that you had to pay the medical bills to get them here, but beyond that it was all somewhat fuzzy in my head. Thankfully, as the years have gone by we have been blessed and have always had sufficient for our needs, as well as many of our wants. I’ve worked hard, though—learning to cook from scratch and yardsaling anything from clothes to furniture to toys. And along the way I’ve learned to rely on the Lord. Or at least I thought I had.
For some time now, I’ve known that change is coming. I’ve been told in prayer, in conference talks, in myriad different ways that life is going to change, yet – once again – I was standing without any defining details or factual flares to light my path. Then, in the course of a week, the Lord …
Pushing my youngest on the swing then stepping back, I dialed my sister’s telephone number and stared up to the sky. Prayer welled up inside of me and the hope of a blessing upon this call was summoned silently. I was scared to tell her, not that she would begrudge me my news, not that she would be angry; I was scared to say what I was because of what she wanted to be. It was just awkward: I was two months pregnant and she was not.
When she answered her breathless hello, I burst into tears.
“What?” she was worried.
I told her in words that cracked apart that I was pregnant—but my tears were not tethered to this statement and what spilled out of my heart was a sudden revelation that I was hard pressed to say aloud because it seemed more miracle than reality, given her history, her infertility, her age.