Tonight was the mid-season premiere of Once Upon a Time. The show is in its third season, and is incredibly popular. If you don’t know anything about the show, the basic premise is a retelling of fairytales, entwined with modern day time, and the characters are all searching for their identities and their happy endings.
But if the show has an overarching theme, it is the ability of prevailing hope. Snow White, one of the show’s central characters, continually reminds the other characters of this.
In one episode, Emma Swan, Snow White’s daughter, asks her why she gave Henry, Emma’s son, a book of fairytales. This book is central to the plot, as it was what caused Henry to figure out that the stories were real, (the fairytale characters have been cursed and have no memory of their real identities), and to seek out his mother, Emma, who gave him up for adoption. This starts the whole sequence of events in the show, and Emma wants to know what made Snow White give him the book, if she didn’t fully know its significance.
“Look,” Snow White tells her, “I gave the book to him because I wanted Henry to have the most important thing anyone can have…hope. Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.”
This idea, that hope can prevail even in the midst of your current circumstances, is such a beautiful thought to me.
When I think about this idea, I’m reminded of the seasons. I’ve always said that January to March is probably the hardest time of year for me. You have already been through several months of winter, your skin is crying out for some Vitamin D, and you just don’t know if you can shovel the snow from your sidewalk one more time. You’ve forgotten that there used to be green leaves on the trees, or even leaves on them at all. You need color, warmth, some life in your life. Everywhere you look, everything is dull and dead.
I expect that in the next few years to come, this time of year will always remind me of the time that I lost Ellie. The death of nature will remind me of the death of the life inside of me that I had placed so much hope in. The cold will remind me of the way I wanted to draw into myself, the way my heart often hardened to the pain rather than feeling it.
Spring is coming. Today, when we stood outside our church, Josh said, “Hey! There are little green sprouts shooting up from the dirt!” I looked down, and there they were. They were tiny, but they were there, pushing up through the cold dirt and the dead leaves. Prevailing, even though there had been snow on the ground just days before.
The excitement that coursed through my veins at the sight of the little green sprouts made me giddy. Now that I type that sentence, it sounds funny-getting so excited over tiny plants.
But, I am convinced that the reason for the excitement is because of the promise that they bring. The promise of warmth, color, beauty. The promise of better things ahead. The promise of life.
The word promise can be a noun or a verb. In the verb form, it means to “give good grounds for expecting (a particular occurrence or situation)”. When you are expecting something, it means that you are lacking that thing presently.
In other words, we have to go through winter to get to spring. Without winter, spring would be no big deal. Green leaves would always be on the trees, sunshine would always be warming our skin, and frankly, they wouldn’t be all that special.
There would be no room for hope, no room for expectation.
This season, this winter that I am going through, has been the hardest thing I have ever experienced. However, the harshness, the difficulty of this season has given me an expectation, a hope, for the next. I know that the next time I am pregnant, of course there will be some anxiety, but you better believe I will be thankful for each day that I am still pregnant. I know what the winter feels like, and the spring will continually be a miracle for me.
In a few weeks, we will physically be in the clear to try to conceive again. Right after the miscarriage, while I was still dealing with physical pain and bleeding, I said to Josh countless times, “I just want this to be over. I’m so ready to be able to move forward.” I was emotionally ready, but my body was not. I have had to trudge through the deep snow and ice, but the thought of green pastures ahead kept me going.
My body is now moving forward, but a few days ago, for the first time, I had fears and doubts about moving ahead. What if it happens again? The thought of the possibility of emotional and physical pain like I had just experienced took over me for a second. I forgot about the promise; I forgot about hope. The possibility of a longer winter-losing another child and a longer time without one in my arms-felt like too much to bear.
Even so, I believe that spring is coming. Those little green sprouts remind me that the Lord has promised me. I believe that one day, soon, I will be blessed with another life in my womb and eventually a baby in my arms.
I believe in my happy ending.