As I've walked along this path to healing and wholeness, the steps taken vary in speed and stride. I pause often along the way to look back at where I've been. Earlier in my journey, the pausing sometimes led to an all out stop, a bit of despair and so on, but then I would bumble on. Now, I tend to pause because I remember something from my past or I read something in an old journal, or because of a dream I might have. I usually have to tuck the thoughts away until I have time to sort them out. What I have learned though, I think, is the difference between a pause that's created by me in my own mind and emotions and feelings and clouded hindsight, and a pause that is because, I think, the Holy Spirit is slowing me down or turning my gaze in some direction for some purpose.
I've written a lot here about my past before my husband came into my life. It wasn't all bad, it wasn't all good. A lot of the bad stuff does come up here because I think a lot of it frames the time when I had the abortion and the time afterward when I had zero self worth. The boys that came before my husband left a lot of damage and scars. But, outside of that, there are some good memories and things worth looking back on with a sly smile at my younger self. For a long time, I carried a box around, like a lot of people do, with love letters and photos and mementos of all these former "loves." When I met my husband and finally began to realize what love truly is - I had less need for attachments to the things of my past. So, I got rid of everything. Every note, every card, every letter (people actually wrote back then). I did keep a few things for nostalgia that I thought some grandchild in the far off future would think was awesome. I also kept a ring that my high school boyfriend, and Grace's father, gave to me for my 16th birthday. I'm not sure what my reason was for keeping it then. It remained out of sight and mind for longer than a decade until I began this journey and started to piece together the story of Grace, and then I remembered that I had kept it.
My father hated the ring. He thought it an improper gift for a boy to give a girl and I was not permitted to wear it if he would see it and certainly not on my left hand, ring finger! Funny - I almost forgot about that part - sometimes he did let me know in his own way how special he thought me to be.
Anyway, I remembered the ring because I knew that I had worn it the day of my abortion. I remember because I switched it from right hand to my left in the hope that maybe it would make me look as though I had been promised somehow and I wasn't just another knocked up 17 year old girl. I had a boyfriend and he had given me a ring!
I started looking for this ring over the last couple of months or so, never finding it. I wanted to really find it before the March for Life for whatever reason. To take Grace with me somehow? I didn't find it before the March. I found it this past weekend while cleaning out a bunch of stuff. It was in an old jewelry box with some other items I had held on to. There it was. A link to Grace. A physical link to that very day when she and I were one, the last day that she and I were one.
I know it doesn't look like much. Just a trinket from Piercing Pagoda circa 1986. A dainty little diamond cut ring that still fits - but just on my little finger. I tried it on and then put it back where I had found it. I'm not sure what to do with it, perhaps nothing at all. I started to think maybe it wasn't a good thing to have kept it. It's a link to some bad memories as well when the relationship with Grace's father went rocky and then ended. I texted the image to my hubby who was downstairs (texting is the best invention for having conversations outside of the earshot of children by the way).
He texted back, "Is it a good link?" Yes, I believe it is.
Whatever feelings and emotions that I had for Grace's father have long been forgotten or accepted and moved on from. It's more of a link to Grace, between the two of us. Sometimes I think about what may have happened had Grace's father known about her, but that wasn't my choice either. Whenever I think about Grace's father, I automatically think of my husband anyway, I guess because I'd like to think that I would still have met my husband and we'd still have this life, we'd just have Grace too. I'll never know the answer to any of those things.
I'm just going to allow the peace of having this one little grace-filled and graceful link to that day and space in time be what it is. Thank you Lord for revealing it to me in Your time. I'm so very grateful. Don't you love it when that happens?