The Expiration Date

As I was casually walking down the bread isle at the grocery store this week, I had a phenomenal moment that I hope I never forget.

I usually enjoy shopping for groceries, unless it’s near a holiday or the forecast is threatening a snow-dusting.  I work best with a list and a full tummy, but who doesn’t?  I had neither with me on this trip.  As my mind was racing to try to come up with a few meals on the fly, and the ingredients to make up those said meals, I came to the bread isle.  My thought process was a little choppy.  The Mr. will just have to have some PB&J’s this week for lunch.  What did I have for lunch?  Nothing.  No wonder I’m so hungry.  Oooh, those cookies look glorious.  Speaking of glorious, I need some clothes for family pictures.  We’re going out of town so I don’t need that many groceries.  Groceries?….oh, yeah.  Bread.  

So I grabbed a loaf and checked the expiration date.  January 12th.  I did a double take.  That’s a good date for bread; surely we will have time to finish the entire loaf before it goes bad.  I had to repeat it in my mind a few times.  January 12th.  The 12th?  Oh, the 12th!   And that was what prompted my Moment, and I suddenly wanted to melt into a puddle on the floor.  How can anyone have such a flood of different emotions and then a sudden epiphany in a matter of seconds?  On. the. bread. isle.

I didn’t know whether I wanted to be sad and feel sorry for myself, or rejoice and be proud of how far I had come since that date, only three years earlier.  January 12, 2009.  The day that we said good bye to our sweet baby Brock. My nieces insisted that we call him Broccoli.  If I let myself, I can still close my eyes and imagine everything about that day.  The smells, the sounds, the pain.

In that quick moment of revelation, I chose to rejoice.  The beginning of January has been difficult for the past several years, for obvious reasons, and I am always anticipating the arrival of the anniversaries.  However, I was surprised when this year it didn’t sting as bad.  While I held my loaf of whole wheat bread, and my tummy was rumbling I stopped to praise God.  I was moved to tears, literally, at the thought of how-in His timing-He has truly eased my pain.

I know this doesn’t mean that the pain will ever completely go away, or that I will never have a bad day, but I am a stronger person because of this journey.  My heart still longs for the day that I can hold our baby, but I don’t think about it every minute of everyday now.  I am thankful for what I have learned, how I have grown, and for how far I have come in the last three years.

I chose to rejoice.

{Here are a few of my thoughts about that day from April 2009}

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