How to Build an Altar

Today’s post is published over at The Glorious Table. It is the story of how I said goodbye to one stage of life by building a “mental and emotional altar.” This is a wonderful practice that can help us grieve, honor, and say goodbye when God moves us to a new stage of life. See below for a preview or link to the full post here.

Six years ago, I made a mistake. I was most of the way through my second pregnancy when things went a little haywire with my blood pressure. The doctor gave me a day or two to see if we could get things under control, but when I went back for a check-up, he walked into my room with the numbers in hand and said, “You are going to have a baby today.”

At that point, I was at a hospital almost an hour away from home. Apparently hoping for the best, I had brought nothing, packed nothing. When I said, “OK, I’ll just run home and get my things” the answer was a firm no. This sweet babe was going to arrive in the next couple of hours, and there was no time for dilly-dallying to get my cute post-labor robe.

Sensing the intensity of the situation, I called my husband, my mother, and drove as quickly as I could from the clinic to the adjoining hospital parking lot. I heaved my very pregnant self out of the car, hustled to labor and delivery, and was settled in my room lickety-split. As directed, my beautiful daughter arrived later that same day. Perfect. Healthy.

But a sadness I wasn’t expecting hit me in the coming days.

How to Build an Altar

This wasn’t postpartum sadness (although I’ve done that dance, too). This was something altogether different. This was regret. Regret that I hadn’t paused. Regret that I hadn’t taken a moment with her when it was “just us” to say, “Here we go, baby girl, I’ve loved our time together.” Regret that I had hustled through that time that needed to be honored. It took me a long, long time to get over that hustle.

Fast forward to this summer, and I had a chance to learn from that mistake. Because this summer was the summer when we finally sold our crib in the middle of a hectic move. We had used that crib for both of our babies. It had seen countless firsts and sleepless nights. We had experienced so many beautiful moments, and, as mentioned, difficult postpartum days. I had an attachment to that crib, as so many parents do to their babies’ belongings, and it was about to leave my presence forever.

So, unlike six years before, this time I sensed that I should stop. In a sacred moment, with my family members packing boxes inside the house, I stood in the hot garage, put my hand on that crib, and created a mental and emotional “altar.” And—I kid you not—it made all the difference in the world.

To finish the full post link here.

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