Finding balance in a chaotic world

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December 2017
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With Arms Wide Open

Open ArmsI’m sure most of you are familiar with the song “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed. Around 2000 – 2002 it played very regularly on the radio, many times each day. I know this because this song became my personal nemesis, my albatross if you will. In case you don’t remember the song, it is all about a man who learns that he is going to be a father. The man in the song is thinking about all the things he will teach his child and how his life as a man has now changed. Lyrically, it was well written and conveyed a significant emotional impact.


So why is this song my nemesis? My wife becomes pregnant and we are going to be first-time parents. I remember standing in the garage, just getting home from work as she pulls up after coming back from the doctor. She tells me the news and we both just kind of stand there not knowing exactly how to respond. We are basically stunned into silence. The funny part is that this is not a surprise in the least. We’d been trying for quite a while to become pregnant, but now the impact of what we have done is sinking in.


So our minds wrap around the thought that we’re going to be parents and life goes on. This song starts to get heavy airplay and I start to identify with the singer. Then a month or two down the road, we lose the baby. That was a very heart wrenching time for us. Emotionally we were very disappointed and vulnerable. We had not told anyone we were pregnant at the time so we basically suffered alone together. And of course, there was Creed playing ten times a day on the radio. Each time I heard the song, I’d get a ping of sadness.


About six months later, we become pregnant again. We are now cautiously optimistic and once again being the plans on being parents. And “Arms Wide Open” is still on the radio. It is a bittersweet song to me now, but it is still there. Again before the third month, we lost the baby. This time is even more heart breaking because now Amy has to go through a minor surgical procedure since the baby made it a little farther this time. Again we were devastated and wondered if we should even bother to try again. Why open ourselves up to this kind of hurt again? Oh yeah, and that song still plays ten times a day. It is now mocking me and showing me what I cannot have.


The one good thing that came out of the last miscarriage was the fact that our doctor thought that Amy was not producing enough of a particular hormone and that was the root cause of our problems. If we wanted to try again, she could get a prescription and hopefully that would take care of the problem. We talked with our pastor, who was fantastic about listening to us and offering advice and we decided to try again.


So off we go again on the getting pregnant train. All the while that stupid song is still popular on the radio and causing me no end of grief each time I hear it. We get pregnant again and this time we give birth to a beautiful baby girl, Hope. All the heartache, all the prayers, all the worry and concern, all the hiding the information from family and friends so we could grieve privately, suddenly became worth it in our little pink bundle of joy. And that song was amazingly still being played on the radio.

So in the end when I hear that song, it is with a mixture of regret, disappointment, and joy. Basically all of the emotions I felt each time I heard the song. It’s not like the song was something that got me through a hard time, or that it was something that made switch the radio off each time I heard it, it was more like a mile marker in a turbulent time in my life. As a mile marker it also helps me to remember the emotions I felt during those times and to hopefully grow stronger or more compassionate because of it.


So think back on important points of your life and think about what songs are deeply associated with them. Use those as mile markers in your life and see how far you have progressed since then. You may need to make some adjustments in your life or you may realize how much more balanced you are now. Just please don’t play “With Arms Wide Open” around me. It is too draining.