In early 2015, our third son Henry was born.
Shortly after his arrival, our midwife pick up a slight irregularity in his heartbeat, and after taking him to see a pediatrician and a specialist, it was determined that he would need to be admitted to hospital for a procedure to repair the issue.
All this within the first 5 months of his life.
The procedure went well, although he did develop a blood clot that caused us to stay at the hospital for longer than anticipated, and required regular needles and much more follow up than we initially thought.
But, he was fine and healthy, and continues to grow into a strong young boy.
While this was all going on, I had purchased Gungor’s One Wild Life season pass, giving me access to a trio of new albums released roughly within a year.
The first album featured a song called ‘Light’ that resonated with us very deeply with respect to Henry.
Your eyes, they opened
And love was spoken
The tears came tumbling down
And the blind gained sight
As we met our light
Oh the joy and fight
The gift of life
Cut to last March, when Lauren and I went to see Lisa and Michael play an acoustic show in Toronto, a Gungor event that included some Q&A.
Having heard on the Liturgist Conversations podcast that they were both working on books, I took the chance to ask what they were about and when we could get our hands on them.
Michael responded briefly about his work, then gave Lisa the floor. She talked about their journey together, and Amalie and Lucie, and how her book would revolve around the birth of the latter.
Lucie, as we learned, was born with Down syndrome and heart complications, and her name means light.
Lisa’s response to my question, then, was an introduction to the very song that meant so much to Lauren and I, and I knew then that I needed to read her book asap.
All the more when, two months later, we learned that Lauren had been diagnosed with breast cancer, further shaking our foundation and putting life in a whole new, flickering light.
Sure enough, Lisa’s book more than lived up to expectations as one of the best memoirs I’ve read in a long time.
In it she writes about her experience growing up in the church, her relationship with Michael, their start as a band, and of course their marriage, their doubts and unbelief, gains and losses, and their daughters, both of whom helped put everything else in perspective in their own unique ways.
Lisa and Michael’s story is much different than ours, beginning with the fact they’re Grammy-nominated musicians who now live in Los Angeles and hang out with people we can only admire and respect from afar.
But it’s also not that much different, having been raised religious and in a culture of purity before marriage, struggling to learn what it means to be a husband and a wife as well as parents, and suffering through loss and trial along the way.
At the end of the day, it’s important for someone to acknowledge that the effects of trauma last far beyond the event itself, and it’s good to be reminded that we’re not alone; Lisa wonderfully expresses both in meaningful ways in this book.
I wanted to add a quote to this review, but I didn’t even mark the book up with pencil as I usually do because the whole thing is entirely underline worthy.
All this to say – please pick up this book, listen to Gungor and support their music, and be thankful that Lisa was willing to let us into her story in this way.
Like this song, it’s a gift.