I have been sitting down to write this and walking away with it incomplete for a few days now. I think I am finally ready to open a window to the grief. Even in my training as a therapist and working with a couple clients who were struggling with bereavement issues of their own, truly nothing equips you to deal with your own tragedy until it mows you down and leaves you breathless. I came across a poem today that I wrote shortly after Haydn was born and somehow it spoke to exactly where I am today.
I need to be reminded
of who You are
of opened hands choosing Your will
the same hands waiting to cradle me still.
Reminded that today is not forever
and that yesterday is not tomorrow.
Reminded that safety is only an illusion
and fear isn't worth the hope that I'm loosing.
Reminded of Your love that is
shiftless and strong.
I cannot change it, deserve it,
only receive it and give it.
I can't seem to forget the fleeting worries of today
which only make Eternity seem further away.
I need to be reminded that the things I forget
are more true and lasting than the things with me yet.
As I have struggled with my grief, I have felt the prayers of many carry me to the Throne and God has been there. It has given me the strength and the courage to resolve to give up any pretense of holiness and just tell Jesus the truth - that this is terrible, that I'm so disappointed God didn't spare me from this, and I'm so deeply sad for my family. I resolved to ask God the impossible questions and wait for Him to meet me there - even if it isn't to provide me with the answers my heart seeks - I know He will meet me in that place of pain and hurt and be with me. Over the last week I have experienced peace, peace of letting go, really knowing in my heart of hearts that my life is not my own and as much as I strive and try to control things - it will only end in fatigue and frustration.
I have struggled with being real, before others and before God. So many people have been overwhelmingly kind to me during these difficult days, and while well intentioned, some have given me the distinct impression that what they really want is just for me to be okay. But, nothing about loosing two babies in the same year is okay. I heard a story recently about a man who suffered from Cerebral Palsy and he talked about what a burden he carried trying to assure and affirm others who visited him in the hospital and what a rare gift it is to have someone who won't try to cheer you up or make you feel better. I sense that feeling of needing to rush to some state of healing so that others won't worry or so I can appear to be put together again. I think especially as Christians we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to respond "rightly" and move to a place of perfect peace, open hands, and smiling lips that sing praises. As if somehow holiness is an attainable virtue based on personal performance.
Honestly, I never imagined this would be my 'lot' and it seems the worldly notion of getting what you deserve is planted somewhere in my being. It is difficult for me to accept this 'lot' and release responsibility - I did not earn or deserve it and I cannot perform or deserve my way out of it. Being good, acting holy, responding 'rightly', working hard, and loving others will not bring my babies back or protect me from another tragedy. However, I am learning that opening my heart - wounds and all - and acting justly, loving mercy, being thankful - it may just prepare me to weather the storm, and embrace each day without squandering the opportunity to live fully where ever I am. Whether I am rejoicing in the blessing, grieving in the loss - somehow, by the grace of God, there is goodness, reasons to be thankful, and joy that overcomes deepest sorrows.
I can't say I would ever choose the brokenness, the pain that shatters hearts into a thousand pieces. But, I see the beauty, even now I see the beauty of a Deliverer who knows the deepest darkness, the greatest suffering, the most immense fear... and He will not withdraw his hand - He will not forsake His beloved. That is the confidence we have, those who walk the path of brokenness. And once you have been down this road and found joy, found hope, found peace - there is truly nothing to fear - because you know that even if you have to descend to the deepest darkness, He will find you there and He will be good.
I feel hope rising in my heart again. Hope that I will reap a harvest of goodness, even if it isn't what I asked for. "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14. So, I'm still here, my heart still broken, but I resolve to hold on to Jesus and persevere until there is a harvest of blessing. Like Jacob wrestling with God, but refusing to let go - I grieve, but I also wait with expectation, believing God is bringing beauty from the ashes.