There’s a pain, a numbness, a vacancy left inside one who is molested. It doesn’t matter so much the degree to misuse or abuse… The hole presses in with the smallest infraction. There’s a shame that comes with the wounds made then that make the scar now that much more noticeable – a guilt that […]
In Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts” this is her admission, her announcement, her proclamation. Life is loss… when, what, who will you lose? It’s not a matter of will I lose, but solely when will I lose.
“The rain falls on the just and the unjust.”
This is true.
Only, when the rain falls on the unjust, we don’t feel it as much. It perhaps doesn’t look or feel like rain as much as karma. But, when the rain falls on the just, the delightful, beautiful souls that flavor life with salt and illuminate it with light… the clouds are heavy and the rain beats hard.
October has been a grieving month for me for 12 years. I have missed and mourned one precious soul that inspired and motivated me to live intentionally and deeply the love of Christ. Her death marked a change in me. Her funeral served as a pep rally for the rest of my life. The void Aimee left demanded my fulfillment, and I would never be the same. Really. I remember leaving that memorial service, packed out with lives touched by her gentle and sometimes awkwardly large hands, knowing that the world had lost a powerful presence.
I went home, picked my baby up out of her crib, and cradled her to my chest and cried. I had no answers. I felt just as fragile and dependent before God as the child I held. In some way I wanted to physically attend to her the way I needed Daddy God to spiritually attend to me. And as I rocked her, as I poured out my tears before a God that promised to capture each one, I watched the rain.
There is no rain today, but the clouds are grey.
Yesterday marked the death of another distinguished light, Sister Gussie.
Cancer was her nemesis. Actually, that’s just the name for the battle of her final foe. To say that it overtook her is to declare her non-victorious, and I refuse to say that about my friend. Even as I close my eyes, I can hear her dear raspy voice – praying for me, encouraging me, speaking to my heart the lessons her older heart had learned so well.
She taught me that weakness isn’t failure. She taught me that wrestling with depression isn’t being unfaithful to God. She taught me that whatever the season – be it stay-at-home mom of nursers and ankle-biters to a full-fledged minister traveling and pouring out more of yourself than you feel you can give – there is worth in it all. She lived it out faithfully – the silent and stalwart soul mate of a man that she loved unashamedly and sacrificially.
In death, we have two choices, we can grieve and mourn these losses and relegate them to a memory, or we can see the void and commit to be a part of the legacy of living. We can see the rain as the lack of sunshine, or we can see it as the conditions that precede any rainbow. And, some days we might feel both… and that’s okay. Sister Gussie taught me that, too.
Today I mourn. I allow my soul the chance to long for more time, more conversations, and more lessons that I cannot have. Again, my tears resemble rain, and I trust my Father is collecting them. My world is missing these two bright lights. But when the clouds of grief clear, my celebration of them will be to continue…to shine brighter, to love deeper, and to give more generously to make up for the voids that they have left behind.
That word stings whether you are unable to have one or unable to have more. There is something that feels unnatural about that. Barren. You picture cracked dirt and lifeless ground. And it resembles what it feels like – a curse.
I was the girl who dreamed big! Big aspirations, big plans, big families! I would draw diagrams of houses, fully decked out with four nurseries. I mean, I was gonna have at least 2 girls and 2 boys – Interspersed, of course, so each girl could have an older brother… Like I never had. And that was exactly the image that popped into my mind when my doctor asked me, “Were you planning to have any more babies?” I remember answering, “Well, if you asked me over the den of loud music at a social gathering I might have said no, but your asking me about ever, and I’m not ready to commit to that.” The fact was, as horrible as being pregnant had been on my body, We were actually considering trying for that boy we’d never had… Now would never have.
In the end, it was necessary. It boiled down to life and death. Assuredly, if I had gotten pregnant, I would have lost the baby and possibly my life. I made the right choice. Everyone agreed. But I hated it.
I have moments where I still deeply grieve. The enemy taunts me with accusations and fantasies, but the truth is I can’t have any more. It hurts. Please don’t get me wrong! I cherish my girls! I’m blessed to have them, and I thank Him daily. I love them more than life, but I can’t help but feel someone might be missing.
“You can always adopt.”
I get that a lot. And I could, if we saved up the money, but it’s not the same. Altruistic and beautiful, no doubt. Many babies need families and there are many hearts that need love. But, it’s not the same.
“Have you considered fostering.”
No. I know my limitations and most of all my too easily smitten heart. One kid taken back would devastate me. Multiple instances like that would have me committed. Not to mention the wear and tear on my girls affections. Madeline especially, she was marked with a heart like her mom.
Then, there are the full-faithed that offer, “God could grow you another uterus, if He wanted to.” He could. But that’s a little extreme, not to mention miraculous… The kind of miracle that gets an article in the Enquirer. Not the kind of headlines I wanna make. Not me.
I recently read that grief has no rules. It doesn’t. It can hit me at anytime… Sometimes sucker punches me in the gut in the diaper aisle. Or when I hold a sweet smelling newborn in my arms. Or when I see a woman caress her stomach and send her gift an unspoken secret from the heart.
So I grieve. With many millions of women… In different extremes… But like me – barren nonetheless. It can’t be fixed, but I have come to accept it. Acceptance doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. I accept my condition, and I believe that God is good. I know He collects these tears, even if others might see them as selfish, and He assures me He will restore what I have lost… And I even have moments where I can see the blessing in the curse.