I was thrilled to see your name in my inbox, but it saddened me to learn your news. The more I hear updates from friends lately, the more I wonder if we are coming to an age where things begin to fall apart.
This past May, I felt so depressed. Perhaps it was the rain. Or perhaps it was the grief I felt while reflecting on all of the brokenness around me.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your grandfather. And for your uncle’s passing.
I’m sorry to hear about your parents’ continued struggle through cancer treatment
I’m glad you can be with your parents separately even as they finalize their divorce.
I was shocked to learn about your husband’s cancer diagnosis.
I am so sorry to hear about your divorce, and the worries you have about how it will affect your children.
I cried out to God to bless you with a child when you battled infertility.
My heart ached when you lost your baby.
Later, I didn’t expect that your twins would be born premature when their father was in jail.
Or that when you finally had your baby that you would have to watch him suffer through illness after illness.
Or that he would need emergency surgery after the accident.
Or that when you finally adopted your child you would learn that she needed extensive medical care.
Or that after trying to treat a confusing series of illnesses you would be told that your child had a rare genetic disease for which gene therapy was still, at best, decades in the making.
I never expected you would have to bury your child.
I know it’s not supposed to be this way. I know God didn’t intend it to be this way. And I know it won’t always be like this. But right now, I am sorry for your loss, and for your pain. I know it won’t always hurt like this, that God is supposed to, one day, wipe every tear from your eye.
During Easter service two years ago, our congregation watched a short video of one of our pastors arranging colorful, glass fragments onto a background we couldn’t yet see fully. With the camera lens zoomed in on his hands as he worked, the glass shards looked threatening, like they might slice his fingers.
As music played throughout the construction, we wondered how the pieces would fit together. At the end, with the placement of the last piece, the artwork was raised from its working surface, and we gazed upon the finished product -- a wooden cross, embedded with those colorful shards of glass, and a human shadow illuminated from behind. This reminded me of Christ’s love, his sacrifice, his act of being broken in order to suffer for our brokenness.
At times since then, our congregation sings a song called “Hosanna”. It reminds us that God grieves with us and loves us in our broken state. And we respond:
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am
For Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
My heart is breaking for you. For all of us. I am not a stranger to this pain -- to the diagnosis, to the accident, to the news that changes everything.
When can I see you? I’ll hand you a glass of champagne. And we’ll sit together, here, at the bottom of the mess.
All my love,
P.S. These stories are a composite of the pain and suffering of many. They remind me that no one is untouched by grief. And also, that no one need be alone in their suffering either.
Here you will find a catalog of my writing and reflections.