Warning! I’m ’bout to get my Jesus on. Stick with me though.
When an late-term ultrasound showed significant dilation in Kelsey’s ventricles, faith and hope were scarce. Hope was something that solidified with Ben’s journey but a new, scary diagnosis for his unborn sister was weighing very heavily and the darkness was oppressive.
Growing up, faith of a greater being was present but not a mainstay. We said grace and went to church on holidays. My mom prayed with me every night which translated in later years into a wish-granting nighttime request. “Please let us have a snow day! Please let Dave propose!”
After we got the hydrocephalus diagnosis, I was seeking answers and comfort. Why?!?! And how could it possibly be that our second child was sick too?! How could God do this to us?
That day shook all faith that lingered. The night of the diagnosis I read the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. My main take-away was that God didn’t “do” things to make people suffer. But that He was suffering right along with us. With little understanding of what that meant to me and little relationship with God or religion, it helped a fraction of a percent but not really. The hurt was too strong. The injustice too great.
Time has passed and most of you know how our journey continued with many peaks and valleys. During that time we found a wonderful church to learn more, connect more and find our faith. For Dave, it was more of a reignition and reexamining his views on faith, as he grew up quite religious.
So, where am I going with all this? Well, I’m currently reading a book that is more murder-mystery than a religious book by any means but it does have a sub-plot that takes place in church. My mom has been singing the book’s praises for awhile and while I liked what I was reading, it wasn’t “doing it” for me. But it’s really started to get good and now I know why she loved it so much.
The book is called Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by sharing the following excerpt that I read last night. I wanted to share in hopes that you can find comfort as well and I, myself, am tucking it away (or spreading it all over the interwebs) for times when darkness and struggles come back to our family as I have no doubt they will.
“When we feel abandoned, alone, and lost, what’s left to us? What do I have, what do you have, what do any of us have left except the overpowering temptation to rail against God and to blame him for the dark night into which he’s led us, to blame him for our misery, to blame him and cry out against him for not caring? What’s left to us when that which we love most has been taken?
“I will tell you what’s left, three profound blessings. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us exactly what they are: faith, hope, and love. These gifts, which are the foundation of eternity, God has given to us and he’s given us complete control over them. Even in the darkest night it’s still within our power to hold to faith. We can still embrace hope. And although we may ourselves feel unloved we can still stand steadfast in our love for others and for God. All this is in our control. God gave us these gifts and he does not take them back. It is we who choose to discard them.
“In your dark night, I urge you to hold to your faith, to embrace hope, and to bear your love before you like a burning candle, for I promise that it will light your way.
“And whether you believe in miracles or not, I can guarantee that you will experience one. It may not be the miracle you’ve prayed for. God probably won’t undo what’s been done. The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day.
“Jesus suffered the dark night and death and on the third day he rose again through the grace of his loving father. For each of us, the sun sets and the sun also rises and through the grace of our Lord we can endure our own dark night and rise to the dawning of a new day and rejoice.”
Pretty good, right? I especially love the paragraph about miracles. “It may not be the miracle you’ve prayed for. God probably won’t undo what’s been done.” I have prayed for a lot of miracles in the last nine-plus years. Some were granted. Some were not. But nothing was “undone” like I wished it had been. But since hindsight is 20/20, I can now see how perfectly made Ben and Kelsey are despite not getting some of the miracles I prayed and begged for.
I also caught up on some TV last night and the latest episode of This Is Us (are you watching?!? Oh my good!). And no spoiler alert needed here either! Dr. K, the obstetrician, shared this tidbit in the first episode and it was good, but not as meaningful. Last night’s episode showed us more of what led up to that pilot. He said “The worst thing that life could ever give to you has happened and you took those lemons and made something resembling lemonade.”
Well. I was sobbing. His delivery with the plot was so good and it resonated with our story. We got some lemons for sure. And while it’s not the worst that could happen…our dreams of a healthy child were crushed and that’s not nothing. But we have managed to take those lemons and make something “resembling” lemonade. I love that. I’d say we were more of a Limeaid or tarter version but still delicious and lovely.
Lately, I’m seeing and hearing all these tidbits from books, movies and TV that are so comforting. They help me to make sense of it all. I’m trying to remember these words of wisdom and stockpile them away so that they will help me cope with any future hardships. Well that and a little vodka in that Limeaid. Just (not) kidding! 😜