Friday, May 26, 2017

30 Years Ago

After six weeks in the hospital, six weeks of doctors, nurses, tests, needles and procedures, six weeks of uncertainty, fear and angst, the baby was born.

It was months away from the due date. It was way too early for the baby to be born, but born it was.

The baby came late in the evening. It could not live long, but it lived long enough to capture their hearts. There had been a longing in those hearts for months. They looked forward to the baby. They pondered long and hard for the right name. 

They imagined the future, but the future had come to soon.

They only had a few hours together, but the love that had drawn them for months now consumed them. They were hooked! The hot coals that had warmed their dreams now burned brightly as they held their little bundle. 

And hold that bundle they did. They held on physically, emotionally and spiritually. They held on with all of their might. 

It seemed a little strange at the time, but they perceived they were not the only ones holding on. The little baby was holding on too. Each time it would find a finger of Mom or Dad, it would wrap its little hand around it and hold on with all it had.

Did that precious baby realize that it had an uncertain future? Could it know that its hold on life was temporary at best?

As the hours passed, the grip slipped. The Daddy's grip, the Mother's grip and the baby's grip could not prevail. The grip slipped.

They went home the next day. They left that hospital and went to their little home with empty hands. Their hands were empty but the hearts were full of emotions.

They were grieving, of course. They were sorrowful, heartbroken and sad. They were confused and shaken. What to do with their big plans? Where do they begin to pick up the pieces?

They were also disturbed by the contrast of their emotions. They were relieved that the long, difficult ordeal was finished. They were finally waking up from a six week nightmare. Yet they were guilt ridden because they felt relieved. 

They had no one to tell them those wildly conflicting emotions were completely normal in their situation.

With the help of their families and their church, they stumbled through the next few days. They planned a graveside service. When that day came, they made it though somehow, by God's grace.

The day was beautiful. The preaching was perfect. The singing was tremendous. The people were kind. The families were loving.

The Daddy carried the little casket and vault himself. He placed it in the ground with his own hands. When it was over the Mom and Dad carried each other back home. The family came and comforted and then they left.

What in the world do you do now? How do you cope? How do you grieve properly? How do you put one foot in front of another? 

They did not know the answers to those questions or a thousand more questions. They did not have a book to read or a program to follow. In hindsight they needed help, but they did not know they needed help.

Folks politely and compassionately say, "Time heals all wounds." Time did not heal their wounds. Does a blown engine suddenly start running after enough time? Does it? Absolutely ridiculous! It does not happen. So time did not heal their wounds, but they made it.

They healed one step at a time. They trusted God and trusted each other one day at a time. Since then they have put their arms around many, many Mommys and Daddys that were grieving and had nothing of value to say. But they knew how to cry with them and they knew what Not to say.

Remarkably each time they wordlessly comforted someone going down the road they had traveled, it became a little easier. It was never easy but a little easier.

Recently they stood and held each other at the grave. They were 30 years removed from the events that forever changed their lives. It has been an incredible journey full of twists and turns. Could it really be 30 years?

Yes, 30 years have slipped by in a few moments time. They stood there and shed some tears. They cried a little and laughed a little. They talked of love lost and opportunities missed.

But mostly they thanked God for His providence. 30 years have taught them a valuable lesson. God is not the cause of every hurt of life, but God's loving embrace can be experienced in the midst of every hurt of life.

That is enough to bring comfort now.


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