We haven’t been out to Hillside for months. The snow and our busy lives kept us away. But standing at the grave it is easy to open the flood gates. Suddenly four years disappears and it all happened yesterday. The darkness, the emptiness, the fear, the grief – it’s all right there – like a blanket engulfing me. I have my baby wrapped tight to my chest, impatient with my stillness. I watch my toddler’s exuberance in the big, wide open space that he has all to himself. Life – so much life – right before me, and death too. Death that left a big hole in my heart.
A mommy doesn’t get much time for reflection and that’s not a bad thing really. Life goes on in Heaven and life goes on here on earth. Reflection is done on the fly, in between the peanut butter and jelly and during the diaper changes and in the middle of a quick chat with a sweet friend on my front porch.
In my fly-by moments of reflection it has occurred to me today that in all of God’s dealings with me over the last years I have been totally, completely, utterly helpless. He is the One that has shut doors, opened others, led us down the path of Sorrow and then opened up the way to Joy. I am struck by God’s decision to give us these two and then take them away. I have no idea why He did it, but there was nothing I could do.
It’s easy to believe that a mother is the one who gives life to her children. I could not do that and so two children died. But that is a whispered lie. A mother doesn’t give life. God gives life. God takes life. God sets the lonely in families and God keeps the lonely out of families.
And God gives life to mothers who cannot nurture and sustain it. That was me and that was Judah’s birthmom and my sweet baby girl’s birthmom. There is very little difference between us three women – all of us are helpless to sustain the life that has been given us. God created these lives anyway.
The children whose voices fill my home and my head and my heart these busy, crazy days; whose little chocolate hands pull and prod; whose little spirits are never satiated but always want more. These children will one day realize what I have seen – they are helpless before their Maker. He gave them life. He brought grief into their hearts before they were born. He gave them to me – to Josh – and in that act created a new family. He did it all.
There is nothing else to do but bow and say what I am teaching Judah to say, “OK, Jesus. I love you.”