Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On grief.


  Have you read Anne Lamott's Help, Thanks, Wow? It's a really short and easy read. I picked it up a few years ago and read it while on vacation with friends, a year after our miscarriage and nearly a year into trying to get pregnant again. I found both of those things to be really isolating and hard. Hard to talk about or relate with others on. Both held their own sort of grief, and I think grief, in general, can be hard and tricky. Anne, in her book, talks so candidly about praying honestly and rawly. I love that, and have held to that ever since reading it.
  So anyways, where was I going with this? Grief. It probably makes sense that the older I get, the more I experience it. You've probably noticed the same. That doesn't make it any easier though, does it? Like, we know its inevitable. The odds are against us. But is still stings so deeply every single time it pops up.
  I'm writing all this because, after a weekend remembering a little life that was never lived, my heart is breaking again for another little life never lived and the parents that met their baby in a way they never expected. All death and loss is tragic, each in its own way. And its probably just my season of life. But infant loss seems so cruel. You can't make sense of any of it. 
  But back to Anne's book. You really should read it. She starts off by talking about praying through those really sucky and nonsensical parts of life and eventually asserts that even when life sucks and makes zero sense, we can still be in awe and wonder of the God who made it all. 


“Human lives are hard, even those of health and privilege, and don’t make much sense. This is the message of the Book of Job: Any snappy explanation of suffering you come up with will be horseshit. God tells Job, who wants an explanation for all his troubles, “You wouldn’t understand.” And we don’t understand a lot of things. But we learn that people are very disappointing, and that they break our hearts, and that very sweet people will be bullied, and that we will be called to survive unsurvivable losses..."

“But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.”

“If I were going to begin practicing the presence of God for the first time today, it would help to begin by admitting the three most terrible truths of our existence: that we are so ruined, and so loved, and in charge of so little.”   

  Do you feel that pull? Trying to reconcile the hurt and goodness around us? Trying to make sense of and fix the things that go wrong?
 I walked outside this morning, after drying some tears and praying for my sweet friend who is delivering her stillborn baby this morning. And I saw my lilac bush on the brink of blooming and I helped thread my clematis through the trellis as it stretches higher and higher, getting ready to sprout deep purple flowers. It seemed so ironic. Literally watching new life sprout while death still stings so strongly.
 We don't understand a lot of things. Even though we want clarity and resolution, what we get is strength to hold on. We're so loved and in charge of so little. 

1 comment:

Sarah Voorhees said...

Katie, thank you for your heartfelt post. I'm sorry that you and ones that you love are going through grief again. I agree that 5-10 years ago I had little concept of the pain that life would bring, for me and for those that I love. I loved that last quote. I'm a controller, so it's a good reminder that I have little control, in the good things and in the bad. I will be praying for you and for your friends.