Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
For his anger endures but a moment; in his favour is life:
weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.
I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
I keep trying, every Tuesday, to be aware when 12:05 hits. That's Ben's official time of death.
I keep missing. Today I was doing something on Facebook or reading one of the short stories I'm planning to teach this fall. I thought of 12:05 at 9am. I thought of it again at 1:15. I don't know why it's something that has become so important, but I'm determined to pay attention next Tuesday, his tenth. His tenth. I'll just face it: for now, all Tuesdays are his.
A close friend of mine miscarried her baby last night or this morning. And my heart grieves for her, and my heart grieves for her midwife, who is an old friend of mine and also my midwife. And I wonder, where is this little baby spirit? Where did his or her little spirit fly? Is Ben now an old soul there, welcoming him in? If Ben is anything like his father, he would delight in that role. Welcoming, introducing, coming alongside. Oh, my Ben. Just to touch you for a moment...
The loss of these babies... it's minor chords and browns and deepest burnt sienna. These babies who are gone. Oh God, why?
And I ask myself, where have you been all these years? Every night that I drifted away to sleep, peaceful and snug in my not-yet-death-stained slumber, somewhere across the road or in town or in China, some mother was bent double, torn from the inside out with loss. Like finding the greatest treasure that ever was, covering it with a blanket, and running to find someone to help you carry it, the mother returns to find the treasure gone... only a scar is left. No mercy. Nothing left. Just dirt. Women have been grieving the loss of babies for generations and I had no idea.
Another woman that I do not know lost her baby last night. She was in her 8th month and, from what I understand, was induced this morning.
through shadow dark and valley deep, be merciful to me*
Another friend lost her baby in the middle of June.
Two more of my closest girlfriends lost babies seven years ago and five years ago.
And if we mean what we say when we sing, "All to Jesus, I surrender," do we consider what that really means? There is a faction within a certain denomination that is using a saying to defend their cause, and I feel that it means more than they think it means, even to them:
All means all.
What does it mean for us as believers to surrender all.
So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple (Luke 14: 33)(Amplified Version)
What are we called to surrender? All of our rights to our health. Our possessions. Our rights to desires, to what we're "owed" and to live the life we think we deserve. Our hopes and dreams. All means all. All means everything. The good and the bad.
And I used to have a great line after that thought in my heart: because after we submit those things to Him, He will perfect them and we'll receive them from His hands instead of at our own will.
Maybe. But that answer just seems too neat now. Ben's not coming back. And neither are my friends' babies. If I handed him over, he can't give him back to me in any way at all. Perfected, not perfected, or in any form. I'll see him in eternity. Which, today, seems forever from now. I know that my perspective will change then, but I'm doing my best to live in now.
Still, the sentiment is sound. It's right. Give it to Him and let Him author the things in our lives the way He sees fit. But here is the theological quandry I'm stuck in sometimes: did He "take" Ben, allow Ben to be taken, or was it all just...fate? (chills-- I'm no fatalist, no matter what happens. That's not the answer)
I'm thinking something radical right now. Is it possible for us as believers to just let go? How about if I don't speak for you and just ask myself: Samantha, can you just let it go? What would happen if you just handed over the things that freak you out and break your heart? Do you think you could? What would it mean?
Hm. I don't know. I know it's what I must do, and will do. I need to work through that.
It might mean freedom.
*Caedmon's Call, written by Randall Goodgame