Thursday, September 17, 2009

2 Corinthians 4:8,9

September 11, 2009

I’m not an optimist by nature. That’s my mom’s gift. My pessimistic father used to call her “Pollyanna” – but while he used this as more of somewhat affectionate insult, if there is such a thing, I saw – between the two of them – that for all my mom’s pie-in-the-sky talk and outlook and my father’s doom-and-gloom-til-you-die, I saw that she was always the stronger one.

I’m always bemused by the old question “Is the glass half empty or half full?” I find it unsatisfactory. From your response, “Oh, the glass is ____” your optimistic/pessimistic nature is supposed to be revealed. I need more from the question. For instance, how did the glass start out? Was it empty and then filled halfway? Or was the glass full and somebody came ‘round and drank half of it down? These are the questions I need answered before I can find out the answer.

But lately, I feel as though somebody has drunk my glass down. Sadly, Jason and I just suffered the loss of our little unborn baby, which now makes for two miscarriages in a row. It’s unthinkable. It’s shocking. I can still hardly absorb it. This little being was planned, rejoiced over, and utterly wanted from the moment we thought of him, from the moment we knew of his conception. My glass was full. Then the moment of loss.

I’m not an optimist by nature, but I’ve learned from necessity that God gave us the choice and ability to make life more than what we were given by nature. So I learned to stretch myself beyond who I am and add buoyancy to my spirit; to my mind. The waters of our world can go black and treacherous so quickly. If we want to drown – we certainly will.

Loss is black water. It sucks you down. Blocks out all light. Steals your breath and feeling. It buries you. Even when you’ve been through something like this before, the loss of what you were happily anticipating is still always proportionate to the loss of the relationship and intimacy denied – a child is gone. The rooms of the house of grief are familiar, but you still must go through them all anew before you can reach the end with a healthy heart.

So I move through these echoing rooms, knowing that almost at any moment, the realization of what I’ve lost – my baby no longer with me, my husband denied another child, my daughter not having that anticipated baby brother or sister – can suddenly wash over me and swamp me. And I’m pulled down into the black water.

That’s where I am right now. It’s 3 am. Jason is in Klamath Falls, Siennalee is sleeping sweetly. I awoke to a noise – which a bit of prowling revealed as nothing – and came back to bed to find sleep gone. And naturally, rather than searching for sleep, my mind goes to the places it ought not to go. Profound sadness. Grief. Great yawning unknown future. I feel a tug and the waters are lapping around my throat. I fight it, I want sleep, but instead the waters are pulled over my head and I feel them rushing by as my buoyancy fails and I’m sucked down to blackness.

It’s terrible down here.

Sometimes I have to cry. Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes when I start to cry, I can’t stop.

I can’t describe it.

I can’t hide from it.

The loss is so great – I am not equal to it.

It shakes me to the core.

But I can’t stay here. I’ve learned to not stay here.

I invested a lot into allowing God to teach me to rise above what’s around me. I’ve practiced this a lot. So I fill myself with what’s lighter than the heavy waters around me. I repeat promises God gave to us, I remember Who God is, I know what He’s done for us, I sing songs that tell of His goodness and faithfulness. And I feel my spirit begin to expand against the cold, pressing darkness.

I’m not alone in these waters – God hasn’t abandoned me. He’s right here – He grieves with me over this loss. After all, He is the Author of Life. He gave me the desire to have a family. He knit my children together in my womb. Though I will not know two of them in this life, He does know them as He formed their little bodies, creating them for life. This loss was not His perfect plan. He designed us for a perfect world which, unfortunately, we no longer have. Bad things happen now. We get sick. We die. Things happen that He did not plan for us. It can be a crappy, crappy world. But yet, He tells us to take heart – though in this world we will have troubles, He has overcome the world. There can be life beyond the loss. And there’s always light above the dark waters.

I’m not a pessimist by nature, but I know that even with all of God’s promises and all the songs I can sing, this grief will not be dispelled quickly, nor does one blog post effectively cover the entirety of such a disappointment, such a loss, the black waters of grief, and the rising above. It’s a process. The tears don’t just end, there’s no quick happy ending. The sadness does not just dissipate. Like our physical bodies, there’s still a healing process. The broken places must be bound up to heal, they must be cared for and cradled, and then strength must slowly be brought back. I wish I could heal up tonight. Be all better and back to normal tomorrow. I wish these tears would dry up and the pain in my heart would quiet. I wish this hadn’t happened at all.

Optimism isn’t in my nature. I’ve had to fight for it. I continue to fight for it. I know that even through these dark times, there’s life – and life more abundantly – on the other side. The promises of God are not voided by hard times, this I know even though my feelings tell me differently.

It’s time for me to sleep again. In a few hours, Siennalee will wake rested – fully expecting the same of her mommy. Jason will be home tomorrow night – or tonight now, I should say. And life goes on.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
Perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not abandoned;
Struck down, but not destroyed.
                                          2 Corinthians 4:8-9


Jen Rouse said...

Jess, this is beautiful. It made me cry. "The rooms of the house of grief are familiar..."--that's a great line. I am thankful to read about your God-honoring attitude, even in the midst of your grief. Is this what you thought wasn't tied up neatly enough at the end? Because it looks great to me.

Robertson Family said...

Amazing! Your strength is an inspiration...and your writing is beautiful! Thanks for sharing... You and your family are always in our prayers, my heart breaks for you...Love you!

Rebekah said...

This was a good process and something we continue to process. Thank you for sharing yourself to us all.

Sarah and the Gentlemen said...

Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your heart and soul with us.

Momae' said...

Jessica...I am so proud of you. I am proud of your courage, your heart and your decision to look to our Creator. As Gary spoke last night at prayer service..He is our Hope. We will stand still..we will see the salvation of the Lord..the Healer of our hearts and bodies. The Light in our darkness.

Gina said...

Wow Jessica! Please know we're praying for you on this road-thanks for your honesty and candor in sharing this...and we will hold you up over here!

Jeff and Kim said...

Sweet, sweet Jessica...I just wish I could reach out and hug you right now. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face, recognizing your despair and in awe of your Christ-focused attitude. What a treasure you are! Holding you close in prayer as you stand with your feet firmly planted on the rock, who is our Heavenly God and Father.

Staci said...

I love you and am praying for you. Keep coming back to Him to bring out out of the black water.

Dana Keith said...

"And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes and there shall no longer be any death, there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain. Rev 21:4
I know a sliver of your pain. You are in my thoughts and prayers! Blessings on your head!

mrsturtlemama said...


God has truly blessed you with a gift. You put my own grief over my own two precious angels down in words better than I ever could. I am also not a born optimist, but I haven't fought hard enough to be one, either. You have inspired me to reach for that part of God's light and rise above the darkness that still sometimes can swallow me up. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

Jamie said...

Jess, this is absolutely breathtaking. Where would we be without our faith? So thankful you have this to lean on right now. I believe the waters are created so He can teach us to swim. I love you and I am so blessed to have met you, so blessed to read your wise words.

Mom said...

My sweet girl: You have always delighted me with your wit and wisdom and still continue to amaze me! I am more than blessed to be your mom.