Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Year is a Relative Thing

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your Presence?
If I ascend into heaven, you are there;
If I make my bed in the grave, you are there;
If I rise on the wings of the morning
or dwell on the farthest reaches of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me
and the night shall be light about me,
Even the darkness hides nothing from You,
but the night shines as the day;
the darkness and the light are both alike to You.
Psalm 139

Tonight marks an entire year since the night we held our daughter for the final time as she breathed her last. Easily, the darkest moment of our lives. Its something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. There are times when people pass away, and though sad, it is a holy moment to honor a life well lived. Many other times, premature death shatters all we know to be good and holy. The night Evie died was a night of bitter loneliness. I did not know where God was.

Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their Spirits rise up to praise you?
Is your love declared in the grave?
Why do you hide your face from me?
You have taken from me...
Darkness is my only companion
Psalm 88

In the following days, weeks, and months our friends surrounded us with care. They prayed when we could not. I grasped for faith, and occasionally, caught hold of something. Or perhaps, more accurately, someone got a hold of me. My mind still frequently remembers holding her cold body and wondering where God went. Eventually, I learned where God was. Here...

God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself
-2 Corinthians 5.19

Where was God? He was on the cross, befriending my daughter in his death. God the Father, grieving the grief that we know... that he knows. But that is not the final word.

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered... Since children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. -Hebrews 2.10, 14-5

God knows. God cares. More than that, God saves. The love demonstrated in the death and resurrection of Christ means not only that Evie is not alone, but that she and I and all who belong to him will not stay dead. Death has been swallowed up in Victory! Where, O Death, is your Victory? Where, O Death, is your sting? -I Corinthians 15:55


Still, we miss her so much. The passage of time has healed a lot of wounds, but in some ways its painful to think about how long she's been gone. Grief is a curious thing. It ebbs and flows and shows up in unexpected ways. Today has been a mostly good day. We've spent it together just being with one another and also finding some holiday activities to lift our spirits a little bit.

Studies have shown that couples who lose a child might triple their odds of divorce. There might be a few different reasons for this. For one, the inevitable depression that accompanies the loss can put incredible strain on marriage. The adage might also be true that "hurt people, hurt people". While certainly the pain of losing Evie impacted our relationship, remarkably our love for each other has been an incredible source of strength for the battle. We know we need each other. We're blessed to have each other to carry one another. We're also blessed to have such a wonderful community of people who look out for us and have helped us along this last year: both our biological family, our many church families, and friends from all over. We'll never be able to thank you all enough.

1 comment:

linnea (Johnson) Bergstrom said...

I continue to lift you up in prayer. Evie was so blessed to have known your love for her. Thank you for your openess and honesty. You are teaching me so much about the Lord and even in a time of sadness He is still glorified.