Five years ago we lost our first baby to a miscarriage. I didn't much feel like talking about it then and have very rarely talked about it since. When I do mention it it is always in an all business kind of way. I will state the fact that it happened and whatever details surrounding it that are pertinent to the conversation at hand. But I don't...go there. I don't open my heart to any feelings whatsoever surrounding the matter. It is a closed case. Miscarriages happen all the time and one happened to me. Done.
Or so I thought. But then when my friends started having experiences I knew too well those long ignored feelings made their presence known again. The feelings that start when you see blood where blood shouldn't be when you're pregnant. The feelings that grow when the bleeding doesn't stop even as you are trying to convince yourself that it is getting lighter. The feelings that crash down around you when some medical person tells that what you have feared and hoped against and prayed against has happened. Your baby is gone and you will not hold it until heaven. The feelings that sink in when you realize your baby will always be called it. Never him or her. Loud, ugly, painful feelings. Feelings that you don't want and don't know what to do with. Feelings you try to hide when someone asks you how you are. I hate those feelings. I hate that the commonness of miscarriages means that those awful feelings are common too. I hate that the commonness of such awful feelings doesn't make them any less awful. If anything it just makes them more infuriating. I hate all of that.
But in revisiting the emotions of losing a baby I reminded of another kind of feeling I had back then. A feeling that is beautiful and is odd in that it only accompanies the darkest and most terrible of feelings. The kind of peace and hope that only show up in the midst of real fear and despair. The supernatural assurance of God's goodness that is only relevant when everything in you wants to ask how He could be so cruel. The joy that God saves aside for only his children who are experiencing profound sorrow. It's a kind of feeling I can't explain. Supernatural is the best word I've got for it. I think it is commonly called grace.
My miscarriage took place in Italy. I spent a week in an Italian hospital. I had left my home at the end of winter. What was supposed to be a quick four day trip to welcome my brother back from Afghanistan turned into two weeks in a strange place going through the most excruciating experience of my life. While I was gone winter turned into early spring. When I stepped out of my car after the long flight and ride home my yard was covered in purple flowers. Weeds really, but they were flowering weeds, and they were where nothing but winter deadness had been when I left. They said to me in a way no human could have gotten away with "Life goes on." Not in a trite shruggy oh-well-better-luck-next-time kinda way. But in the resounding way of a trustworthy promise. LIFE - real life, the kinda life God makes - goes on and on and on even in this world so broken that an innocent baby isn't even safe in the womb of the mother who loves it. That is what those flowering weeds said to me. My yard wasn't covered in flowers my yard was covered in grace.
I was away this weekend while my friends were just beginning to grapple with their loss. In my prayers for them I kept coming back to those flowering weeds. I asked God to send them something like that. Some kind of visible, palpable grace that is louder than their pain and that is kinder than this world is cruel. I believe that He will.
When I arrived home on Monday my yard that I had left in the dead of winter just days before was full of those same purple flowers I first noticed all those years ago.
His mercy endures forever.