A year ago in December our good friends suffered their second miscarriage. They stopped by our home so we could see them, and a discussion came about whether recurrent miscarriages was harder or if infertility - not getting pregnant at all - was harder.
We concluded they are both difficult. They are both losses. They are both painful roads to walk.
In the insightful and well-written book, "A Grace Disguised," Jerry Sittser (who suffered the devastating loss of his mother, wife and daughter in a single car accident) says, "We tend to qualify and compare suffering and loss. Loss is loss, whatever the circumstances. All losses are bad, only bad in different ways. No two losses are ever the same. Each loss stands on its own and inflicts a unique kind of pain. What value is there to quantifying and comparing losses? What good is qualifying loss? What good is comparing? The right question to ask is not, "Whose is worse?" It is to ask, "What meaning can be gained from suffering and how can we grow through suffering?"
Death is death. Loss is loss. Pain is pain.
It’s part of life. It just is.
If there is anyone reading this who doesn't believe miscarriage is a devastating loss, read a heart-wrenching story of loss, grief and pain here. You'll never question again the agony of losing a baby in utero.
At the end of my Beth Moore study from Tuesday, I underlined the following: "The life of a Christian is never about sameness. It's always about change. That's why we must learn to survive and once again thrive when change involves heartbreaking loss. We're being conformed to the image of Christ. When our hearts are hemorrhaging with grief and loss, never forget that Christ binds and compresses it with a nail-scarred hand."
I love that. Life is about change and change involves loss. So why in our culture do we have such a hard time with grief, loss, death?
Death makes people uncomfortable and awkward. But death is as natural part of life as birth. We all are born. We all die.
For those that accept this reality, it might still be difficult to accept that the cycle of life and death doesn’t always happen like it should: the older die and the younger grow up, live and then die.
We all know it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes the young never grow up. In fact, sometimes the young are never even born.
We avert our eyes when we hear stories of death. We want to change the subject. We want to offer some sort of reason or answer for the tragedy. We want to say something to make the person feel better.
What we need to do is encourage them to grieve. We need to encourage them to mourn. We need to walk beside them in their grief and allow them to process their pain – in their time and their way. We need to remind others in their time of loss and pain what Jesus promises us: blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
I have learned it is healthy to mourn. It is necessary to grieve. It is good for my heart and soul. Even now, 2 1/2 years after my first loss, it is good for me to recognize and ponder the loss we suffered with our first baby. I take heart that I am promised comfort when I mourn.
I am thankful for these wise words from Jerry Sittser that give me hope for the future: "The experience of loss itself does not have to be the defining moment of our lives. Instead the defining moment can be our response to the loss. It is not what happens to us that matters as much as what happens in us."