Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Writing through a broken heart

On Thursday evening I received a text from my cousin who was expecting her third child. She was on her way to the hospital. While at her checkup earlier in the day they discovered the baby’s heart was no longer beating. This was the second time in as many years she was facing this tragedy. A few hours later I learned another member of my cousin’s family lost her baby the same day. This morning I woke to the news a fellow Craftsman and a woman I love dearly lost her own precious baby. Three babies in three days. And my heart is breaking for each one.

In the past few months I’ve watched four young mothers begin the grieving process when they should have been planning baby showers, picking out names, and cooing over ultrasound images. As a friend, my heart breaks because all I can do is sit with them and as a writer, my gift of words has failed me. What can I say in a time like this? I’ve yet to experience the excitement of discovering I carry new life within me. So how can I even begin to fathom the heartache knowing I’ll never hug that child or hold my breath as he climbs trees that barely support his weight or as she puts on her first “ball gown” and dances around the room on her daddy’s toes.

We all handle grief in our own ways and I’ve found great solace in writing. In this, I am not alone. The longest and most quoted book in Scripture are the Psalms of King David. It’s his journal. In one entry he cries out in anguish in another he sings his Lord’s praises. He questions, he doubts, he struggles, he finds comfort in his faith, and most of all he rests in the arms of One whose strength knows no limits.

What I find most healing in journaling through grief is that I can be completely open and honest with my feelings. I don’t have to put on a brave face for others. If I want to scream, I scream. If I need to cry, I cry. And it never matters how many times I repeat the same words over and over. Journaling also has a calming effect. It helps gives my tumultuous emotions a channel so they don’t overwhelm me. There have been many times I’ve fallen asleep while writing on nights I otherwise would have tossed and turned until dawn.

I’ve also discovered that some of my greatest insights have come in journaling through my darkest hours. Some of those entries have served as the basis for articles that have helped others who are struggling with the same trials and brokenness.

God promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him, but in moments like these it can be all but impossible to see what good that could be. When my cousin lost her Angel baby last year, it nearly crushed her. But in the year since I’ve watched a tighter connection grow between her husband and their two children. She rediscovered her faith, and she developed some amazing friendships with other women who were also struggling with loss. I hate watching her go through this again so soon. And I  hate seeing my other friends struggling with questions of WHY. At the same time I am anxiously watching to see how their stories turn out, because I am confident that the Author of their lives has already writen them a happy ending.

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