Car rides and rainbows

I’ve been thinking about my last post – the one about the What Ifs – and realizing that while I do think that asking those questions is a part of the grieving and healing process, they do also reflect a lack of faith.

And that’s okay.  I think our faith waxes and wanes sometimes.  Especially in the wake of tragedy.  It’s where the rubber of our faith meets the road of life.  And sometimes we skid a little.  We get flat tires.  We want a little more evidence of things not seen.

That had me thinking about this post that I wrote on our family blog in the midst of the NICU time immediately following Brigid’s premature birth.  I’ve copied and pasted it below:

We’ve had a week of rapidly changing weather, and as Patrick and I are driving back and forth to Hershey each day, it will often alternate between downpours and sunshine, and occasionally it will do both things at the same time. It’s been prime rainbow weather every day.

Only I haven’t seen one.

I’d find myself making little deals in my head with God in the car. “Okay,” I’d think. “If I see a rainbow, that means Brigid’s going to be fine.” And then I’d crane my neck all over looking for one, all the while reasoning with myself that even if I don’t see a rainbow, she could still be fine and realizing that I could see one and she could die tomorrow. I’m testing God, I’d think, and then I’d feel ashamed of my silliness. He doesn’t owe me a sign. He’s told me enough about himself for me to have faith in this situation, whether or not I see a rainbow.

It’s not faith that Brigid will be okay that I’m called to have. If that were the case, and she died, my faith would be shattered.

Rather, it’s faith in God’s goodness. It’s faith in the fact that His ways are not our ways. That all things work together for the good of those who love Him. It’s faith that God is sovereign and knows us and loves us and sees our situation. Faith that we’re still in the palm of His hand. It’s faith that if it’s His will for her to heal and grow, she will. And if it’s not, we’ll still be okay. It’s faith that He knows more than we do. Faith that He is trustworthy and that He loves our baby girl even more than we do.

This is the faith that we are called to have. This is the faith that I have to exercise each day, as surely as an athlete exercises his heart and muscles for an endurance trial. God is so good to give us our daily bread – the strength to get through each day, even when we don’t know what is at the end of the road.

I’ll still crane my neck to look for the rainbows.

But not because they have anything to do with Brigid.

I was looking for signs then, too.  But the same principles are as true today, more than two years after her death, as they were then, a few days after her birth.  God is good.  He loves us.  He works all things together for our good.

I’m not sure why I felt it so strongly then and now I struggle sometimes.  I have to keep telling it to myself, I think.  Over and over until I am facing my own death.  Sometimes I just read the words of Brigid’s eulogy over again to myself.  They bring me so much comfort.

I am working on posting our story, though it is so incredibly long.  March to June – the time from our diagnosis until the second one of our twins died – was only four months, but brought a lifetime of ups and downs, hopes and fears, joy and sorrow.  In an effort to keep faraway friends and family up to date on each twist and turn, and to process my emotions myself, I wrote about the experience on our family blog.  There are so many posts, though, that it is hard to condense them and still give the whole story.  Suffice it to say, you are welcome to peruse the posts starting in February of 2011 and continuing until…well, until today, I guess.  Our loss is threaded into our lives since then and there is not really any separating ourselves from it, even as we keep living.  We never move on from it, we just move on with it.

absence

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