She sat there on the exam table stunned as the words were pronounced. The bewildering cloud that now hung in the air had immobilized her. The next action should have been simple: Just stand up. But the brain couldn’t think of that. The news they were just given had sucked up every firing neuron she could spare.
The two had walked into the dimmed ultrasound room full of excitement, anticipating their first glimpse of this second child to be. For him, a first hello turned into a vague goodbye in the same breath.
They left dazed, uncertain of the next steps they’d have to take as they walked the long hall to the private room where they’d wait for the doctor. In this field, only doctors are allowed to declare reality, even if the technician already knows.
In one of their realest moment together, a surreal haze seemed to dominate. God bless that doctor. The weight of her experience did not diminish the heaviness of our grief. It had only now just begun to descend as reality sunk in. This common occurrence was not so common to us.
What did that mean? For whatever reasons, my body wanted to hold on to a pregnancy that was no longer viable. She was only eight weeks developed. Her heart stopped beating almost three weeks before we knew about it.
In those first fallout moments after the news dropped I envisioned a beautiful little girl standing in a meadow, donning a white sundress as golden beams filled her hair. Her name was Rose. Her heart had stopped beating and mine was broken. That bewildering cloud descended in an instant but hung around for months. Grief. Despair. Anger. Tears. Confusion… Bewilderment.
But in the cloud, he comes.
“To You Lord, I called. To the Lord I cried for mercy; What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” (Psalm 30:8-12)
Here is where the veil is lifted. In our deepest sorrow, he meets us. In our deepest sorrow, his Presence is revealed, enveloping our hearts and minds. In our sorrow, his presence transforms our lives into his image: the one he bore upon a cross.
This is The Great Embrace. At the cross. At the cross, tears find their refuge. At the cross, numb emotions find life and healing. At the cross, our deepest needs are discovered beyond the lingering questions.
At the cross, there is no comparison, there is only a relation: the Creator and the created. Here I discover who I really am: a sinner in need of grace, stripped of all pretense. A beggar, really, longing for nothing more than to be changed.
Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness. Repentance. Transformation. At the cross, our grief-stricken hearts collapse into This Great Embrace. My broken shattered dreams are held in his hands. In his arms, my heart beats with a hope that does not disappoint.
Her name is Rose.
So to my child whose heart stopped beating: Someday we will say hello and our vague goodbye will seem like nothing.
To my child who could not bear to live among the thorns: For now I wait for our golden hour. For now I wait for our sunshine together.
For now we wait for dreams that never die…
Both of us embraced by Love.