September 12th, 2009
Good friends of our recently lost their baby 18 weeks into their pregnancy. The umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and he died. Moments like these render most words completely insufficient. I even hate the terminology “lost the baby” — it sounds like they misplaced him.
And what do you say to a mother who is grieving? “I know how you feel?” I don’t. “God works in mysterious ways?” Well, that may be true, but it sure as hell isn’t comforting. And I don’t actually believe that God had anything to do with this. There’s a lot of “God’s plan” and “God’s will” talk in the circles I run in, but I’ve never been able to get on board with personal tragedy (or global tragedy, for that matter) being something that God intends to happen.
I struggle with the concept that God allows those horrible things to happen, never mind trying to grapple with the suggestion that he caused them. That doesn’t jive with the merciful and loving deity that I put my faith in.
I do believe in a compassionate and present God — one who is there when the going gets shitty and who cries with us because his heart breaks when ours do.
And that is comforting to me. But I don’t know whether it would be to her. So I don’t try to answer theologically and somehow provide God’s response to sorrow. I can only provide my own and say “I love you and I’m so sorry.”