I know from my work as a chaplain that sometimes life just sucks. I served as a pediatric chaplain and know that trauma can strike anyone at any time. I have sat with parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends as their babies and children were taken from them far too soon. I don’t try and look for a silver lining. There isn’t one. I try and sit with people through hell on earth and listen as they bare their souls.
Through this experience I have found myself on the other side. I have been disgusted by our societal norms of pregnancy and fetal demise. We are supposed to wait 12 weeks to tell people that we’ve been sick, tired, bloated, and miserable? What is that about? We have to wait until we’re in the “safe zone?” By virtue, this means that we can only tell people things when we have happy news. Ya’ll, this is not how God created the world to function.
We had already told our family and best friends about the baby. We decided that we would go ahead and tell anyone that we would tell if we miscarried. I told a few people at work and once I was 8 weeks I started to tell more people. (To be honest it was hard to hide because I was exhausted and even if I wasn’t barfing I still felt sick). When the baby died we started telling people almost immediately. I started by texting the people who already knew. I then told my conference youth friends. Next was the church staff, then our small group. People have called it brave and to be honest, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
Our friends Emily and Megan came over to bring us flowers and eat dinner with us the day we found out our minivan had no heartbeat. Our conference youth friends sent us flowers twice, and gifted us a grubhub giftcard because they somehow knew that we were so deep in grief that even going to the grocery store was too painful. Church friends gave us a restraunt giftcards. Friends in our small group have brought us food. People have texted me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. because they know talking on the phone is too painful. THIS IS WHAT CHRIST WAS ABOUT!
Two weeks ago at our youth beach retreat I gave a devotion about being “Rooted in Holy Friendship.” I had done research and found that trees actually have an underground root system allowing them to help each other out when one was struggling. They gave water, offered nutrients and their roots were truly intertwined. When the storm hits, trees are much more likely to stand because of this system. Storms will come– and often. We can’t avoid that. We can’t make it better. We can, however, create a community so that when the storm hits we have someone to hold us down and give us water and nutrients. I had no idea that two days after giving this devotion we would experience the worst storm of our lives. I can’t imagine not telling people about this storm. This experience has rocked our world in the worst way. We can’t avoid the pain, we can only allow others to care for us as Christ would. And THAT is Christian Community.