Ten days before Charlie was born I stumbled upon this scene while the kids were playing…
It’s a double labor… in case you were wondering. But don’t worry, Dr. Fred is on the job and he is quite proficient since his big sister makes him play “labor and delivery” all the time. I love this, because in a way what they are really playing is “Life.” After seeing Mommy pregnant for most of her remembered life, Emma is so insightful about labor and delivery. It makes it even more bittersweet now when I hear them play “Dying.”
Right after Charlie died, I overheard the kids playing something about dying with Emma’s Barbies. I was a little worried at first, but then a friend reminded me that play is one of the key ways that kids work out what they are thinking and feeling and experiencing in life. And to my utter heartbreak…right now this is our life. Death, has become a very real part of our lives. I hate that. And honestly, today I did not want to get out of bed. I just don’t want this to be our life. I don’t want to have to live in one place while my baby boy lives in another, and sometimes I just feel really beaten down that this is our reality. In those moments it is easy to cry out to God and say, “Why! Why is this our life? I hate death! God, do You even understand how much death hurts!?”
And today, He reminded me that He does. I was “practicing” Fred’s Awana Bible verse with him this morning, which is a nice way of saying that I had it pretty much memorized. It was around my tenth time saying his verse that I was finally struck by its meaning…
“Christ loved us, and gave Himself up for us.”
It was a simple truth, and one that you would think would be constantly on my mind as we approach Holy Week…but after saying it over and over again it finally hit me. Christ died for me. I know intellectually that this happened at some point, but it is amazing how easily I can forget it. It’s probably because my Jesus, for as long as I’ve known Him, has always been alive. We are so good at living in the present reality of Christ’s resurrection, that I think we sometimes breeze right past the fact that Jesus actually had to die.
When my heart physically hurts thinking of my baby’s precious body in a dark grave…I don’t want to forget that Jesus also faced a lonely grave.
When my soul feels crushed under the weight of death’s separation and suffering…I don’t want to forget that Jesus also knows what it feels like to be separated from His Father’s love.
And when tears come to my eyes as I watch little people desperately trying to grasp the realities of life in a broken world where every single person they know is dying…I don’t want to forget that Jesus, who singlehandedly went to battle against the power of the grave, has become our way to life.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
As we journey towards Holy Week, I pray that together we can cling to this promise…that we have a Savior who actually understands the very things we need to be saved from. He faced every one of them on the cross. And then, three days later His love triumphed over death’s dark grave.
It doesn’t take away the pain, but it does remind me of what is true about the One who comforts me. The One who died, and who is now, very much alive. Forever. And with my Charlie.