joy after trauma: living in the both/and

It’s been about seven months since the day doctors tell me I almost died, seven months since the birth of my son.

It’s funny how God works, though. Seven months since Jesus saved me from death and I’ve never felt more alive.

It hasn’t been an easy seven months, don’t get me wrong, but it’s been…somehow, is this a thing? It’s been a time of seeing and being more clearly. Seeing bits of heaven and glimpses of Jesus on His throne and in our presence…me being present in ways I just flat-out didn’t have the capability of being before.

What I’ve learned is this: on this Earth, for those in the fold of God’s flock, when we grieve, grief and joy will interlock fingers, go hand in hand. We must not be afraid of grief.

Jesus, the weeping Friend of Lazarus, is not afraid of grief.

And neither did He turn His face from the joy set before Him.

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash

How can I grow comfortable with this Both/And? This living in the Both? This joy over life itself and grief over things broken?

Now, after strapping baby into his stroller, armed with a paci and sunscreen for a walk in this sunny weather, I jog inside for a moment to grab a water.

The cool blast of the AC hits me and I close my eyes, suddenly bombarded with the memory of a hospital room.

A hospital room I wish I could remember clearly, but I can’t.

I won’t.

I can’t.

Not yet.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath, lean against the door frame.

Jesus, help me.

A nurse’s voice rushes back to me. “Push. Push. Good girl!”

I remember the pain – something hurt terribly, but it was worth it to me.

Soon I would hold Baby in my arms…just keep pushing…

Back in my kitchen, tears fill my eyes.

How I wish I could remember the moment I first held Baby.

How I wish they could have put him right on my chest, where he belongs.

How I wish the three of us – me, Michael, and baby, weren’t separated, torn from each other like Goodness from its home in Eden.

Here in the kitchen, as I’ve learned to hear in the stillness lately, Jesus speaks to my heart gently.

I understand; I see the things you lost.

I see, too, the things the Father has given you.

You may not see them yet, but I can. They are good.

And I rejoice over you.

Baby’s happy gurgles from the garage bring me back to the present.

I breathe deep.

The Father holds your baby.

Your beloved baby lacks no good thing.

And he is blessed by you.

I blink. Tears change from grief to relief. I wipe my eyes and jog back outside, put Baby’s favorite sunglasses on his expectant little face, say Thank You silently, and push the stroller out into the sun at a run.

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Baby and I sail through the blossoming trees, green branches waving hello, the wind in our faces, a podcast about Mommy Fashion on the phone speaker, giving me permission to wear leggings and tunics forever. I smile, inhale, exhale, listening to the uplifting banter, focusing on one foot in front of the other, Baby’s feet bouncing along with mine.

The time of grief is Good. And the time of sunshine joy is Good, too.

In every season, may we have eyes to see and ears to hear His Beauty in both joy and grief, for He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him.

 

Blessings and joy to you,

Robyn

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