There are all sorts of clubs, groups, and even cliques. Membership usually requires some sort of checklist and possibly even dues. Once membership is attained, certain privileges become yours. You are allowed to eat at the prestigious country club, workout at the "in" gym, have lunch with the "in" crowd.
Sometimes, however, we become members of clubs with which we never wanted to be, or thought we ever would be, associated. Miscarriage, divorce, death, unemployment. Who wants a membership in those clubs? Not me. I'm betting not you, either.
But loss seeks us out, grabs us when we least expect it. The baby you prayed for months to conceive, suddenly has no heartbeat. The marriage you thought would make it, and seemed to for a while, crumbles. Cancer robs your husband, grandfather, mother, friend of their life, and it robs you of the relationship. The job that had so much potential is cut, or worse yet, given to someone else.
Life is full of hurts and disappointments. Memberships in clubs we'd rather not have.
Twelve years ago, the excitement and anticipation of my first pregnancy came to a screeching halt when the nurse couldn't locate my baby's heartbeat. She was very calm and suggested that perhaps I wasn't as far along as originally determined. My heart knew otherwise. The next ultrasound confirmed my fear. My baby was gone.
I collapsed. I weeped. I wailed.
Grief came. Grief stayed.
The months that followed were tricky. Immediately I had to have surgery. Two days later, I hemorrhaged and had to be readmitted to the hospital for another surgery. When I finally was home, I didn't want to leave. I just wanted my baby back. I was physically unwell, spiritually unwell, and emotionally a wreck.
Eventually, the days got a little easier. I began to venture out of my house. I began to think I was going to be ok. But then, I would see something, hear something, or even smell something; grief flooded back. Its trigger evasive, sneaky; wrapping its fingers around me, pulling me down, tripping me up.
I eventually became pregnant again and delivered a beautiful baby boy. I love that boy! His birth helped me to face my grief more fully and be able to walk with it in peace. The grief was still there. Still is. But it no longer consumes me. It can still surprise me, but it no longer defines me.
A few years ago, my marriage of almost 13 years ended in divorce. I fought it for years before I actually made the decision to walk away. I didn't want to be divorced. I didn't want to be "that girl". God hates divorce. So do I. It's an ugly, painful, deeply grieving walk.
It's a grief that I thought would eventually be gone. It doesn't go away, especially when there are children and ex-spouses involved. I'm learning to walk with that grief. Learning to help my children walk with their grief. Learning to lean on God for my strength.
I've since remarried. My husband is an amazing man who loves God. I am blessed beyond measure. He was married before as well, and has two boys from that marriage. They have their own grief, too.
But we're all learning to walk through our grief together. Be sensitive to each other, remembering that what we all really want is to be loved and accepted in the midst of a messy life. Some days we do really well. Some days not so much.
But love and grace and mercy live in our house, right alongside our grief. It mixes with our joy and laughter, becoming a beautiful thing that only God could orchestrate and sustain.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do
not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you
go.” Joshua 1:9