I've found a lot of comfort in yesterday's Gospel, the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45), especially the simple phrase, "And Jesus wept." Christ's friend Lazarus died and He wept in mourning, even though He knew that He would soon raise Lazarus, even though there was an afterlife. After all, death was never part of God's original plan for mankind, but a result of sin. Like all things, God can still bring great good out of the consequence of sin, but there is still a sadness in it.
After my miscarriages, I often heard something along the lines of, "You shouldn't be sad that your children died. You should be happy because your child is in heaven." I've heard that other moms who have experienced pregnancy loss have been told the same. I understand that those who say that are doing so out of love, but for those of us who are already struggling to find space to grieve in a society that generally doesn't acknowledge our loss, it's hard to be told that we shouldn't be in mourning. I don't speak for all women who have had a loss and I'm sure there are women who take comfort in those words, I'm just not one of them. Even if my children are in heaven, a thought that I do find comfort in, I still feel their absence profoundly. Sadness and happiness are not mutually exclusive emotions. If Jesus, who is God, wept at the death of a friend, surely I can weep at the death of my child without reproach.
I've found much consolation from the Gospel readings this Lent. The previous Sunday's reading (John 91-41) was very powerful as well:
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him."
This part was so powerful that I cried! During the Gospel and during the homily. I cry often during movies but very, very rarely during Mass. But this was exactly what my heart needed to hear. Our losses are not punishment for something we had done. I've never really believed that they were, but I guess, somewhere, deep down, I still had that doubt. This Lent has truly been exactly what I've needed for healing. It makes me wonder if Lent has the ability to become what I need every year and I just haven't paid enough attention to let it.
While I'm here....Kendra started a new weekly link up called "Answer Me This". She started it last week without knowing it but it now has a name and and an image. I'm answering last week's questions. You can find this week's for the upcoming Sunday link up here.
1. Where do you live? And why do you live there? I live in Raleigh, NC. The short answer of why we live here is because my husband got a job here after a year-long job search. We probably would have moved anywhere just for him to have a job, but we lived here previously and loved it. The more drawn out answer is that a blog reader saw me write a post on how David was possibly interested in teaching high school. She previously worked at the school, is friends with the Dean and told him about David. How cool is that? A blog reader helped my husband get a job!
2. What are you currently watching and/or reading? Currently reading Mansfield Park, Story of a Soul, Prayer: Our Deepest Longing, Prayer: Does it Make any Difference, and Out of the Silent Planet.
3. What kind of Catholic are you: cradle, or convert? (Or considering?)cradle
4. Can you point to one moment or experience that made you a practicing Catholic? (Or want to be?)I don't know that there was a specific moment though I credit my strong faith to the Catholic school I attended K-3. The point when I took my faith on as my own decision was sophomore year of high school when I pushed to be put in the Confirmation class with my peers even though I was starting a month late because my family didn't know about the classes since we weren't attending Mass regularly at the time.
5. How many pairs of shoes do you own? I'll have to count but probably around 20.
6. Are you a good dancer? I'd say I'm decent. I don't think I'm particularly embarrassing but also not super talented.
7. Who usually drives, you or your husband? Husband. Always. I can't remember the last time I drove when he was in the car. It's happened maybe a handful of times in our almost four years of marriage.
8. What's your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it? I've always loves St. Patrick's Day, probably because it's always been lumped in with my birthday (which is the day before). I also loved that it is a holiday of obvious Catholic origin that is now a part of our American culture. And I love corned beef and cabbage. We don't do a ton to celebrate and are still figuring out how we'll celebrate it as a family, but corned beef and cabbage will always be a staple.
9. Which is correct? Left or right? I'm not one who really cares about this debate, but I prefer left.
10. Do you have any scars? Yes, I have a scar from chicken pox on my forehead that gets pointed out a lot. It gets edited out by most professional photographers which annoys me because it's been part of what I look like since I was nine. It doesn't bother me anymore. I should just tell them not to edit it out, but I always forget because I don't even notice it now.
|old picture of me on my honeymoon rocking the scar|
I also have a faint scar on my cheek from a saber tooth tiger attack. (My dad climbed a tree with me on his back when I was a baby and a branch got me bad. So, logically, when my mom got home, my dad told her that it was the result of a saber tooth tiger attack and he saved me. I has become a family legend.) I probably have a ton of other small ones because I'm accident prone and find myself with bruises and scabs all the time with no idea where they came from.
11. What's the most famous thing you've ever done? I was on the front page of the city newspaper when I was in ninth grade for winning a trophy at the state chess championship. I was the top female player in the tournament and the trophy was appropriately very pretty.