I’m going to come right out and say this: not everything happens for a reason. No matter how I’ve been told, regardless of the examples I’ve been given, and despite the perseverance of this idea through our culture, I have yet to be convinced. While we search and scour the corners of the Earth for a greater design to this life and the pain that we encounter, time after time we return exhausted and even more lost than we were when we began. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in God and His unmatched omnipotence, His plans for our lives, and His power to redeem any situation, but I also believe just as wholeheartedly in the counterparts to these. I believe in the existence of evil of this world, in the free choice that we were given when we were created, and in the catastrophic combination of the two. Many find comfort in the notion that the pain that we feel is planned and necessary and that the trials that we face are preparing us for some greater purpose, a higher calling and a role that we can only fill once we’ve been casted and molded through these “fateful” fires in our lives. Yet the only reason that these things exist, such as sickness and sadness and death, is because of our failures. The reason that evil entered our world was because of our choice as beings with free will, because of our sins. God did not plan for a world with sin and with death, but where there is one the other will always exist simultaneously.
Although there is no comfort for me in the idea of predestined pain, I am able to find some in another closely related concept. The part that I trust, and am able to move forward through is the idea that there is an opportunity for growth through these experiences. This is where God’s redemption comes into play. As humans we have been adapting our entire existence, and these changes are only instigated by an alteration in the norm, deviation from the expected. When we are faced with an unfamiliar, unexpected, and painful experience, we are forced not only to realign our lives with the new conditions and concrete changes that we have to live with, but we are also faced with the need to emotionally navigate the tumultuous waters we’ve found ourselves drowning in. Not only do we have to readjust the way that we go about our daily lives and the choices that we make, but we also need to care for our emotional wellbeing, address how the changes are affecting us, and process them fully.
For me, my faith has always been one of the greatest influences on my ability to cope and move forward through life’s unpredictable changes. I have seen through my own experiences the personal growth that can occur as a result of this processing life-altering events. I have gained confidence in my own value, I have learned how to prioritize my own needs while still caring for others, and I have discovered the beauty that exists in healthy, respectful, honorable relationships. I have learned the value of self-control, the importance of timing, the virtue of patience, and the gift of silence. I have discovered the strength that can arise from my deepest pain, and most importantly, I have learned to acknowledge and respect my limits. I believe that the only reason that I have been able to harness these positive outcomes, that I am able to move forward through my pain, is through my faith in God and his unconditional love and unfailing comfort for me. He experiences the pain that I feel, He mourns my losses alongside me. He gives me the strength that I find myself drained of, He pulls me from my knees and lifts my face skyward. It is only through His strength that I have any at all.
I do not believe that there is a reason behind my baby’s death. There is no greater plan behind this loss of life. I carried him for eleven weeks, and he thrived for nine. Every day I struggle to work through this, my heart breaking with every reminder that I will not be holding my newborn baby come this September. We saw his tiny limbs, watched in awe as he wiggled around, marveled at his tiny face. Yet two weeks later every dream that we held so tightly for our little love’s future was crushed by the five words that we never dreamt we’d hear: I’m not seeing a heartbeat. I have to admit, even now I am struggling to see the possibility of redemption in this loss. I have never felt a pain such as this, nor did I ever realize that I could love a little one so much. There is no reason here, there is no purpose for this pain. The only glimmer of hope that I have is in the growth that may someday occur through this loss, yet at this moment, all I feel is bitter, jaded, and cheated. I only hope that any healing comes quickly, that this hole in my chest will somehow close.