“I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer… Where I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven — there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. — Love — the word — it brings nothing. — I am told God loves me — and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”
These are the words of Mother Teresa.
Her words have mirrored my thoughts. How can that be? She is Mother Theresa, the embodiment of faith, sacrifice and endurance of goodness. How did she feel the emptiness of a non communicative God? Yet, she has. Enough so that she wrote about it. She too felt her thoughts and prayers come back to her, piercing her heart with their void.
Imagine this faithful, selfless woman writing with such desperation and emptiness? Feeling like nothing, not even God’s love could touch her soul. It makes me feel like I’m in good company some days. Does it not validate your pain on those days when the ache and loneliness of this endless loss makes you feel a stranger in this world and even to your own self?
“Who have I become that I cannot find solace even in my Lord? I don’t know this person who has only fleeting moments of peace and comfort. Where is she? Where am I?” I’ve thought this so often.
I am among those like Mother Theresa, at least in that wondering. Even with this, I feel as though I can still be counted among the faithful, the endure-ers, the hold-outs for hope.
We are not alone in our search for answers, for a voice from heaven. We are not alone in our search for understanding. We are not alone in our search for something-anything-to touch our soul for more than a moments relief.
Those living with great or traumatic loss wonder about their “normalcy” through it. Are we suffering needlessly? Are we doing this? How do we even measure that when the enormity and distance of the pain is so unnatural, so fully un-Godly? Is this what child loss is? I can tell you assuredly, yes. It shakes us loose from careers, families, marriages, friendships and trust in the very existence of GOD, and to the deepest part of our being.
It is the upheaval of everything we knew to be true and safe and right in our life. Our foundation, crumbled.
Worse, it feels like the most merciless of betrayals from The One who is supposed to love us so much He “has counted every hair on our head.” Tragic betrayal of The One we’ve cried out to with the deepest longings of our heart. We only wish the betrayal would’ve been for our own life instead. Not our child’s.
Child loss is this.
Have we though, completely lost our faith, our salvation, because of our constant questioning of our God? I feel so un-hinged sometimes to have had such blind and unwavering faith- until I didn’t any more. Until I questioned His very existence. But I am not alone in that. Read Mother Theresa’s words again. “There is no one to answer.” She felt abandoned and alone. Sound familiar? It is what people of faith who are victims of great sorrow and injustice feel. We are not alone in this. Most importantly, we are not alone from Him either. That I do hold onto.
You have wrapped yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through. — Lamentations 3:44
What would be worse than the doubting, however, would be to envelope so deep into this cloud that we miss what blessings and comfort can come our way. The words of that scripture conjure such a perfect picture. Wrapped with a cloud. Soft, insulated, protected, no chance of scraping along the sharp edges of this world as we do. Insulation from more pain. But that is not a place to reside, as we will miss out. A place to visit maybe, on some days when there is no other choice or strength? But not forever.
He knows our pain, our distrust and our insatiable longing for our child. Jesus himself cried out to His Father from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Certainly in our frail humanness, we are allowed that cry?
Don’t submerge so deeply that “no prayer can pass through.” I assess daily and choose carefully how, where and with whom to step forward. It’s a survival tactic that is second nature now.
Yet, still I step,
still I move,
still I hope.
May the prayers not stop, but “pass through” to us and for us. I see, I feel how threatening and inhospitable this life can be for people like us and yet there can still be expectancy, richness, beauty and hope here as well. I do believe this- against the grain of this loss.