Cry Together: The Light of Day

third in an ongoing series…

There is something I should note going forward; Anna is not the only friend with whom I have had this experience. There have been several friends of mine who have struggled with infertility and miscarriage. I can say that almost each time I was pregnant, including miscarriages I walked with a friend who was also pregnant. Three times I went on to deliver a healthy baby and they did not, three times they went on to deliver and I did not. I have also walked with friends who never got pregnant, never miscarried and never stopped desiring motherhood even so.

I find myself skittish now about how to move with other women. This is sad to me. I think, perhaps, what should have come from this relational distress should be a greater understanding of how to find our common language. It is easy to speak Hope, easy to offer up bite sized helpings based on scriptural references. God WILL grant you the desires of your heart, He DOES have plans for you, plans to prosper you, Remember the persistent widow…blah blah blah…easily said. While all of these moments of Hope are genuine, prayed for, shared, they are not always meant to be delivered by someone who has no need for that particular brand of Hope.

I think what would have been life giving would have been for us to operate with Grace as a mediator, rather than Hope. Grace is difficult to speak because Grace operates so often without words. Grace is quiet and still. Grace does not require action but rather waiting and breathing and listening. When Hope enters the room it fills in the empty spaces like expandable foam, entering into the cracks but Grace, Grace is the air we breathe. It is what fuels this “walk beside me empathy” that is required. Hope may be dashed to the rocks when spoken in the silence but Grace is sweet when given, in noise, in quiet, in grief.

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7 thoughts on “Cry Together: The Light of Day

  1. This is bittersweet and thought-provoking.

    I think Christians (especially in the South) really drop the ball at relating hope/grace/faith/truth to the constant of human pain by offering these “pat answers” to complex situations.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a well-meaning friend say “just have faith” to me. True, yes, but maddening, really, because the empathetic nature of the God of the Bible is not reflected in that statement.

  2. For what it’s worth, I’m in the exact opposite situation to you! I’ve had the miscarriage, my friend, the only person I knew who couldn’t have children, is miraculously pregnant. I’m delighted, I felt terrible being pregnant when she wasn’t so I can sympathise with your predicament.

    For my part, now it’s the other way around I would be happy to share in my friend’s joy but I think maybe she’s playing it down – partly to me because she feels bad for me and partly because she’s terrified of losing her baby too. She’s too scared to enjoy her pregnancy and I can understand that.

    In Anna’s situation, I know what I’d want. I’d want to know that the silences are caused by your sympathy rather than your ennuie. I would guess that a good coping strategy would be to sit her down and explain how hard it is, how bad you feel, how you want to help, how you know you’ve made mistakes. You’re human, you may well have made mistakes, moved too fast, too slow or maybe even not moved when she needed you to. Walking with people is hard – sometimes a bit too hard, sometimes you have to ask them where they’re headed if you want to keep in step! My advice to her, of course, would be to tell you!

    Neither Anna or any of your other friends will mind you asking for guidance from them – it shows sensitivity and concern. Sometimes that’s all it takes, just knowing that people care and that if you want to talk to them, you can. They won’t mind you feeling guilty about your happiness in the face of their sadness either. Even if they are raw and angry now, deep down they know the situation is not your or their fault.

    Level with them, give them space to be angry and space to be alone. Broaching the subject – if you can – means they will be able to talk about it. That’s like lifting a weight. For my part, when I had a miscarriage I just wanted to be able to mention it. In reality, telling people was rather how I imagine it feels to tell somebody you have cancer. A lot of the time I felt that I needed to be stronger than they did.

    People don’t always know how to react. I was tactless enough to suggest ways they could help but not everyone is like mee! šŸ˜‰ It’s hard but it’s worth communicating. Even if it’s a disaster now, you may find it makes it easier for both of you to smooth out the wrinkles later on.

    You have my sympathy. I hope what what I said has helped a little….

    Cheers

    BC

  3. Thanks BC…I wish everyone WAS like you! LOL…I love what you said here:
    “In reality, telling people was rather how I imagine it feels to tell somebody you have cancer. A lot of the time I felt that I needed to be stronger than they did.”

    Someone said to me recently after reading this entry that she felt that Grace needed to be given on BOTH ends and I heartily agree. Unfortunately, all I have within my control are my own actions and my own words.
    But to me, being willing to extend Grace with no expectation of receiving it in return is the essence of that practice.

    That being said, I also love what you said regarding silence…
    “Iā€™d want to know that the silences are caused by your sympathy rather than your ennuie.”

    Well stated…yes…the hard part is showing that I am interested in what she has to say WHILE I am extending Grace. I don’t think that Grace means an absence of words though now that I consider it….it may mean few, well chosen words.

    My next installment will be about saying “I’m sorry” which seems to be the only thing left to say…and yet…is so completely inadequate.

    Once, I was talking to someone I really count as a close friend. She called to say that she was miscarrying. I cried…because I cry at the loss each time…something in my hardwiring I suppose…and I said, “You know, I just love you…I just do…and I am so sad for the loss of this baby.” Then we both cried and we came away with the knowledge that Love can live where Grief visits.

    ooo…that’s a good line…expect to see that in my next post. LOL…

    thanks for being you, BC…
    peace
    mm

  4. Gina
    thanks for the comments…yes, you are right, the face of God is certainly not reflected in those pat answers.

    One pet peeve I have always had is the use of scripture for band-aids…when in reality the Living Word is made to be a balm for aid in healing…sometimes wounds must be left open for a while to heal correctly, sometimes they require stitching but Scripture in any case, at the correct moment applied, is meant to sink into the skin rather than sit on top of it.

    peace
    mm

  5. Bless you! You really do say lovely things! I feel all warm and toasty!

    A couple of other things I’ve just thought of. One, just remember that whatever happens, just follow your heart. So long as you’ve done the grace thing, you’re all square! If you’ve done all you can to reach out, you can’t do any more and like I said, though your advances may well be rejected but healing may well take place in time. Two, don’t think about it too much. Think about how you can help her but don’t think too hard about whether or not you’re doing it “right”. I think you may find you’ll know what to say and do, once you start the conversation.

    Love what you say about scripture to Gina. I think there is comfort in scripture but bringing comfort the way scripture tells you to is the most important thing.

    Take care you.

    Cheers

    BC

  6. Skittish is good. Skittish is required of the joyful. But, Mrs. M, asking for grace “from both sides” is asking too much. You are either ministering to your grieving friend, or you are not. Ministering is about reduced expectations. You would not visit a friend in the hospital and be disappointed that she can’t play tennis. In like manner you should not expect a grieving infertile to have any grace to offer you. I sense you are working out in these posts the loss of some of these friendships – but maybe they were never yours to save.

  7. Miss Joy
    Welcome Back!
    As far as my expectations are concerned…I actually do NOT have that expectation for my friends. While I do agree that grace OUGHT to be given on both sides, I agree that having the expectation is not mine to request.

    The question needs to be asked of oneself…what is it that GOD requires of me? What is it that GOD expects of me? That question is not answered by me for you or anyone else when push comes to shove…it is answered by you, in your own life, in your own mind, in your own heart. And in this, we take responsibility for our lives…in word and deed.

    Using your metaphor I think I would amend it a bit. Of course I would not have an expectation that my friend play tennis with me. I would HOPE however that my friend would not be angry that I was able to play tennis. Additionally I would HOPE that I would not make insensitive comments to my friend pointing out the fact that she is unable to play tennis and I am able. I would HOPE that one day she would play tennis herself if that was something she desired.

    What is difficult for me is when I WOULD LIKE to visit my friend in the hospital and she does not even WANT me to come and be near her because she cannot play tennis and I can.

    This is the real problem, Joy. This is where the relationship perishes.

    You are right in your insight about my working out of these friendships. I am also, though, aiming even higher than that. I am looking for the bigger picture than just me and my experience. I am looking for the drawing out of this dynamic between friends and relations. I am looking for the light and the dark and the everything in between.

    I do not know if I will find answers. I have my theories, my metaphors, if you will…but only TIME speaks in my particular losses so I must wait and make attempts at recognizing the hand of God as I do so.

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