My education began a few decades ago.
I have three healthy and happy children who are grown, but my hands held five babies that did not live.
During pregnancies about which I had no illusions, I was told that everything would work out, that I could trust the Lord, and that God was in control. I learned that well-meaning assurances hold no power against biological realities.
I learned that good and loving and kind people will talk like this when they don’t know what to say.
I learned that the rich gift of presence can be ruined with words.
I know well the hesitation of questioning God, but I learned that the Bible is filled with prophets and psalmists and a Christ who did just this.
I learned the earth-moving power of a small kindness from the wise love of a woman who brought flowers and presented them with tears, and without saying a word, left.
I felt the generous care of friends who helped us gather ourselves before a season of deep sadness. They were there with take-out as we arrived from the hospital and stayed to talk about anything but our loss.
I learned the grace of laughter for an evening that braced us for the floodwaters of grief.
I learned the disciplines necessary to walk well through the valley of the shadow of death. They do not include the expectation of answers, but courage to sit with the questions.
I have learned much from sorrow, and yet…