I just looked at the clock: it is 12:42 on Friday afternoon. It was exactly four weeks ago that I held my daughter in my hands. What a beautiful moment, what a horrible moment. What a piece of history. What a painful wound.
Have you ever had those moments where you felt like something was etched into you? Like it’s written into, not only your story, but into your skin, your very being?
Heritage did that. She—her life as well as her death—left me wounded.
Just twenty-eight days ago, my wounds were gaping holes: the kind where ripped skin, torn muscle, gushing blood, and deafening screams of anguish set the stage. And I know that someday the wound will heal over to the point where it will be scarred: most people may not even really notice it, they will no longer ask about it or wonder “oy! How did THAT happen?!” But that time is not yet. Right now, my wounds are scabbing—they’re in that stage of going back and forth between bleeding and scabbing, bleeding and scabbing. The wound is not as fresh and gory as it was a month ago, but it is still a wound. It hurts, some days maybe just stinging but other days completely throbbing. As much as I wish I could rush the healing process, there is no way to make a wound heal prematurely—the scabbing, scarring, healing process takes time.
Four weeks sounds like a lot to some people, and in some perspectives and in some situations, it may be. Can you imagine being without food for four weeks? Can you imagine standing still for four weeks? Of course not, because four weeks is a long time. Then again, four weeks is also a short amount of time. Can you imagine marrying someone you just met four weeks ago? Can you imagine climbing Mt. Everest four weeks after you learned to walk? Of course not (or at least, it’s incredibly remarkable and rare if you can!), because four weeks is not much time at all.
People not only wound differently and react to their wounds differently, but they heal differently too.
There may be two people with identical wounds, yet they may heal differently. They may heal at different rates, their scars may look different, their pain levels or pain tolerances may be at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Every time I see a baby or a pregnant belly… every time I even hear about one… every time I think about August… every time I look at my shelf piled high with injections and medications that are sitting untouched… when we hear news from my specialist that makes me think we might not be able to even try again, let alone have success again—these things pick at my scabs. I bleed. I hurt. I cry.
That’s where I am. That is my reality.
It isn’t where I will always be, it will not always be my reality. Because my scabs will harden, dry up, scar over. I won’t always bleed when poked (although I may if I’m sliced or sucker-punched).
The God I serve is the Great Physician, and He is in the business of healing, of redeeming, of making all things new.
Even this grief over the death of my baby girl will be nothing but a scar someday. I don’t know if it will be the kind of scar that you have to squint to see, or if it will be a bulgy purple thing that will burn if something so much as brushes by it. But I know it will scar. That is one of the ways God works: He doesn’t take us on a journey, and then bring us back where He got us at the first place. He takes us on a journey, and then takes us on another one as a changed person. There are purposes for the scars He gives me. One journey leads to another, and the scars I received on previous journeys will be there for reminders—for myself, for others—on subsequent journeys. These scars show who I am, who He made me to be, and how He is remaking me.
So as odd as it sounds, I look forward to the day when I am scarred. When the scabs are gone, when the blood stops flowing, when things have reknit and been remade into something new. It is hard to predict what the purpose will be, but I look forward to finding out.
And in the meantime, I ask for grace to endure the bleeding, the scabbing, the picking.
It’s been four whole weeks already!
It’s only been twenty-eight days since I held her…