"For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know as also I am known." 1 Corinthians 13:12
A woman who lost her son to stillbirth nearly three years ago recently said to me that once we lose a child, it is as if we have one foot here and one foot in heaven.
She is right.
I would venture to say it is more like the two halves of our soul--one in heaven and one on earth. And it does feel like a huge painful tear.
Georgiana is somewhere I cannot go--yet. In the dark days following her death, I have asked Jesus to take me, to please take my earthly life and take me to heaven so I can be with her, so I will no longer feel the suffocating sadness of being separated from her.
I imagine this is just how Mary felt as she beheld her beloved crucified Son on the cross. The darkness she must have felt, the hopelessness, the fear. My heart is pierced as hers, my stomach a heavy stone.
She must have seen the sunrise on Easter Saturday and felt as black as I do when the sun rises. Her son was crucified, in the most shameful and horrific way. She watched him endure hours of physical agony. I know her heart. She looked at the sunrise on Easter Saturday and thought, my son is in a tomb.
One of my best, dearest friends wrote me an email yesterday. God has given her the grace to understand my pain, to understand Mary's pain. She suffers with us. Here is what she wrote me:
"Katie, there are times when I feel restless at night, or feel a dark cloud of deep sadness enveloping me, or sometimes I start crying so much while I'm driving that I have to pull over...a consuming emptiness, like I'm crying out for help and grasping for help, but no one hears me, and my hands are clawing at nothingness. I think during these times, that I am suffering with you...almost as if God is linking our hearts across the miles, so I can suffer with you, my dearest friend."
Yes, my dear beautiful friend, God has linked our hearts. This is it, a consuming emptiness, so much it physically aches. I am so thankful for you.
But we know today how the story ends. We know that Jesus has come in glory. He has flung open the cold, heavy door of the tomb. He has conquered sin and death. His rising from the dead conquered the father of lies.
Appearance was not reality for Mary. As she wept for her child and felt as if she had died with Him, He was preparing a feast like we have never seen. He was opening heaven and opening rooms for all of us in his Father's house.
He has promised us this. He has promised us lilies of the valley and tomorrow. The veil will rise and "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, or sorrow, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4)
The Lord of the Rings has long been my favorite book. I always loved the way J.R.R. Tolkien described death and heaven.
Pippin: I didn't think it would end this way.
Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.
Pippin: What? Gandalf? See what?
Gandalf: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
Pippin: Well, that isn't so bad.
Gandalf: No. No, it isn't.
My dearest Georgiana, my star in the sky, my saint with the beautiful name, my daughter, how I love you. How I thank God for you, that I knew you inside me, that I know you still. Pray for all of us who are sad without you, watch over me and my loved ones. Please help Jesus prepare a place for mommy and daddy in heaven, a place with beautiful white shores, where it is endlessly green and the flowers grow. Dear baby, how my heart and soul ache for you, I wish desperately to be with you. I am so happy you are in our Savior's arms. I love you forever, Mama