Monday, September 19, 2011

Peace in This Story

Recently I had a friend ask how it was for me to watch Caden Stanley fight for his life in the CICU, facing many of the same struggles Samuel faced but healing beautifully and even amazing his cardiologist with his recovery.  She wondered if it was hard for me to watch Caden heal while Samuel did not -- if I read about Caden's recovery and felt sad, wishing Samuel had been healed too.  When I read her message asking me how I was doing, it struck me that I had never once read about Caden and actively wished Samuel's story had paralleled his.  I had to think about it for awhile, but I realized it's because I am so confident this is God's story for us, God's story for Samuel.  And I don't want any story other than the one God wants.  Do I wish Samuel was alive?  Of course.  But do I actually spend time wishing it?  No.  Because I am convinced this is God's best for us.  It's clearly God's best for Samuel.  I mean, how could Heaven not be the best thing for him?  And when I see what beautiful things God has done in my family, in people around us, in my heart, I am thankful for the story God wrote (and is still writing) in Samuel's life and death.  Samuel's life certainly shaped us, but his death has shaped us even more.  There is mercy in the story God is telling -- even in Samuel's death.  A severe mercy, perhaps, but mercy nonetheless. 

Honestly, I can't even imagine a different story.  I am at peace with the one I am living.  I rejoice in the way God has written it.  Though I miss Samuel every day and wonder what life would be like if he was here, I embrace the narrative He has penned -- the narrative without Samuel.  I don't know how to explain it without sounding unfeeling or calloused, but I don't spend time wishing for what might have been when what is so clearly resounds of God's love, grace, mercy, and goodness.  My soul finds peace in the way life is, and I know Samuel is fully alive, joyful, healed, and whole in Heaven.  What more could I want?

Despite that peace and contentment, there have been a few poignantly painful moments during Anna's life when I have thought of Samuel's death.  I so deeply enjoy babies, find such fulfillment in being momma to one.  In fact, I feel like it's the thing more than any else that I was made to do.  I love it in ways I don't have words to explain.  Sometimes I feel like my heart will burst for the joy I have in holding Anna and caring for her, in making her smile, in snuggling her and soothing her, in nursing her, in being the one person in the world who can meet her every need.  Having a baby of my own makes my heart go pitterpatter.  I don't mind the exhaustion, the unending accumulation of newly dirty laundry, the crying, the way my whole life revolves around feedings, the complete lack of spare time.  I relish those things, even.  Having a baby in the house brings out the best in me.  Being back in this place after four years, I can see more clearly just how much I love it.  One day last week, in a moment of overwhelming joy at Little Miss Anna Pea, I thought about how God made me to love babies, how He knew I would feel this way with each of my sweet babies (though with Caleb it wasn't immediate), and how He took my Samuel away during his infancy, never giving me the chance to care for him like my other three, without having ever nursed him or rocked him.  In that moment, Samuel's death felt cruel to me -- God making me to love babyhood and yet robbing me of Samuel's.  Later in the day I told Bryan about it and couldn't even choke it out.  It hurt too much.  And every once in awhile when Anna sleeps in my arms and cracks her eye open, I see Samuel in her in a way that positively takes my breath away, and I can't breathe for a minute, thinking I'm holding Samuel in a peaceful sleep.  Those are moments of deep grief for me, seeing so clearly what I missed.

I know I missed a lot.  A lifetime of joy and relationship.  Of laughter and pain.  Of getting to know my son.  But I can't even begin to understand what I've gained.  I think over the course of my life I will slowly see more and more of what God has done in me and in the people around me because of Samuel.  He has refined my heart.  He has deepened my love for Him.  He has knit Bryan and I together in ways I couldn't have imagined or foreseen.  He has given me a profound respect for my husband.  He has grown my heart for my children and for others.  He has shown me Himself.  And I am eternally grateful.  There is no story I would rather live than this exact one my good and faithful God has written for me.  I wouldn't go back and rewrite my story if I could because this story I'm living is just as it should be -- at least in this fallen world where death and sin abound.   Someday Jesus will return, and death will be defeated once and for all; until then I will find peace in this story without Samuel, knowing that God's plan is far better than my own.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post, and your heart is just so wonderful . . . I want you to know how Samuel's life and your hearts have encouraged and strengthened us so much through everything with caden - thank you for opening up to us and encouraging us and being such a blessing to so many people!