When I was expecting my third child my oldest was in pre-school. There were, amongst the parents of her classmates, two other women expecting their third children also. Their babies were due within days of my own and as it turned out we all had beautiful, healthy baby girls. Then, two years later, when I was expecting my fourth child, I wondered if there was something in the water because 7 of my friends were all expecting at the same time. In that whole group, only one baby was a girl. And now, 6 years later, my son is still friends with most of the little boys whose births came within weeks and months of his own. When the joyous occasions of these little “baby booms” occurred I do not remember being overly contemplative about it. My thoughts really were more along the lines of, “What is in the water around here?”
The last few weeks I have experienced something sort of akin to the baby booms of my past but much less joyful. In the time since my grandfather’s passing away, just a few weeks ago, I have heard of so many other deaths. The week that I was attending my grandpa’s funeral I saw an e-mail about a woman in our home school support group who had lost her father. My mother heard about the death of one of her cousins. And, my brother-in-law shared with us that one of his uncles had passed away also. Then, just this week, two of my friends have suffered the loss of close loved ones. One on Monday evening and one on Friday morning. And, at my son’s soccer game this morning, I overheard one of the other families talking about the funeral they were heading to following the game. I have to admit I much prefer the news of new lives beginning rather than all this news of lives coming to an end. And though the multiple births that occurred in a short amount of time in my community did not make me wonder, “What is God doing and what does he have planned next?”, the losses I have heard about and experienced myself in recent days, have certainly triggered such thoughts.
I have prayed more for comfort and peace in the last few weeks than maybe ever before in my life. I have had to lean on my faith in God’s goodness and trust in His plans more lately than ever before. I don’t know why so many good lives have recently ended. I can’t make sense of the sadness my family and friends have been feeling. But, I remind myself that I must trust that God is in control and will bring good out of all this somehow.
I remember talking to a friend right after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. She told me about how upset she was and about her middle school aged son asking why she was crying. She answered him that so many mother’s arms were empty after the loss of so many lives. She could feel their pain so empathetically it drove her to tears. Her son, in his youthful innocence and wisdom, said, “but, Mom, Jesus’ arms are so full right now.” Though the circumstances are much, much different, that young man’s words of comfort from so many years ago in the face of unimaginable sorrow following 9/11, seem to ring just as true today as they did then…. And so, we must move forward and trust knowing that we are not alone and the world is still a place full of hope and blessings, for God‘s arms are full and His heart is pouring forth comfort and peace.