By the time you read this, I’ll be on a plane back to New England. Keeping in touch with you, my beloved “View from the Ridge” community, has been a weekly priority, but it’s time to press pause on these posts for a time. We are waiting for one joyous event to happen, and when it does you will get a post in your inbox with just two words in the title!
As many of you know, Mike and I spent five weeks in August and September caring for our four- and two-year-old grandchildren while their newborn sister, Jane, has been hospitalized at Boston Children’s for cardiac surgery followed by rare complications. Our daughter-in-law’s parents have been with the family for the past month, and I’m heading back to provide childcare support for the next “shift”.
I’ve cancelled or rescheduled all commitments – teaching, podcasts, medical appointments – because there’s nowhere I need to be that’s as important as helping our kids when they most need it.
You would do exactly the same. You have done it, I know.
Our hearts are rubbed raw, aren’t they, when we are deeply concerned about those we love?
I’ve been thinking lately about this passage from C.S.Lewis’ classic work: The Four Loves:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
“But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
As I’ve written elsewhere, Jane’s journey to birth was a miracle in itself. Our son and daughter-in-law were given very little chance of ever meeting her.
But it’s sovereignty, not chance, that shapes our lives.
In God’s sovereignty, my beloved youngest sister-in-law survived a workplace shooting when she was only 20.
In God’s sovereignty, Mike’s older three sisters and our brother-in-law survived a mid-flight attack on the flight crew that nearly took down their Nairobi-bound British Air flight 21 years ago.
Mike himself survived emergency surgery and weeks of hospitalization on Cape Cod after a mistaken diagnosis nearly took his life.
Our youngest son, Jordan, survived eight hours of micro-surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital when he was nearly three for a congenital condition that went undiagnosed until it was nearly too late.
We know how very blessed we’ve been as a family.
Blessed, but also broken by the sudden deaths of three family members just weeks apart in late 2019. Where was God then?
Still sovereign. Still loving. Still sustaining.
In his recent memoir Either Way, We’ll Be All Right, pastor Eric Tonjes writes about the searing loss of his young wife last year:
“God, in his greatness and kindness and presentness, is an anchor which holds us fast against the torrent of grief. We can let pain wash over us, and though we will emerge battered, we will not be swept out to be lost at sea.
"…So we are able to look [death] in the teeth and name it for what it is and what it has done to us. Truly walking with God makes our sorrow nameable, as the Psalms exemplify over and over. We don’t have to hide from it if we are hidden in him.”
Yesterday, a Christian leader I admire tweeted two simple words: “She’s home.” The mother Trillia adored had entered the presence of Jesus.
Our family has great reason for hope that baby Jane may be discharged from Boston Children’s Hospital within the next week or two. Significant challenges will remain – the NG tube will come with her, along with precise instructions for ongoing care – but oh the joy when she is finally released.
You’ll know it when you see these words on my next post: SHE’S HOME!
Maggie's first book This Life We Share is available in ebook, audiobook or hardcover HERE.