Turning the calendar page to begin a new year, I am challenged once again to focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on truth. No sweet saying can give me the strength or endurance I need to make it through the days ahead.
“Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…’~Mary Poppins
It’s a wonderful thought–that even the bitterest medicine can be made tolerable by a tiny taste of sweetness. But it’s not true.
Some things are too hard to swallow no matter how you try to disguise them.
Losing a child is one of them.
I have been a student of the Bible for decades-I take Scripture seriously, believe it with my whole heart and trust that the truth it contains is necessary and sufficient for this life and the life to come. But when Dominic died, I found I was forced to look again at verses I thought I understood.
There is no easy answer for why children die–no sweet saying that can wash away the pain and the sorrow and the regret of burying your son.
But I know this: if my healing depends on me, I am lost.
If the God of heaven is not the God of all, then I have no hope.
If Jesus didn’t really come, and die and rise again, I have nothing to look forward to.
Ann Lamott recounts this tale in her book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith:
“There’s a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, “Why on our hearts, and not in them?” The rabbi answered, “Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.”
I can’t paste a Bible verse on my broken heart like a Band-aid on a skinned knee–the wound is too great and the damage too extensive.
So I will wait for the holy words to fall inside.