NOTE: I’m including links to another blog and an old post of my own. You’ll see that I am unskilled at inserting them smoothly. Yet another in the list of losses–Dominic was my tech advisor…
When my husband and I visited the Sequoia National Forest, we were overwhelmed by the enormity and beauty of the trees. Even standing beside them, it is hard to realize how very huge they are. But when you are able to drive your car through one of them, that gives you some perspective.
Losing a child changes your perspective. Some things look bigger than they did before and some much smaller.
And some things I thought I understood, I find I don’t understand at all.
Lately I have been challenged to re-read Bible stories I once blazed through like a novel and pay more attention to the people in them and their feelings and lives.
I was reminded of the story of Hagar by fellow blogger Janet Boxx [Boxxbanter.wordpress.com] when she commented on my recent post Sparrows Do Fall:
And I am ashamed to realize that until now, I saw Hagar’s story as a kind of minor corollary to the over-arching and “more important” story of Abraham.
But to Hagar and Ishmael, this was THE story–it was THEIR story and it was as important as any other story that was happening at the same time.
Perspective is everything.
Eye-witness testimony is often touted as the most solid proof when presenting a criminal case. But those who study eye-witness accounts know that there can be as many versions of a story as there are people who see it.
What stands out to one person will be ignored or misremembered by another. Different witnesses focus on different aspects of the same scene because their individual experiences make them vulnerable to having their attention turned to various details.
I know that before I lost a child, I was more likely to focus on the “good” that came from the child’s death: testimonies of lives changed, people coming to Christ, community activism on behalf of a cause or a condition that contributed to the death.
But now, I’m consumed by thoughts of the child’s parents. I think about the siblings left behind. I know by experience that they are just beginning a life-long journey that will be so very hard.
When others view the lives of bereaved parents, it is easier for them to place the narrative that consumes the attention, energy and passion of the parents within the larger story of “what God is doing in the world” because they (the non-bereaved) can see the panorama while we (the bereaved) are looking through a keyhole.
And no matter how you twist and turn to try to expand your view when it is limited by physical facts that defy alteration, you just can’t do it.
Hagar called the LORD, Jehovah-Roi,” The God Who Sees”.
As a slave, no doubt Hagar was often overlooked and undervalued. But the God of the Universe, SAW HER.
I know in my bones that God does see.
I don’t know or understand what He’s doing, but I know He sees. It is both comforting and disturbing–part of my ongoing wrestling.
Being seen is powerful. When another comes alongside as witness to my journey, it is helpful. It speaks courage to my heart to keep on walking and to continue to trust.