Terence and I have the very wonderful joy of expecting a baby. She is due sometime in mid July. While we are over the halfway mark and things are looking good, we have been hesitant to share the news for a few reasons.
The first reason is fear. The truth is that I’ve been pregnant for most of the past 2 years. We’ve had 2 miscarriages in that time. These were under the form of missed miscarriages. That means that we only found out that the hearts had stopped when we went for ultra sounds – one at 13 weeks and the other at 12 weeks. It is very difficult to go through 12 weeks of hoping and imagining new life only to see death. So after 2 miscarriages we weren’t sure if this one would make it.
Another reason we’ve hesitated is because of our many friends who either have had miscarriages as well, who are having trouble conceiving, or who know that they won’t be able to have a child in a biological way. Before going through it ourselves we couldn’t imagine the full extent of the pain that these things bring. Even if our experience wasn’t lasting, we know of what it is to have hope turn to despair. So we’ve held off on Facebook postings of ultra sounds and baby bumps, just in case this is a vulnerable time for someone else.
And finally, I think we haven’t blasted the loudspeakers because we’ve had trouble really believing it ourselves. Even with the bounces and rumblings in my body, I find it hard to wrap my mind around the reality that there is living child in there – a miracle. Around the 15 week mark, when we knew things were going to be ok, I felt a need to speak out against our hesitancy and claim the hope that we have been given. The next week, we finally let our church congregation and friends know.
But all of our hesitancy and fears have left their mark. I think others picked up on this. As we’d announce our news, some understood our undercurrent of joy, but others saw our tentativeness and asked “This is a good thing, right?” or more to the point “was it planned?”. The fact that these questions were asked at all, indicated our own lack of confidence, our own story of disappointment and grief.
As we approach Easter, I am finding that the emotional roller coaster of the last 2 years, has somewhere to land. I find that Easter understands me and understands life. Holy week is filled with stories of disappointment, betrayal, and deep grief. The God-man takes on all the violence of the world and instead of confronting it, he lets it seep into himself. Death and all it claims remains in him for three long days.
Those of us who know the story, anticipate the bright light and pastel colours of Easter morning. The grey stone of the tomb is surrounded by lush green grass as yellow daffodils bloom. But perhaps we anticipate too soon. The reality of the resurrection is met with hesitancy, mistrust, and uncertainty. Even those first eyewitnesses aren’t quite sure what to make of the neatly folded linen wrappings – all the evidence left of a brutal and unjust death.
After grief and loss, the mind struggles to make sense that there could be an alternative to the darkness and powerlessness we are used to. The bright light blinds us and we seek proof and reassurance before we dare to hope. “Could it be He?”.
Indeed, He is standing there, before us, with his hands out. He rushes in to comfort us even before everything is in order, before returning to the Father. And he stands before us still, waiting to take on our griefs and disappointments, waiting to share our pain, hoping that we will believe so that we can share in his joy and in his glory.
As we hand over two children that have been lost to us, we are finding that we are finally able to enter into this joy and this hope. But I think that it’s normal to hesitate. There are many who are not hearing good news around this time. There are many still feeling death and all it claims. Many in our community are still in the grips of loss and distress and uncertainty. And there are many in between wondering if this is really good news. If this can be trusted. If this blinding light is really leading us to a new way of being.
All I can offer to those of you who may be in those places, to those who are not feeling hope and joy bloom afresh, is the true certainty that Jesus is indeed standing before us wanting to comfort us and be near to us. I know this, not because of the joys and hope of Easter, not because of the kicks of new life, but because it is He who got me through the long months of hopelessness and despair. I know this, because I knew then, as I know now, that I am not alone. The only way I can not be alone is if He lives.
As we go through the turmoil of holy week with its stories of betrayal, loss, and despair, may we see our own lives reflected there and may the deaths we face and the deaths we mourn be bathed in the hope of resurrection.
By Jasmine Chandra