Three years ago today, we wrapped our second sweet baby boy in a soft blue blanket, kissed his perfect little baby cheeks, told him that we loved him, and walked away forever. It was by far the most traumatic day of my life, more traumatic even than our first goodbye just two years earlier. I left a piece of me behind as I walked away that morning. My heart very nearly died. And as I awoke this morning, my body remembered. Deep nail marks embedded into clenched palms, head pounding, muscles tensed. With no conscious thought of the significance of this day, while still bleary eyed and unfocused in my mind, my body already knew. As did my soul. You see, the mind is pretty good and shoving things aside, at avoiding, at moving on. Not so the body and the spirit. No, they do not forget.
Three years later. And I miss him. And my heart aches. And I don't understand. Three years later, and I don't have all of the answers. I don't have any of them, really. Three years later, I haven't learned just one perfect shiny life lesson that I can put up proudly on display somewhere as I smile and say, "See? This is the reason. It all makes perfect sense now." Not even close.
Even so, it is well with my soul.
There is a gift in knowing that you do not have all of the answers. There is a gift in knowing that healing doesn't always mean sunshine and rainbows. And there is a gift in knowing that sometimes life DOES give us more than we can handle. Far, far more. Three years later, these things I know for sure...
I do not have all of the answers. I probably never will. That is why I rest in the arms of the One who does have the answers. Because I do not labour falsely under the delusion that I will ever figure it all out. There is peace in that. It gives my mind rest.
Healing. Sometimes in this world, you can be healed and still live with pain. Imagine for a moment that I am an amputee, having lost both of my arms. While the wounds have closed over and the bleeding has stopped, there are still phantom pains where those limbs used to be. And though I have adapted, and become fully capable even with them gone, I would still do anything to have them back. I am a better person than I was before I lost them. God has moulded me. Changed me. And I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. But the fact is, they're still gone. And every single thing that I do in life is impacted by that. And it hurts. And I'll miss them. Forever.
And last but not least - in this life, we are sometimes given FAR MORE than we can handle. Before losing my boys, I embraced the delusion that "God won't give you more than you can handle". It was a lie that I bought into innocently. But it was a lie. Nowhere in scripture is such a promise found. If you do your research, you'll discover that it's true. How ridiculous it seems to me now to think that I could handle ANYTHING life happened to throw at me. How arrogant I was. The truth is, I have been given far more than I could handle. Twice. And I can take none of the credit for surviving it. None of the credit for seeing my life transformed for the better in the midst of pain beyond fathoming. No, all of the credit goes to the One who carried me. Who walked me through fire. Who kept my feet from slipping. Who didn't let me drown. Without Him, I would not be breathing.
As we prepare to move to a new home, I have shed many tears about leaving this place. This is the home that we carried our sweet Michael into, snug and cozy in his infant seat, wrapped in the family shawl. This is the home where we rocked him and cuddled him, bathed him and dressed him. And as we prepare to leave this beloved place behind, I knew I needed something to honour those memories to be placed somewhere prominent in our new home. So I have been searching for paintings or wall hangings with the words, "It is well with my soul." And as I searched, I stumbled upon just one that was a little different. "Even so, it is well with my soul".
Even with questions. Even with pain. Even when life gives you more than you can handle.
It's been a hard day. I miss a little boy who was once mine.
Even so, it is well with my soul.