I’ve written here before about the death of our 4 year-old son Mikey almost 5 years ago. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and battled his disease for 9 months before he died. That journey, while being one that no parent ever wants to take, was responsible for so much fruit. You can read more of my thoughts over the years on my caringbridge site. My faith and my writing have grown from that suffering and the continued carrying of the cross. Though it never leaves our side we have gotten very used to carrying it. We have found JOY despite sorrow and loss. I can look at that sweet and beautiful face and know with certainty that his little life was precious and meaningful to God’s design and in the plan for my own salvation. I can even go so far as to say I am thankful for having him, knowing him. loving him and losing him because God is faithful. When He says He has plans to give us a future and a hope He is faithful.
Several weeks ago now, we once again got that dreaded phone call. Every parent’s worst nightmare has become our newest living reality. “Your daughter has been in an accident.” “She’s in critical condition.” “She was hit by a bus.” “She’s intubated for now.” “Mr. Pullano… Your daughter is dying.”
Time is frozen in that moment and yet it steadily marches on as we adjust, adapt, re-define and accept. We’ve been here before. We’ve walked this road of pain, sorrow and grief and, ultimately, with God’s grace, this road of HOPE and FAITH. We will walk it again because God has asked us to.
My understanding is so limited and so narrow. I can’t begin to answer all the Why’s that are so much a part of our human nature. Why us? again… Why her? Why do our other children have to bear this again? It is so unfair. As parents we do all in our power to protect our kids and keep them safe from harm and the evils of the world. This is completely out of our hands. Why Lord would you allow them to suffer so much?
And you are an all-powerful and amazing God. As sure as I have 10 fingers and 10 toes, you could have intervened and prevented this tragedy for us. Why Lord? Why didn’t your angels keep her safe? Why did you allow this in our lives when you so easily could have spared us? You could have intervened and you didn’t.
You could have intervened but you didn’t.
And that leaves only one thing to say.
Jesus I trust in You.
We will seek refuge and take comfort in the arms of God. Where else could we possibly go? We will answer as Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.” (Jn 6:68) bearing in mind the words of Jesus, “I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)
We will bear up and carry this newest cross. How? With God’s grace and with His love. It is a love that is not from us but a divine love that bears all things. It is love for God and the desire to do His Holy and perfect will that will bear this cross. It was the same for Jesus, He came to do his Father’s will, and it wasn’t an easy road to walk. The road to Calvary is never an easy road.
It is a road however that we can freely and humbly choose, even in circumstances that we would never ask for. Had I known, I would have BEGGED my God for this cup to pass me by, but truly not my will but yours be done Father. And armed with that Trust and Love, all a grace, we will freely choose to walk this road alongside our Lord. We will not be felled by the enemy of despair and we will not be victims of darkness. We will walk uprightly in the light, even though we may falter.
The sadness and the grief are sometimes overwhelming. The future looms large with this enormous cross that we will never be out from under. The presence and the weight will be constant companions this side of Heaven. It is no different from so many crosses. The death of any loved one or the decision of a rape victim to choose life for her child when that choice feels impossible. The gay man or woman who chooses celibate love for their life in order to more fully live the Gospel. People suffering with debilitating, life-long illnesses or chronic pain or mental disorders. All are crosses that are not necessarily chosen but can be freely borne. Why would we want to bear them? The same reason Jesus wanted to bear his cross. Love. Pure and simple.
But what about our happiness? I thought you wanted me to be happy in my life God? Giving me children and then taking them away doesn’t sound like the greatest recipe for happiness to me. In fact the pain of it is blinding sometimes. How can I ever be happy with that? At moments I cry out with Jesus, “Father, Why have you forsaken me?”
And the answer comes, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise”
Jesus I trust in You
I want to know the extreme and heavenly love that bears a lifetime of days without my first-born baby girl and our first-born son. I want to bear the fruit and know the Joy that can only be understood in light of the pain and the suffering. We can’t truly know light without darkness. What a thrilling discovery when we are in darkness to understand that the light dispels it perfectly and completely.
Do a good and perfect work in me Lord. You are my potter and I am your clay.
Jesus I Trust in You