It is a quiet and dark night here in St. Louis. I am laying on my couch under a softly lit lamp and a warm cozy blanket. Emily and Blakely are fast asleep in the bedroom and I can hear the dull pur of the fan. I am sitting here writing this because my dang movie that I rented from ITunes won’t download fast enough. I have been wanting to write for a while and I really wanted to write something today since it is Good Friday, but as the day went along I never made time for it. So now in this quiet, calm and ambient moment I am writing something down (who knows what I will write).
Lately, I have been enjoying moments like these. The moments when my family is safe asleep in the other room and we are all snug away in the comfort of our little basement apartment. I love that I have a little family in a little home. It feels good like a cool glass of milk and warm cookies feels good. The kind of good feeling that fills and warms the deep center of your body. I am feeling that right now as I write. I feel whole and complete and that this is the way things are supposed to be. My family is safe and sound in a good home with good food and good friends. I am so thankful for moments like these that I just want to stop time and sit in it forever. But sure enough the seconds keep ticking and the night gets darker and darker and sooner or later I will be asleep as well. Then I will wake up to a new day and another day closer to an inevitable moment that felt so far away 9 months ago but is uncomfortably close today.
Any moment now Emily could tell me it is time. Heck she could wake up right now and come out of the bedroom and shout, “Grab the bags, let’s go to the hospital!” Having that thought right now sends butterflies all through my stomach. There is a deep excitement that I feel for the impending birth of Blakely but at the same time a pressing pain. My heart locks up when I think about meeting Blakely face to face. It freezes because it is hurt and blessed all at the same time. It’s like my heart is caught in the middle of a tug of war with death and life pulling at both ends. Right now the rope is held in tension but when Blakely is born the rope is going to stay taught or it is going to go limp. I am so scared that the rope will go limp. I want more than anything for Blakely to live. I do not want her to die and I do not want to see her die. I do not want my family to be broken and crushed. I don’t want to have to bury her and I do not want to say, “Goodbye,” when I just met her, kissed her, held her and snuggled her. I don’t know what I am going to do if death wins, but I know that I will break. I will cry over and over again and my heart will squeeze and twist and I will feel pierced and hollow.
Over the last few nights my prayer has been, “Father don’t let this happen, please let there be another way!” I am begging God to change the outcome that seems so imminent to the doctors. I am begging him to make this right and I know that he can and I know that he is able, but at the same time I know that he is still good and still God, even if he doesn’t. I write this last sentence realizing the weight of what I am saying – I really do mean it. Even if Blakely dies, God is still God, he is still good and I will still worship him.
If Blakely dies my family will always be incomplete… broken. Every child that we have in the future is 2nd, 3rd, 4th, but never 1st. Every family picture in the future will be a haunting reminder that someone is missing. Every family vacation or family moment will be incomplete because Blakely will not be there. Lately, these thoughts have been making me sad. They have been painful to think about and I have been grieving through these thoughts. Over and over again I keep coming to the same conclusion – this is not the way it is supposed to be.
So here on Good Friday, I want to say, “This is not okay, sin and death are not okay, broken families are not okay and broken people are not okay [pause]… but Jesus.” Let me say that this Good Friday I feel a little closer to the cross than I have ever felt before. It is at the cross where I see someone else’s child die and someone else’s first born pass away. It is at the cross where my God says to me in this moment, “Michael, I know how you feel – my family has been broken, my firstborn passed away – death has scarred me!”
I paused as I wrote this previous sentence, because it is a warm and comforting thought that my God knows what I am feeling. It is sort of like this blanket that surrounds my body and holds me snug. When Jesus died on the cross he wrapped me up and he wrapped my family up and he wrapped Blakely up and declared that we belong to him. There is no where that I could go or nothing that can be done to me that can unravel this love. There is nothing that can be done to Blakely that can unravel his love for her not even death. So two thousand years ago when Jesus died on the cross God projected his voice into the future where it sweetly whispers in my ear tonight in this present moment in my little home with my little family, “It is finished.” No matter what happens in my life it is all complete – I will be made whole again, my family will be made whole again, Blakely will be made whole again, because Jesus died and still lives. This is good and this is something that will keep my heart warm when the nights of my life get even more darker and the quiet gets even more deafening and the cold gets even more bitter.