I suspected the week was going to be difficult when I saw the clouds rolling in on Sunday night. I checked the forecast to confirm those suspicions, and sure enough, angry pictures of clouds and lightning met my eyes- seven days of storming.
This isn’t unusual for the time of year in this part of the country, but living in a trailer, we quickly discovered, makes bad weather more of a trial. (Just imagine the sound of water pouring on a piece of aluminum foil or thunder rolling around inside a tin can) The trailer is also inclined to be slightly leaky, so we prepared for the week with buckets and towels and wished we had a good stock of rubber boots to deal with the mud pit I knew our yard was about to become.
But things weren’t so bad. Yes it rained copiously, but the boys were enjoying it, tromping around outside with umbrellas and squealing in half- terrified delight when the thunder boomed too closely. I started some projects inside the house- scraping and stripping old windows that needed restoring, and the hubby got the toilet connected so we no longer needed to lug in buckets of water every time we wanted to use it. (It’s the little things, folks) Even Christian was adjusting to all the changes.
And the forecast wasn’t as bleak as promised. We had occasional interludes of sun between the floods, allowing the yard some time to dry and us some time to scrape the sticky southern clay off our shoes.
But then came the middle of the week. As we were preparing for the day’s work on Wednesday, we received a phone call- one of those phone calls that we never thought would come. My younger sister, my sister who has been through so many painful trials in her young life, was in the hospital. She had lost her baby.
It probably wasn’t the wisest thing I have ever done, leaving all my kids behind with daddy and tearing off to the hospital, half-blinded by tears, ignoring stop signs and missing three turns in my haste to get there, but there was nothing else to be done.
The rest of the day was a sort of surreal, out-of-body experience- a nightmarish deja- vu as I watched my sister and her husband walk the same path we did, almost nine years ago to the day. All through those long hours I sat with my mouth closed, knowing the futility of words in such a case, knowing no platitudes or comforting cliches would do anything to disperse the dense fog of confusion and pain that had descended on them. If you know their story, you know how painful such a turn of events must be.
This has been an enormous blow to my whole family, since the news of her pregnancy had come to us as a ray of hope in a very dark time. And yesterday, I must admit, I was angry- angrier than I have ever been with God. The rain outside was flooding the world, the inside of my house so dark with it’s boarded up windows that we could hardly see. I was so weary of the darkness, I went to one of the windows and wrenched off the board that was covering it, desperate for some light. But the water poured in and I was soon wrestling the sodden board back in place. And so I sat with my children in the dark, bitterly resigned to the fact that sometimes God calls us to be just that- confused children, sitting in darkness.
But moments of despair like these can’t last forever. I was soon forced to shake off my lethargy and go to the airport to pick up the first in a line of people who are coming to share this burden of grief with them. My sisters, my mother, other family members, and of course the body of Christ, fulfilling with zeal their call to mourn with those who mourn.
For to everything there is a season, and now, once again, is the season of mourning. Our hoped for season of joy is put off yet again. Tomorrow we bury my nephew Zion next to my daughter Hosanna and wait for a better day. Please pray for us.