Hold on! A cure is coming!
As I pen these words, the newest grandchild of my editor friend is being laid to rest. This sweet child never got the opportunity to fill her lungs with fresh air or look in the faces of her mommy and daddy. Her parents eagerly awaited her birth so they could hold her and call her by name. Later, with tear-stained faces they gazed at her, marveling at her perfection. Knowing that soon they would see her no more they committed to memory each delicate feature. Shock and utter disbelief engulfed them as they realized they had to whisper goodbye before they could say hello, and it shattered their hearts. How could it be possible that their beautiful daughter’s life was over before it began?
I can’t imagine the agony these parents must feel. They will never get to change their daughter’s diapers, dress her in frilly outfits, watch her take her first step, save her first tooth, or hear her squeal with delight as she greets grandma at every precious visit. No firsts. Only sorrow. How could the circle of life be so cruel?
Those of us on a grief journey identify with the excruciating pain the parents must feel and the endless questions which have no answers. Collectively, we’ve lost our children before birth, as newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, teens and so on. My firstborn died at the young age of 30. I will never feel that I had enough time with him before he ended his pain and took his own life. I know you feel the same; there will never be enough time.
We know the circle of life. Incongruently, we live it, love it, and hate it. We love the birth of each new baby, but we hate the end of life whether it comes after a loved one lived a full life or any age before. We hate surviving without our children who die from so many causes; the worst is, in my opinion, the shock of sudden death from suicide or murder. We are never ready to lose those we love, and still, the circle of life continues as it always has.
It gives me some perspective when I explore the beginning of life when God blew his breath into the man he had just formed out of Eden dirt, and the first man’s chest filled with air from his Creator’s lungs. He sat up, blinked at God’s smiling face, and heard God call him by name, “Adam, welcome to eternal life!”
I can’t imagine that God had a plan B just in case plan A failed, but perhaps He did. We do have recorded in the Bible God’s warning to our first parents. He told them to expect an enemy to make an appearance. They were warned to heed God’s instruction and be prepared to take cover. In the lush grandeur of the Garden of Eden, I rather imagine neither Adam nor Eve could believe that an enemy lurked about with ill will on his mind.
Those of us familiar with the Genesis story know what happened next. The sin of Adam and Eve changed the trajectory of Planet Earth forever. In our present day, we know that the circle of life holds both life and death because our planet has always been under the siege of the enemy, Satan. Even though we are created in God’s image, we are still born into sin, the sin of all generations, including the present generation.
I know this is a solemn blog so far, but I don’t apologize for sharing my personal truth. It is a harsh, sobering reality. Those of us on a grief journey come to realize slowly that this journey will likely be lifelong. We accept the life part. It is almost impossible to accept the death part, but hold on . . . a cure is coming!
I am confident that one day soon there will be no more death. No more disease. No more war. No more famine. No more sin. No more pain from any cause. There will even be no more tears! God himself will wipe them away (Revelation 21:4). These are promises I cling to. These are promises I pray that many readers will cling to. The circle of life takes courage to live, but we can stand tall, shoulder to shoulder, in faith that the eternal life we’ve been promised, will be just that. Eternal!
As I worked on this piece, the tune of an old gospel song, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” kept streaming through my mind. Some of you might have heard it before. I remember it best sung by Johnny Cash in his familiar baritone. The title is asking a question about the circle of life, knowing that the circle is broken over and over in this life, as we are forced to bury those we love. The chorus, however, looks forward to a time when the circle will no longer be broken in the “by and by.” I have included the chorus below. Hum along if you like.
Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
In the sky, Lord, in the sky
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5
Verses shared from New Living Translation (NLT)