Recently I had an interesting conversation with a friend. (She reads this blog. Hi, friend!) The gist of the conversation is that it would be devastating if I didn't accept Cara's death in response to my assertion that I never would.
I am using the following definitions of these words for the reflections below.
Accept ~ 1. to receive as to meaning, 2. to reconcile oneself to
Reconcile ~ to accept something not desired
Acceptance definition 1 ~ Obviously I understand that she died. She isn't here, I get that. I guess the part of acceptance that I am not ok with is reconciling myself to it.
Is our society's call for reconciliation a desire to fix the broken? "I want you better, so I want you to reconcile to it." It makes me think of the song Fix You that Chris Martin (Coldplay) wrote for his wife after her father died.
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
I just don't believe death is something we should reconcile to, our grief can't be fixed. It's contrary to the original design of life. We were not meant to die; the Design was for life, not death. To reconcile ourselves to death is to accept that which is contrary to the Design.
I'm really thankful for the hours that transpired after Cara's death. My parents were out of town at of all things a funeral when we received the news that Cara's heart was no longer beating. We went home and called our pastor, who quickly made his way to our home. He stayed there with us for eight hours and over the course of that day his wife and another pastor friend from church joined us.
I remember sitting at our kitchen table, trying to eat, only able to take one bite, distraught and shaking my head. "Why?" I asked. "Why did this happen?"
"We'll never know why," he said to me. "But there are two things I can tell you. God is not responsible and you are not responsible. We'll simply never know."
And in that moment, my theology around this entire event was shaped and has not wavered since. The God I love does not kill babies. His desire was for fullness and life. For me to reconcile myself to death is to reconcile to that fact that in some way this was meant to be. To use our definition from above, to accept something that is not desired. I can't reconcile her death.
What I can reconcile myself to is her redemption. Ultimately I want Cara here, but I have reconciled myself to that fact that she is now with God. And in that, I find these verses have all the more meaning...
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)
So for those who have a desire to fix this, I hope our reconciliation to the redemption is enough to satiate that desire, for reconciling ourselves to her death was never our goal.
And for my baby loss friends in the blog world, I would love to hear what acceptance and reconciliation look like in your lives. Is there a desire in those around you to fix the problem? How do you reconcile yourselves to this mess we live in?