Months before the ocean became a really scary place for me, it was a place of refuge.
Corey and I headed out the Seal Rock, OR for a weekend retreat of writing with the hilarious Beth Woolsey and 10 of our soon-to-be-new-best-friends.
(If you would smile for a photo once in a while Cor, I’d have better pictures to share of you!) We breathed in the electric ocean air, watching from those bay windows as rain turned to sun turned to hail turned to rain turned to rainbow… Winter ocean at its finest. We spent the weekend writing, walking, refreshing, crying, commiserating, validating and chatting late into the night. For an extrovert like me, it was heaven on earth.
The food was great, content was excellent and company even better.
We were offered a writing prompt at the beginning of the weekend. Knowing that we had a prompt was a little nerve-wracking for me. On the very first night, I whispered to the women present that I was worried about being a downer. I had come that weekend with the intention to write and process experiences related to Lucas’ miscarriage. I was worried the prompt would be something so far, so different from that… That everyone would churn out amusing anecdotes about boogers or pets or fluffy things, and I would be left in the world of sorrow, alone.
Turns out, like most things involving the Holy Spirit, the prompt was perfect: write about an experience that went a direction you didn’t expect or anticipate. Miscarriage is certainly that. I already wrote about the actual miscarriage, and our memorial service afterward, but there have been several moments of profound healing that have happened since. That was my writing subject.
I thought I knew what I needed for healing. I thought I knew what God should give me and show me, how He should make me feel in order to be whole again.
His plan was so much more profound than mine.
So, below I offer you the piece I wrote that weekend. A piece about healing and hope, demonstrating the incredible power of the Holy Spirit. There is more to this story, parts that I will keep close to me forever, but here is the part I set free. The part I share with those who love us. Those who love Lucas.
Come on Jesus, slay me. I’m ready Holy Spirit. I’m already so broken. I already hurt so much. I know you can heal me.
Slay me to heal me.
I prayed, almost fervently.
And I stood up. Felt the hands of the prayer team, heavy on my shoulders. On my head. Words were spoken. Beautiful words of healing and protection.
Real healing, Jesus. I begged. Healing, Holy Spirit.
No words, no warmth. No wholeness. Nothing but more tears. The same tears I had been crying for a month. Hot, ugly tears that only a mother cries.
A baby-less mother.
So I sat back down in my pew. A little bit sadder, though it didn’t seem possible.
I was so sure I knew the path to healing. So sure I knew how I should be healed.
You can give me this peace God. I know you can. Heal this broken heart of mine.
Then my heart began to ache. My hand flew to my chest, trying to understand this very physical pain that stabbed me. And through my veil of tears, a vision appeared. I saw this child of mine. My lost child.
And he saw me.
Parts of his life played out before me and in each scene he turned to look at me, his eyes catching mine.
First day of school, looking over his tiny backpack.
Riding a tire swing over a lazy river, grinning big with joy.
Reaching for a diploma, finding my face in a stadium of thousands.
Watching his bride walk down the aisle, nervous, happy eyes flicking quickly toward me.
Driving away with a van full of kids, waving through the window as I waved back.
Each moment was beautiful and melancholy and filled with the bittersweet feelings of change and transition.
A voice resonated in me. Different than a thought or a sound. It came from the very heart I was holding.
All those visions were tiny goodbyes, Mom. I could have pierced your heart with a million moments of goodbye. But instead, I just had to say one big goodbye. I only had to pierce your heart one time. My hand pushed deeper into my aching chest.
And then I saw him as he could have been: an adult, tall and strong walking away from me again. Jesus on one side, Mary on the other, his guardian angel at his back, and he turned to catch my eyes, one last time.
I love you Mom. Tell Dad that I love him too, and please don’t cry for me any more. Unless those are tears of Joy, because I am ok. I am happy. And I get to pray for you for eternity.
And he was gone.
Goodbye I whispered, tears falling from my lips onto my empty breast.
My heart stopped aching. Hand dropping to my lap, resting in a reverent openness.
Thank you, I prayed, almost fervently.
Sadness is still my chosen mantle, wrapped tightly around my shoulders. And even now I don’t understand how to trade that comfortable sorrow for joy. But I asked for real healing. And that’s exactly what I got.
Because, a broken heart doesn’t just disappear. Long after the acute pain has faded, it still bleeds and weeps. Wounds become scars.
And my heart, once pierced, is scarred forever.