For the most part, even though it has long been on my mind, I never really wanted to let myself fully think it through because it just felt.....wrong. I mean, it felt ugly to think of how grateful I am for this baby, but at the same time still so grieved for RG, and that my current feeling of peace and joy only came after he had to die. It felt heavy, and wrong, and guilty, and I didn't really want to go there. But I knew that if I didn't think this through, and pray about it, then I might linger in this heaviness for much too long, not allowing myself to be fully grateful, nor fully grieved. I'd be stopping myself from moving forward in Hope.
Part of this is knowing that both events--the death of RG and the conception of this new life in my womb--are the work of my Lord, and knowing that His ways are perfect and never malicious. I know He wouldn't want for me to live half in grief and half in joy.
At first I asked Him, "why this paradox, Lord?" "Why," again, becomes the question. But I've already worked through the "why's" of RG's death, and I never really wanted to question the "why" of this new baby. I didn't want to question why God allowed us to conceive this one, for fear that I was looking my gift horse in the mouth. But somehow, that's what dealing with this paradox came down to. In order to feel both grief and joy, fully in each event, I needed to work through that "why" just as I did when RG died.
And so I pray. I have prayed. I'll continue to pray. (Lift thine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh help!)
This morning, as I was getting ready for work, my mind was mumbling to God; it was not focused prayer, more like stumbling through a jungle of thoughts, with little snippets of prayer and other thoughts popping up like tree roots along the path.
And then, I heard in my mind, as if coming to a clearing at the end of the dark and knotty path, the following:
"This new baby is a gift. This baby is a blessing.
Don't think of this baby in terms of what you have lost."
The Lord was telling me to change my perspective. It's not:
"If RG hadn't died, then this baby wouldn't be here. I'd have one or the other."
Rather, He was asking me to think of it this way:
"The Lord gave me both babies. Two babies! Each with his or her own dignity, soul, and purpose. I can have them both, love them both, grieve--if I must--for both, and REJOICE in both."
The Lord didn't give us RG, and then allow him to die, just for the sake of this baby to be born. Though I do appreciate the possible metaphors of death and redemption, dying and rising, and death-to-new-life, I really think the Lord is asking me not to think of this baby as redemption for RG. I think that kind of thinking puts a lot of pressure on this new baby to be, not only him or herself, but also RG. It also makes RG less of his own self, and denies the reality of him, that which I have treasured and desperately tried to hold on to. Most importantly, I think it would create a tendency to not allow this baby to be born for his or her own sake*, but as some kind of replacement for RG. This is neither fair, nor correct.
This baby was created by God for his or her own sake, as was RG, and the sooner I orient myself toward that paradigm, the better.
And so, it no longer feels ugly, nor heavy, to rejoice in this baby. I can be filled with Hope, knowing that I have been privileged and blessed with three children, created for their own sakes, and gifted to my husband and I by God, in His mercy and glory.
Oh Lord, I thank you. I thank you for each of these three lives, each of these gifts. For your love, your mercy, this insight, those which I do not deserve, but which You give freely. I praise and exalt Your Name!
"But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield." Psalm 5: 11-12
*Thank you, Ecce Fiat, for your help in my journey toward this insight, though you may not have been aware of the help you provided me.