Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gabriel's Gift

Sometimes things happen that we just don't have the ability to explain. At least, not here on earth. When my kids ask me things like, "Why did God make mosquitoes?" or, "Why are my eyes brown instead of green?" I'll answer them with, "That's a Heaven Question." It wouldn't work to try to give them some long, complicated scientific answer, even if there is one. They wouldn't understand it, and they'd get bored with the specifics long before they heard the answer. So I tell them it's a Heaven Question--they'll have to wait until they get to Heaven and then ask their Heavenly Father.

It's not to put them off, really. It just works way better than, "I don't know." I reserve that particular phrase for things that I can easily find the answer to, like, "What's 18 times 298?"

My Heaven Question has been a little deeper lately.

It's nearly a year since the loss of our baby Gabriel. We never saw our child. Never held our baby. Never knew if it was a boy or a girl. The name Gabriel was written on my heart as soon as I knew what was happening. Since angels are neither male nor female, Gabriel is a perfect name.

My Heaven Question has been, "What is Gabriel's gift to me?"

As my Snuggle Bug grew under my heart, I was worried that I wouldn't bond with her once she was born. My entire pregnancy with her, I was just terrified that I would lose her, too. I never felt safe, never felt secure in the blessing that God had bestowed on me...never felt quite worthy. Part of it was because I just couldn't get comfortable with being pregnant again so soon. Part of it was because I almost didn't want to have this new child--I selfishly wanted the one I had lost. And somewhere in my heart, I almost hoped I wouldn't bond with her because I just knew that I was going to lose her anyway. Ah, the lack of faith has never served to gladden a heart.

But God's timing is perfect, and all His gifts are good.

I was talking with my friend T., the Buggie's Godmother today. Here is a women who is strong in her faith, whether she knows it from moment to moment or not. God Himself chose her as Godmother to this baby girl and put her right squarely on my heart as such. And what a blessing that He did so. During our conversation today, I told her that I am really feeling grieved again as we near this anniversary. I thought I had come to a place of peace in my spirit about Gabriel, but lately I'm discovering that it's not so. She helped me to ponder this, and to search more deeply for what Gabriel's gift really might be.

Through losing Gabriel, my heart has become so painfully tender that at times it's almost unbearable. The ability to feel pain in others' stead has been magnified so greatly that its weight nearly suffocates me at times. It brings me so close to our Lord when I meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries that I can't get through them with dry eyes, and certainly not without a bruised heart. How He must have suffered under the weight of grief as His friends slept while the sweat from His brow mixed with blood....to be led away by our sins and be brutally tortured and humiliated.....to have the crushing weight of the Cross laid on His shoulders, bringing Him to His knees on the streets of the city which had lately been filled with rejoicing at His entrance.....to have the piercing of spikes driven through His flesh and bones, hanging His human frame onto the Cross under the scorching sun, with His Mother and disciple whom He loved there with Him in His hours of suffering.......to the very last breath of life which brought pagans to their knees with the knowledge of His Divinity.....

Could we ever bear such suffering? Would we, given the chance?

We are, you know. Through the small opportunities to suffer that Our Lord so generously gives us during our lifetime, we are given the chance to suffer with Him, to unite our hearts to His in our pain.

I'm trying so keep my face at the surface, to breathe in His blessings while I flounder underneath. It's amazing to me that when I forget to ask Him to help me, I almost feel pulled under by the weight of this thing--but the moment I remember He's there, and that His suffering was so much greater than mine, I can literally feel Him lifting me up to Him, giving me the very breath of life.

Also, through this loss, I am better able to connect with my friend C., the beautiful friend who lost her sweet baby Raphael. I am able to offer my suffering in hopes that hers becomes less, that she is better able to bear the gift of suffering that Jesus has given to her. Eleven weeks ago, my sweet baby girl was born. Three days later, at 51 days old, Raphael was called Home. We had made such plans to spend time together after our babies were born, and those plans were not part of His Plan. That's a hard blow, and we've not really been able to spend time together since. She is still working through her grief. I am working through mine, too. It's a difficult thing to grieve for a friend when you cannot have "face time." But I'm hopeful that my suffering for her has been given to her through Grace--that it has somehow lessened her burden.

Perhaps this has all been Gabriel's gift. "Suffer well," Fr. E. told me. "It is for souls."

I thank God for such wisdom in my life. Through these good people, He is showing me that this suffering is indeed a gift. I hope I am accepting it and using it well.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

You know, after reading your post I am again amazed by just how personal, how personalized, the Lord makes each one's suffering. And yet, mysteriously, there is that common element to all. There's that question, "will you follow Me, the Way, all the way?"

Suffering tests our endurance, our faith, our hope, our love. But suffering well reminds us that we're serious. Too often people talk about bearing trials to show Jesus our love. Ok, fine, so maybe; but it seems to me that He allows us to struggle that we might be reminded of the promises we have made to Him. In doing that, He reminds us of His.