On Sunday morning I drove to church with tears blurring my vision and waves of sadness crashing over me. I was in the midst a full blown meltdown in the car. I gasped for air as my shoulders shook, and my cheeks became a growing delta of salt and makeup. It was dangerous. I couldn't seem to keep the tears from coming so I made a quick detour and ended up at Jonah's grave, a safe a quiet place to cry. I parked the car, grabbed a tissue, crumbled at his headstone and wept tears of true and deep sorrow.
That morning a subtle change in a pinkish line on a home pregnancy test signaled another impending miscarriage and another failed round of IVF. More prayers spoken and seemingly lost in the ether between heaven and earth. More heartache upon an ever growing stack of heartache. More money down the drain. And yet another opportunity to meltdown in the car.
As I sat in my Sunday best on the slightly wet lawn of the cemetery I felt alone. Of course I felt intense disappointment, but I recognized that the root of my emotion was a sense of being unheard and forsaken.
When Jonah passed away I felt everything so deeply. The pain was heavy, but it was matched with a lightness of peace and perspective that was transcendent. The grief seemed endless, but so did God's love for me. I felt heartbroken, but I did not feel forsaken. As time has passed the emotions have become less extreme, more subtle, and more easily veiled by life's everyday distractions. And so I find myself wondering sometimes if God is still there and if He knows me.
I asked those questions aloud as I contemplated the difficult path that Jordan and I have travelled for the past 4 years. I wondered if I had missed some signal that would have led us down a smoother way. I begged God to show me His hand in my life. I asked Him to make his influence clear to me, even unmistakeable. I knew that if I could be reminded of His presence, and know of His love for me, I could keep trying. Once my face was sufficiently red and puffy, and every word of frustration and pain was uttered, I pulled myself together and finished my interrupted journey to church. Then I spent about an hour in the hallway and the bathroom trying to hide the evidence of a tumultuous morning.
The next morning I had my blood drawn, and by afternoon my intuition and the fading pregnancy were confirmed. I received the news at work and felt sufficiently numb to continue through meetings and menial tasks without much emotion.
But when I got home I found a simple white envelope waiting for me on the table. It contained a beautiful letter from a woman, a mother, I've never met. She told me that she visited the Sacred Gifts exhibition at BYU and saw our story about loving and losing Jonah on the IPad app. As she listened to me talk about Jonah, she knew instantly about his genetic condition because 6 months ago she gave birth to a little boy with Treacher Collins Syndrome. She wrote with such love of how my testimony and experience touched her heart and also answered her prayers. Then she wrote these words:
I hope that this note is something that can strengthen your testimony and reminds you that the Lord has a divine purpose and plan for all of us. I also hope this note reassures you that prayers are truly answered, because you were an answer to ours.
I knew as I read those words that she had been inspired to write them. I began to weep again, this time because I felt truly and uniquely known in a vast and endless universe. I recognized that this answer was inspired by God, penned by the hand of a loving mother, and delivered to my doorstep on the very day I needed it. I could not deny the beauty and power of such a quiet miracle. Her words echoed exactly the essence of my heartfelt and desperate plea from the previous morning, words whispered in the solitude of a sacred space.
As I read and cried, the peace I sought poured over me and I knew, as I have known before, that God is a God of love. I could feel His love for me, especially in the midst of pain. I felt sure that my prayers had been answered even while disappointment lingered. I felt gratitude creep past my resentment, and a fledgling hope remove the fears that were circling my heart. I envisioned in my mind a beautiful cycle of sincere prayers lifting up towards heaven and being redirected gracefully and purposefully towards the hearts and minds of ordinary people who need answers, who need each other, and who need to feel known in the universe.
Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely. ... He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf