I read something today that disturbed and challenged me in an unexpected way.
I knew when I clicked on the link that this would be step into unknown territory but I still wanted to see it. To see what possible justification there could be for such a provocative headline.
In my writing I have found an audience and tribe in line with my world view. One that loudly rejects the attempts of others to who have not suffered the loss of a child to assign supernatural agency or that most hateful of platitudes “everything happens for a reason”.
What I hadn’t expected to find was a family that had lost their child, that had gone through the quiet horror of stillbirth and found that not only had their faith been tested, it had been strengthened and for them that demonstration of God’s love was a compensation or reward for the loss of their daughter.
They didn’t welcome it, they hadn’t asked for it but in their own words “we lost a child and gained something better”.
Previously I have written of the contempt I hold people that would use their tragedy to barter for trinkets but this is different. The prize here is something incomprehensible to me.
Here is something that tests my faith in the philosophy that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
For this couple their faith not only sustains them in their grief but they appear to be reassured by the feeling that they have received a reward for their suffering and that reward makes the loss worth it.
Who am I to say that they are wrong? It works for them and I get no sense that they have tried to apply this view on anyone outside of their belief.
It is a truly astonishing read that by turns repulses me and makes me envious of that sense of peace. There is a curious lack of anger and lots of accounts of weeping.
Not the messy, snot dribbling, mad, tear streaked howling from a foetal position that I’m more familiar but a dignified, restrained release of tears.
When I clicked on the article I expected to be angry but what I found instead was a sense of bafflement. The whole thing from the description of the day it all happened and the words of the Pastor and their community in the aftermath felt utterly alien to me.
The nasty cynical part of me believes that the account is just too polished, too tidy to be true. The feeling that it masks a rage that would be unforgivable to articulate, a sorrow too terrible to admit.
That in itself makes me feel bad that I would seek to impose my world view on another in a way that I would find abhorrent if someone did the same to me.
If I am to be a good bereavement befriender and be inclusive and open then I have to understand what faith can bring to grief even if I reject it myself.