Things never really happen the way you expect them to.
My sweet younger sister and her husband were expecting their first baby. He could have come any time. Then on Monday I got this email from my husband (I had left my phone at church the day before so I couldn't get calls.)
"Your dad just called me, he said that Whitney's baby just died. He tried to call you, but the phone wasn't on or something. Give me a call when you can.
I was shocked. I was sure it wasn't true, like it must have been a joke or something. Just a few days earlier I was laughing and joking with my sister, talking about labor and looking at all the cute little things they had acquired for the baby. How does this happen?
Early the next morning I received this text from my sister Julie:
"Sweet little Scotlin was six pounds twenty and a half inches long. The cord was wrapped around his neck. I've never seen anything more beautiful than Whit & Evan's faith and love or more heart breaking than their loss."
At the time I was nursing my own sweet baby. I cried.
I thought holding Scotlin's little body would be too difficult, but as I sat there rocking him, I looked at him expecting to see his chest rise and fall. It didn't. Seeing my sister's pain and the grief of her dear husband was difficult. But it was also beautiful, as Julie said, to see them comfort each other. They would occassionally smile at something. Evan would sob and Whit would just hold him and comfort him. Then she would take a turn grieving and he would do the same for her. Whit pointed out to me that she finally got some stretch marks, I had teased her last week about not having any. I told her they were her battle wounds. At least the ones that are visible. The gaping hole in their hearts will be healed eventually too, leaving only a scar.
This is a very sad event, but nobody is despondent. Everybody is looking forward with a perfect brightness of hope for the day when Scotlin's body and spirit are reunited and they will get to raise him, hold him, tickle him, watch him play and learn. Until then, there are some rough days ahead, but we know they will be comforted by the peace the Gospel brings.
One last thought. I just thought of a quote I love by Hugh B Brown. "At the judgement bar, the Lord will not look us over for medals, degrees, or honors, but for scars."