For those who have never suffered a miscarriage, it's probably hard to know what it's really like. The elusive emptiness; the hollow sorrow of losing something that you never held; something that never had visible substance, yet had become real to you.
It became real because your imagined it. You found out that you were pregnant and soon your mind was alive with images, with wonderment of what it would be like, some day, to hold this little child in your arms. And when the miscarriage happened, all those dreams had no where to go, no funeral, no place to be buried.
Our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. We hadn't planned on or tried to get pregnant. But once we found out, it took no time before we let our imaginations frolic along the path of future parenthood. It felt like a cruel and unbelievable prank when, at 14 weeks, I lost our baby.
I felt so very alone in my pain. Nothing to show for it, other than the dreams I'd dreamed. I ached and wept for days, cocooned in a dark space of disappointment and bewilderment. It took weeks to come to terms with the loss of this dream and with God. Over time, I suppose I did.
Strangely today I feel some of the same anguish. I've grown up a bit since my first miscarriage and learned a bit more about the nature of life and what to expect of it. But today I feel that same elusive emptiness and hollow sorrow. Not because of the loss of a human life within me, but the loss of a dream--a dream that had captured and consumed my imagination for weeks.
In the process of giving birth to this dream of a retreat center (SFI), David and I found what looked like a viable property. It was a little, hand-hewn log home in a cluster of woods with a stream and pond on 5 acres of land. It had much of what we wanted and the setting made our imagination combustible.
Then we found out on Monday, the same day we also found out that we had a guaranteed buy-out on our home, that the cabin had sold over the weekend. So..., here we are, wondering and grieving; aching and wistful as we reminisce about what could have been.
When I had my first miscarriage, God met me in a particular gospel story. Interestingly, last week, before we "miscarried" the dream of our little cabin in the woods, I spent time in imagining prayer in the same story: John 11.
This chapter tells about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The narrative explains that Jesus dearly loved Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Yet, instead of coming to them when he heard the news of Lazarus's serious illness, he tarried and Lazarus died. All along, he told his disciples that this sickness would not "end" in death. And days later Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
As I used my imagination in prayer, walking through the story with Jesus, the theme that surfaced was the reality that God often brings life from death. I know that to be true. My journey with him illustrates that reality over and again.
So, right now I am looking for life, trying hard not to keep my eyes narrow but wide open, studying for signs, even in unlikely places. Maybe the most important thing of all, I'm allowing my dream to continue to inspire my imagination. Perhaps miscarriages have that affect.