(Ryan and Laura sitting by Juliette’s grave)
Father’s Day. Out of town for the weekend. Late to church.
Of course, our seats were in the front.
As we slid into place, the Assistant Pastor was calling out the names of young fathers whose wives had delivered babies this year.
One by one, the fathers came forward; big smiles; gratefully accepting their gift: a pound of yummy-flavored coffee.
When the Pastor was finished reading through his list of names, he had one more bag left.
“One bag left! Any other fathers out there whose wives delivered a baby or are expecting a baby this year?”
Ryan and I pressed into each other for support and sat, silently. We knew we just couldn’t jump up and down, waving our arms for a pound of coffee. This was a celebration of receiving children. We couldn’t bear to blanket it with our loss. But in our hearts, we cried out, “We did! We delivered a baby this year! Her name is Juliette and she is beautiful and perfect and sweet… We did…”
And there it was: in the midst of an otherwise sunny, coffee-filled Sunday: Sorrow.
Nor did my sister and her husband jump up and down, waving their arms for a pound of coffee, though they had every reason to. For, at the same time that the Lord received Juliette, He began crafting their baby. Joy!
We all just sat in silence.
Because, suddenly, what’s a pound of coffee??
When sorrow and joy mingle, their dance silences the room; their bitter-sweet union is beyond human understanding.
So, all we can do is gasp for breath under the weight of their entwined hands.
And then, if we can muster up the energy, we grasp each other’s hands, weep if we must, laugh if we may, and wonder.
Joy in affliction is rooted in the hope of resurrection, but our experience of suffering also deepens the root of that hope.
- John Piper