November 30, 2004

Theology of Death

It's taken me a week and a half to gain enough perspective and composure to write that my friend's baby died. Even after all this time, I still don't have the words to tell you how sad that makes me. In all honesty, I was miserable the days following his death. I was so sad and I was so terribly homesick. I thought I'd dealt with the worst of the homesickness the second week I was here, back when I still didn't have a car and I wanted to kill my boss and I felt completely isolated...but the wave of homesickness that washed over me that weekend was devastating. I'm not writing this to gain sympathy or to be melodramatic about it...but I'm just trying to be honest.

My mom told some people a couple of weeks ago that I was homesick and I got mad at her because 1) it wasn't really true at that point, and 2) because it did damage to my prideful, wants-to-be-independent and fearless ego. Homesickness is a weakness in my book, so it's not easy for me to admit it.

But I was, without a doubt, completely homesick.

However, like I said last week, I've gotten over the majority of it and knowing that I'm going home in less than 3 weeks (!!!!!) for Christmas makes my life very do-able right now.

I've never really had to deal with death in my immediate family, although as each month passes and my grandparents' health continues to fail, I am sure that time is coming sooner than I would like to think. My best friend's dad died when we were in middle school and my early childhood babysitter died when I was in 5th grade, but that is as close as I've come to losing someone I truly care about and know. And even though I only spent 2 days with that little baby, his mother means so much to me that it felt like I was losing a relative. I'll admit I was a little peeved at God over the whole deal, but being mad at God didn't solve anything or give me any answers, so I've decided to let go of my anger. I still don't understand why it happened the way it did. I probably won't ever.

I'm not one of those people that believes God takes babies "because He needs them in Heaven." And I'm not even sure I believe that it is in God's plan for them to die at such a young age. I believe in a God that loves us to a fault and wants goodness in our lives, and I think the loss of a child is a tragic and unexplainable thing...but I know it presents kind of a screwy theology to say it wasn't in God's will for it to happen. I do believe that he is better off in heaven because he gets to skip all the pain and evil of this world and go straight to Jesus...but for his mother's sake, I wish we could have gotten to watch him grow up.

I trust in God and I try not to question Him when things like this happen, but I'm human, with a very human heart and brain, and I just can't understand it.

God doesn't offer us all the explanations and answers our hearts desire, but at least He promises to be with us while we live through it. For now, I am leaning on Him and praying for peace for my friend and her family.


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