com-a prefix meaning “with,” “together,” “in association”
Last weekend I headed to Colorado for my 20th high school reunion. I grew up in a really small community in the mountains west of Denver. I moved to Carolina shortly after I graduated from college and have really never looked back. Let's just say I was ambivalent (at best) about going...especially in light of losing Matthew so recently. I gave myself space to go or not go. On Thursday night, the night of my scheduled flight, I got on the plane. And I am really glad I did.
Many of my classmates knew about my loss from Facebook or through the grapevine. And what I found from these people that I used to drink beer with on the side of the mountain or sing in Christmas pageants with as 2nd graders, was deep empathy. People were eager to ask questions and to listen. They gave me great big hugs and teared up as we talked about Matthew. And they shared...their multiple stories of miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility. I am learning that this life experience is much more common than I ever realized. Common, but not easy.
God works in mysterious ways. I left my reunion weekend with the profound sense that I had been given a window into these old friends' worlds that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Because of my loss, I was able to enter into their stories in a way that would not have likely occurred at a reunion if all this hadn't happened. It doesn't make losing Matthew worth it, but it does remind me that God never leaves hard things unredeemed. I was given a gift to share in people's stories and that somehow helps. I know further that I am not alone in this. I share my loss with them and my friends' losses are shared by me. And somehow, as we share, we weave our hearts together, and find ourselves more buoyant against the currents of life's storms.