Monday, October 18, 2010

Developing grace

I'm in the process of reading Elizabeth Edwards book called "Resilience". The premise of the book is a "reflection of the burdens and gifts of facing life's adversities". Those that know of her, know she is the wife of John Edwards, the man who left her for another woman after 3 decades of marriage. Insult to injury came from her having terminal breast cancer. More than all of that, having lost their 16 year old son, Wade, their first born, to a freak wind that blew his car off of the hwy. in 1996. It's difficult to read... for me anyway. So much of what she says however, is straight from my brain. I suppose it's that underlying question of all who belong to this tragic club, (the one where you loose a child) seem to feel at one time or another. She says, I quote:

"I knew if I could believe in the deepest part of me that death was more than just death, if I could have but the hope of one day with my son, I could live through the other days knowing I had that one I could share with him. And if I could embrace that, we could have-together- life after death reunited, I could live with such peace now knowing I would be with him- not in a year, but someday. But belief in that required belief in a place where we would reunite, a heaven, and therefore a god. But what kind of God could there be if He allowed the wind to take Wade from us? Could I expect such beneficence from the God who let him die? How can I lean on a God who had taken this righteous boy, or even on one who had allowed him to be taken? The faith that might have been so important to me was, I will be honest, more than sorely tested.
I had to reconcile what I had believed, with what I had experienced. I had believed in a God who protected the righteous. I had believed that God would intervene to protect the innocent.
I haven't the will to be angry with God. I don't understand, and all my efforts at understanding are thwarted, paths into brambles, paths into deserts. And yet, I cannot be angry. I know I want something of God. I want to be beside my son, and if I am to hope for this, He is my only way. Where would anger bring me? Further and farther from my boy. What use is that, save the satisfaction of it. The only satisfaction I crave is the warmth of my boys touch and the sound of his voice. I need that hope. It sustains me. But the search for hope was hard, and that path to God's grace was difficult to find. The map I knew did not comport with the ground on which I was walking.
The God to whom I prayed daily for Wade's eternal soul had to be another god than the one I had imagined. I had to reconsider what I had been taught. My God, my new understanding of God is that he does not promise us protection and intervention. He promises only salvation and enlightenment."

So you can see where the difficulty comes for me in reading her book. It puts into words the never ending thoughts and questions that swirl through my head still, after nine years.

I like what she says though, and I like how she says it.
Developing grace.


  1. Does it take a loss to realize that it is not a promise of protection and intervention but one of salvation and enlightenment? I think so.

  2. That's why I started going to church. I figured praying got me the 'God connection' for 'protection and intervention'.
    In regards to Ryan, I'm counting on 'salvation' for our future.
    The 'enlightenment' is a long and difficult journey.
    Yeah, I think it takes a loss.

  3. or it takes watching a friend go thru a loss.....

  4. I read that, "The valley of suffering is the vale of soul making." Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son.
    Further, "Sorrow indicates that people who have suffered loss are living authentically in a world of misery. It enlarges the soul until the soul is capable of mourning and rejoicing simultaneously, of feeling the world's pain and hoping for the world's healing at the same time."