I’ve been posting often on my Facebook author page. Thought I’d share with you one of my favorite poems and my thoughts about how it applies to the collective grief we are all experiencing:
When Sarah was born, Ben and I had no way of knowing whether she would live or die. We still do not have statistics on the mortality rates or life expectancy of someone with her rare disease, Apert syndrome.
At first, I lived under the umbrella of a very dark and dismal fear – not unlike the fear circulating these days with the pandemic going on. I’ve come to understand that this type of fear stems from uncertainty and the unknown.
Even today, we do not know what will take Sarah’s life. Because the Apert community is very small, we know most of the people worldwide who either have the diagnosis or have a child with it. The past 7 years, I have received notifications when a person with Apert dies – sometimes they are infants who pass in their sleep, sometimes elementary-aged children from complications with surgeries, sometimes older adults with unknown cause of death.
I didn’t know how to live moment to moment before Sarah came along. All my life, I’d planned every minute detail so as to curtail any possible downfall or mishap that could disrupt what little security I felt. But I found myself drowning in anxiety living this way after Sarah was born. All the what ifs and if onlys nearly ruined me.
So my spiritual director shared this poem by Rainer Rilke, which has become beloved to me since I first read it. I’m sharing it with you today, because I want to encourage you to live today.
Understand, as I have come to, that life is a mystery, as is death. The COVID-19 pandemic leaves us all full of more questions than answers. But the gift of gratitude exists in sitting with the questions and remaining content without possessing answers.
It seems to me that fear ends where trust begins. Both converge in the murkiness of mystery, but God often dwells there, too. He is with us in the fear and beckons us to step outside of it into the realm of the unknown and trust Him.
Text (c) 2020 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved. Poem (c) Rainer Maria Rilke. Image created on Canva.com.