Hope in the Wilderness of Grief

Spring is my season. I love feeling the fresh air on my skin after what seems like ages of being inside, huddled against the cold. It’s a good day in the Langr house when I pack away my winter coat and dust off my light, spring jackets. My heart jumps at mornings where the sun peeks through the curtains and little birds wake me up instead of my alarm.

But as I sit and drink my morning coffee on the patio, in those quiet spring mornings, grief will wash over me and I’ll remember that one spring day that changed everything.

For many, March 25th is just another day. But for us, March 25th marks the day that we went into the hospital clutching to hope that everything would be okay, and walking out hours later knowing that our lives would never be the same.

Today marks two years since we lost Marion, our sweet baby who we barely got to know this side of Heaven. For eight short weeks, we rejoiced over his life, so excited to share with others the news that he was coming. But just as quickly as he came, he was gone.

There is no grave marker, no framed sonogram pictures, no baby clothes we’d picked out for him. We just have memories and a picture of a positive pregnancy test.

A friend recently pointed me to Isiah 43, and I’ve been meditating on one verse in particular this Lent. “See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the wilderness I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.”

It’s not an insignificant detail that we lost Marion during Lent. Every year, we set aside time in the liturgical calendar to prepare for intense moments of grief, and passionate moments of hope that are followed by incredible moments of joy. But after we lost Marion and experienced unexplained infertility, I wondered what more God could possibly ask us to carry. I looked for the hope, but was met with cross after cross.

But God was, and still is, doing something new. In the wilderness of our grief, he paves a way. He springs forth with hope in the midst of our suffering, in our wondering about his plan.

So today, I blocked off my calendar. I’m spending time in prayer, treating myself to an afternoon at the coffee shop. I’m living in the present moment, where I know there is grace for us to honor Marion’s life, and to rejoice in the hope that God brings even to our darkest of days.

“Hope is practiced through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God's mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness." - Pope Benedict XVI

Marion, pray for us.