She Lost Her Only Child
Susan had nothing to live for. Not anymore. Her only child, the joy of her life and the life in her joy was dead. They only wanted her money, but they took much more when they killed her only daughter. Why her? To be taken so suddenly and so senselessly! Why? At 17, the world was at Lily’s feet and open doors with endless possibilities beckoned her. Now, the only door that was open was the one that led to her grave. As Susan walked that dreaded aisle behind her daughter’s casket, thoughts of what could have been fluttered about her mind. Senior prom. Graduation. College. Marriage. She would have probably walked down this same aisle if she were–. Oh these wretched thoughts! They taunted her; they pulled her deeper into the abyss of sorrow yet she wanted nothing more, than to get lost in it. How was she ever going to exist in a life that, for her, had lost its soul?
The weeks following Lily’s funeral, words of comfort by family and friends became aimless chatter filled with clichéd, broken promises that only mirrored her empty life. She had heard them all. “Trust God. He will redeem your loss and use it for your good. There is purpose in all pain. Lean on God, take comfort in Him. He understands your pain. After all, He suffered the loss of His only child too. Lily is in a better place now and you will join her someday.” Oh that ‘someday’ could be today! Intellectually, Susan understood them all. As a Christian she believed they were true but, emotionally, they seemed like lies – lies that had carved a dead-end path in her heart and led her grief down a one way street.
Lying on Lily’s bed wrapped up in the sheets which still bore her scent, Susan randomly skipped through the bible hoping to encounter the faith she felt had abandoned her. She had developed a strong faith and, since becoming a Christian 28 years ago, had nourished this seed to become a tree with roots that grew deep. What had become of this tree and why had it failed to provide her the shade she so desperately needed? Then, there it was, embroidered on a small handmade pillow that now lay on Lily’s bed – Roots and Wings(a). It was a gift from her mother when Lily was born and Susan often discussed with her daughter the meaning and importance of the message. It was a message that now spoke to her. Susan had always given Lily roots; roots in faith and truth, roots in strong values and roots in the solidarity and strength of their family. Susan knew that she would face the day when Lily would leave home to start her own life and that she would need to give her wings, to let her go. She expected to one day face this lesson, but not this way.
Susan’s roots taught her to trust and to believe that, with time, her emotions would eventually catch up with what she had always known to be true – God would indeed redeem her pain and give her the grace to carry on. As clichéd as these words were to her in the midst of her pain, she was not alone in this trial. She had been pushing God away because of her anger and sorrow and now it was time to trust Him and to lean on Him. And so, she made a choice to do just that. It was more difficult than easy but she realized that on the days when she rebelled against God, nothing changed. Her journey was the same, her pain was the same and her daughter was still dead. However, on the good days when she chose to trust and to lean on God, she realized that while her circumstances had still not changed, she was fueled with a sense of hope that gave her the strength to make it through the day.
Psalm 30: 5: “weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Proverbs 3:5-7: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.
(a)“There are two things we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings.” Hodding Carter