When I started this essay Rebecca and I were accepting the fact that our first pregnancy may end in a miscarriage. By the time it was completed, we had received word that we were no longer pregnant with our first child.
Two weeks prior, on a Friday, we were meeting with Rebecca’s doctor and were told that if a miscarriage were to happen, we needed to trust that this was all in God’s plan. By Saturday, “God’s plan” had reared its ugly head with blood work confirming that we were no longer pregnant. We were less than assured when several others repeated the godforsaken words of “This is all in God’s plan.”
All. In. God’s. Plan.
The sentence churns my stomach as if bile is building up to fill my throat. In the ears of one who does not share that particular worldview, we heard that we really should not be upset; instead we were to accept that all of our joy was intended to come to a screeching halt. To many, this phrase might very well bring a sense of satisfaction, but there is a great number of people for whom those words are far from helpful. We all do not share the same view on God’s sovereignty, and people should speak peace when a person is grieving, not their preference.
Well-intended words are not what people need in times of distress. Rebecca and I heard many other phrases: “God is preparing you for something” or “This is all in God’s plan” or “It wasn’t meant to be” or “Everything happens for a reason.” (Take a moment to reflect on what everything actually means) “Baby is in a better place now.”
It seemed as though the individuals who were telling us to accept that this was God’s plan were saying that God gave life only to rip it away from us in a moment. The pro-life camp was quick to remind us of the importance of God’s plan as our pregnancy was terminated in the same breath of the one who gave life. In respect to that line of thinking, we were being told to “just deal with it.”
In reality, what happened sucks, and that is exactly what our priest said to us when he came to visit. He was present, asked questions, and permitted us to lead the conversation in the midst of our grief. Justification for the situation was not welcomed by myself or Rebecca; we wanted someone to remind us there was a future without grief. Would it ever be appropriate for a person to hear that they are to “just deal with it” when someone experiences the death of a loved one?
Regardless of what a person finds to be true, it is not best practice to to speak your particular view when a person is experiencing grief, loss or death. It is best to be present, ask questions, listen, and speak peace in response to what is said.
I do not believe that God is the causation of what happens; rather, God happens to things with us. After hearing we were no longer going to hold our little baby Blaine, our stomachs were filled with aches and wails of pain came from our heart. I do not believe that this situation was caused to teach us a lesson, prepare us or even that it was part of some grand plan. In the moment I needed to feel God’s presence in others, acknowledging the situation as upsetting, not justified.
This is shared not to say that no one can believe that that all things are part of some grand blueprint of a plan, but rather to show that not everyone shares the same worldview. I share this experience to help others see that not everyone finds joy or comfort the same way when they are grieving.
Speak peace and love, not your own understanding when consoling another.