First published in Dutch on 15 August 2017
You never cry alone. These words touched me deeply. ‘Our broken heart always breaks Gods heart in two. You never cry alone’. As usual with Ann Voskamps blogs and books, I let these words of her sink in deeply.
I struggle with things happening around me, again and again: ‘They split up’, ‘He’s been hospitalized and it will not get any better’, ‘Cancer came back’. And not that long ago: ‘I am so very sorry, but you’re baby passed away.’
My heart shrinks, I am feeling nauseous. Total apathy combats with total despair and because I can’t decide to sink in one of these states, I freeze. How do I get beyond this. What is the solution now. Tell me what to do. But there is nothing that I or anyone can do. This is too big. So I am just sitting there, feeling defeated. searching for words, for a solution, for a strategy to cope with this.
When I was young and needed surgery again (I had quite a lot of surgeries between the age of 3 months and 12 years), I pretended to be somewhere else until things went better. I went into a state of: ‘I am not here, please tell me when you’re done and I can be ‘normal’ again.’ And at a certain point, it was over. After that you were better, or not, and you got surgery again, but there was a certain progress. It does not always work that way. A divorce is forever. Death is forever. Some diseases don’t heal and some situations do not change.
And then you have to accept, mourn, find a new way to live. But you never cry alone. ‘Who knows why God allows that your heart breaks. But still the answer must be important enough, because God allowed His heart to break as well.’ This is beyond comprehension and I still don’t get it. In the past months quite some people said: God is crying with you. I often think about that, but it doesn’t really help yet.
And still, I believe that it is true. I do not understand what happens. That people have to go through such terrible losses, treatments, processes. That we lost our child. But I don’t cry alone. A peculiar kind of comfort this is. You would wish that the situation changes. That relationships restore, that illnesses or behavioral disorders disappear, that the child comes alive. But a lot of times, that does not happen.
Maybe He did not came to make our lives easier. Maybe He came to live with us, to help us carry the load. He Himself suffered tremendously. God lost His only Son in death. He understands us. He knows us. Somewhere it says in the bible, that He catches our tears. That no tear is unnoticed by Him. I must say, that that is comforting to me. And in that sense it is true: apparently you never cry alone.
Quotes are my translation out of Ann Voskamp: Gebroken leven. Franeker, 2016, p. 52, which is a translation of: The Broken way.