I have not blogged for a while.
In February my daughter Maria passed away.
And so, while I have continued to write about codes as required by the commitments I had previously made to others, I have not been inclined to spend any additional time writing about codes for this blog site.
But yesterday was Epiphany (January 6). And when I shared with a friend all the lessons I learned from having had my daughter, and having lost her, she said I had gone through an Epiphany. So today I am blogging about that epiphany.
I learned I was pregnant with Maria while a Senior at Northwestern University. Her biological father said he didn’t care what I did about the baby as long as it didn’t involve him. Most of my friends said that having a baby at that stage of our lives was “not in their schedule”. It would be “inconvenient” and they would probably “consider terminating the pregnancy”.
I figured God would not have given me this baby if he didn’t think I could handle it. And I knew I had been blessed with a loving and supportive family who would help me take care of her. So I had her and I kept her.
God was faithful to us. I learned that if I relied upon God he would provide. That was my first lesson.
Not only will he provide, but if we let him, he can do fantastic things with our lives. Maria brought an incredible amount of color into my life – into the lives of all who knew her.
She taught us to see beauty in unexpected places. She taught me about the contrast between light and dark, and how darkness allows us to more fully see and appreciate light. She taught us to care for the earth, and for our own bodies as well.
Looking around the room at those who had assembled for her funeral I was touched by the diversity of the group. From rather strict, right winged fundamentalists to today’s version of the free loving hippies – Maria had touched them all.
And so I learned that God can do things that go far beyond our own imagination – if we allow him to do so. That was my second lesson.
As I went through the process of grieving I learned that God will give us hope beyond our sorrow, but sometimes he does that just one day at a time. And we have to accept that there will be times in our life when one day at a time, sometimes even just one step at a time, is all we can handle. So we take one step at a time, relying upon God to give us the strength to do so and he will. And he will give us hope. It may just be the hope that it does not rain that day and spoil our picnic.
But for that day, our hope will be greater than our sorrow. At those times we should not worry about tomorrow. Just take it one step, one day, one hope at a time and God will get us through it. That was my third lesson.
The most difficult lesson for me has always been to just let go and trust God. Too often I feel the need to take the reins and try to control where things were going. This is something I struggle with daily.
What I have learned from having had, and lost, Maria is that we take ourselves out of the Garden of Eden when we stop trusting God and turn to our own devices instead. It was the original sin, and it’s a snare that is way too easy to fall into. This has been my fourth lesson, and it is one I continue to learn.
Along with that is the lesson that even when we stop trusting God and we mess up his plans royally, although we have to live with the consequences of our actions, he can still turn things around for good. Somewhere in Romans it says “God uses all things for good, for those who love the Lord and keep his commandments.”
Having had, and lost, Maria has really brought that home to me. In spite of the times I stopped trusting God, stepped in and try to run things my own way, he has blessed me in phenomenal ways. This includes having given me two incredible sons, and having brought me into the world of codes and code development, with all the colorful people I have been privileged to know because of my involvement in this world. I have had many wonderful experiences due to both gifts. This has been my fifth lesson.
I have also come to realize that in order to experience true joy we must allow ourselves to also experience sorrow. We must not seek to avoid sorrow. Just as darkness helps us more clearly see the light, so too does sorrow help us more deeply experience joy. This has been my sixth lesson.
And finally, I have learned that it is from that death and sorrow that new life is born. The joy of the new birth is dependent upon the death of that which is currently living. Hence the verse “Death, where is thy sting?” The sting has given way to new birth.
This has been my seventh and final lesson. It has helped me understand why we rejoice at the birth of the Baby Jesus.
Because of Jesus death is not death, but rebirth. And sorrow is not merely sorrow. Sorrow is a preamble to Joy.