It struck a chord with me because over the past few weeks a few tragic things have happened to people I know and some that I don’t (like those on the East Coast, who were left without shelter, food, and all their worldly possessions after the storm.)
On those occasions, I was at a loss for words. The right words, anyway.
But this essay made me consider that what I really wanted to say during those extremely difficult times might just be “the right words.”
I had coffee with a Jesuit Priest several years ago. I was curious about his faith and how he came to it. I wanted to know how his faith helped him in tough times. I wanted to know why people of faith were comforted by saying things like, “It’s God’s will.” And I wanted to know how after a high school student committed suicide, his parents or his siblings or his friends could be soothed with, “Things happen for a reason.”
Sometimes I think people say those things because they want to offer a solution to the pain that someone dear is enduring. Dell’Antonia says that it’s like insisting on “trying to fix the unfixable.”
I will never forget what the Jesuit Priest said. “It’s not OK. It’s hard. It sucks.” were his exact words. It was at that moment that I had a whole new respect for him and realized that it was liberating to just call things like you see them.
I had a miscarriage at 11 ½ weeks the first time I was pregnant. I was so angry. So bitter because my husband and I had waited until we were married, until we were financially stable, and until we were “ready” to be parents to get pregnant.
I cried to my mom on the phone long distance, and I remember her saying that, “God had a plan” for me.
It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I screamed that it was bad biology! That it wasn’t fair! That if I were 17 and in the back of a car, I would still be pregnant! OK, so I tend to be a little melodramatic…
But sometimes people just need the freedom to be miserable. Not forever usually. But for a while – to emotionally work their way through something difficult.
Sure, most of the time things could be worse, and most people will accept that sooner or later. After all, acceptance is the final stage of grief, right?
But I love that Dell’Antonia recognizes, “Some things in life have to be lived through instead of conquered.”
I think she’s absolutely right.
Amy Grace is married with two children. You can read her every Friday on momaha.
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