Many days I feel like I am in an alternate world. I wake up asking questions like, "What just happened?" "How can this be?" "Is this real life?" The current conditions of my life are not the direction that my life was supposed to go. I sometimes wonder if this loss was just a dream or if even having Quinn was real. This doesn't happen. People don't lose perfectly healthy 4 month old children in an instant. There is a sense of terror in the randomness of it all. I've said it so many times, but this is not fair. I did not choose this for my life, this is not because of a bad decision or a consequence of wrong-doing.
I have recently discovered the power in choices. This circumstance is so random, so final, so tragic that I feel utterly powerless. Having no choice in this situation makes me feel so defenseless. Yet, there ARE choices that I have found I DO have power over. I can choose to see meaning in suffering. I can choose to be bitter or choose to invest in the lives of others. According to the rest of the world, I have every right to be bitter, angry, and selfish- but those are all choices. I did not choose this for my life, but I can choose how I respond to it.
The last couple of months I have been reading Job. I feel a kindred spirit with him. I understand completely when he says, "Everything I feared and dreaded has happened to me. (Job 3:25)" We both know what it feels like to have everything one moment and have it gone the next. I used to hate how Job seemed like such a pawn to God, but lately I have chosen to be inspired by the choices he made and how his choice mattered. Even when the rug had been pulled out from under him he chose to worship God. Jerry Sittser in A Grace Disguised writes:
"I trembled before the power of Job's freedom to decide how he was going to respond to his
suffering. How he exercised that freedom had repercussions even in God's heavenly court,
where the hosts of heaven, including Almighty God, watched to see how Job's life would turn out.
Job's choices really mattered to them. He had no idea how far his power reached, but he was not,
as he was tempted to think, a solitary figure whose decisions counted for nothing... He discovered
that God is the answer to all his questions, even questions he had not thought to ask. Job learned
that behind the apparent randomness of life is the existence of God, whose greatness transcended
Job, but did not nullify the importance of Job's choices."
So what do I choose to do in my life? I choose God and to believe in His promises... that He is good, that He promises to stand by me through it all. That heaven is real and that Quinn is there in the best hands- His hands. The hands I choose to believe formed her, the hands I believe were pierced at the cross for her and I. I choose to believe that this circumstance is not random but is part of a beautiful tapestry that God is sewing. I choose to believe that even if I can't see His entire plan that His plan is good. These choices are choices I have to daily, even momentarily, choose because most days they don't come easy. But I believe in what Jerry Sittser quotes as "God's transcendent purpose." He uses the story of Joseph, who is sold by his own brothers into slavery but later transcends to become the king's adviser to explain God's purpose:
"God's transcendent purpose makes Joseph's personal story a part of a much bigger story.
Although Joseph suffers at the hands of his brothers, all the while God is planning to use
Joseph's experience to move his family to Egypt, where they will live and eventually become
slaves. Then, many years later, they will be led to freedom by Moses, one of the greatest leaders
in the Jewish religion. Joseph has no idea that his story fits into this larger plot involving thousands
of people and centuries of history. As it turns out, however, his life does not consist of a
succession of isolated events randomly strung together but rather of a story with a purpose that he
does not see and will never entirely understand... The Joseph story helps us to see that our own
tragedies can be a very bad chapter in a very good book. The terror of randomness is enveloped
by the mysterious purposes of God."
So tonight, in this moment, I am choosing to see that my life does not consist of a "succession of isolated events randomly strung together but rather of a story with a purpose that I do not see and will never entirely understand". That this season in my life is a very bad chapter in a very good book written long before Quinn was born, long before I was born.