A year ago Thursday I had surgery for endometriosis. Oh, what the year has brought.
Not that I really believed that I would be pregnant by this time - after a while, when 15, 16, 17 months of "not pregnants" show up, you enter a strange place. A place where you can't even imagine what it would be like to see "pregnant" appear on that little stick. Grief also comes each month.
I guess you enter the place of the Barren Land. You look around and see nothing able to grow. It is unfathomable that anything can grow in the barren land. It hasn't for years. Years. Actually, in this land, it's apparent nothing has grown in centuries.
Hope is there in the Barren Land. But it's not the peaceful expectation that things will eventually go the way you desire. This is a Terrible, Desperate Hope: "Please God, please overcome the fallenness of my body. Please do the thing you have refused to do. I'm begging. I have nothing to give you. I can't do it, so you have to. Please. Please do it."
CS Lews in his book, "A Grief Observed," describes the feeling: "But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence."
I am comforted by Christ: "Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46). What a dark comfort it is. Yes, Jesus. I know that cry. You know that cry. We are in this together. Abandoned by God.
Or so it seems.
And if I stop here, two thoughts rise up: "Wait a minute, Hannah. What happens after Christ's cry? Aren't you stopping in the middle of the story?" Or "Wow. You are seriously depressed, girl. That is dark. stuff. Is that really what you think?"
Well, both of those reactions are good - because they are both true! Yes, there is more to the story - how horrid would it be if God's forsaking of his Son was the end of the story? Ugh.
And also, Yes, it is dark stuff. To know what it means to experience God's silence- it is not fun. But it happens (from our perception). It happened to Christ.
Psalm 44 and Psalm 88 and Matthew 27 are all in the Bible for a reason. They stop in the middle of the story to offer us the knowledge that, sometimes, we pause in the middle of the story.
And I pause here - not because this is where I will stay. I will keep walking through the Barren Land.
And maybe there is someone out there who needs to know that they are not alone in this long, terrible Trek. And that they are exactly in the middle of the Barren Land, with seemingly nothing else on the horizon.
And that Jesus has been here.