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the Odd Kouple – Where Joy & Sadness Flow

Posted by jon on October 13, 2009 in but seriously..., family and friends |

It took me a few weeks to write this. Its been on my mind every day since I heard. But how do you express what can’t be put into words? Let’s begin with some context. Common experiences unite us and draw friends closer together, so naturally when Tiff and our friend Nikki got pregnant within a month of each other they began to compare notes and that has continued while our daughters have grown together over the last two-plus years. We’ve had play dates, done birthdays and shared some great “firsts,” like the fair and a Brave’s game just to name a few. So a few months ago, we were very excited to hear that Nikki and Daniel were expecting their second child. Sadly their joy was to be short lived. On the day they should have been celebrating that their little “peanut” was a baby boy their world broke. They found out that their unborn son, Aiden, likely had a fatal chromosome condition called T18. As the diagnosis was confirmed the news hearthandlusiwould not improve. Those of us who are lucky enough to be considered their friends could do nothing but watch as updates came out on their blog, theoddkouple. (I will not try to explain Aiden’s condition as I would not do it justice here, but please see their blog for more.)

Of course, when Nikki and Daniel shared with all of us their burden they were surrounded by love and encouragement from friends and family. While this reaction, I’m sure, was somewhat comforting there is a deafening silence when we ask the question “how could this happen?” And now, in light of what has happened how do we go on? This is the question that has haunted me for weeks. How can there still be joy in the world while there is this pain? I’ve heard and read this week stories of the fair and family vacations over the long weekend, and I am stunned that the world goes on as if nothing had happened. Even in my day to day activities there is a constant sobering weight about. How can we be happy when just the thought of Aiden is enough to reduce any of us to tears? I have written this entire blog around the idea that God is everywhere, but this pain is the true test of that viewpoint.

The answer that I know, that’s quick to my tongue, is that God IS present in our pain, that suffering is not a punishment for some wrongful act, and that while we don’t understand the “why,” God is still good even in our darkest days. These words are all true, but even as I type them they feel hollow against the enormity of our sorrow. They feel hollow because they are not words of action, and they don’t “make it all better”. They make us want to rage and lash out because we can’t just sit and accept it, but they are stubbornly true. God IS in this, God IS good, God IS, and it is the truth of these words that slowly, painfully and slowly, begins to work on what is left of our hearts. Truth resounds with us. Whether it is the truth we seek or not it clings to us and refuses to be shaken. It is like cool water on a burn, it stings at first but slowly it sooth. It will never remove the pain. The pain will leave its permanent scar on us but the truth makes the pain bearable.

The truth is that in our pain God has not abandoned us, but provided us what we need to continue. The harsh truth is that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away and in both instances God is worthy of our praise. And the truth is that during this God is not standing off to the side waiting for us to pull it together; no, God is with us each step, each heart beat and each tear are met with God’s endless compassion. I will not pretend that I have any idea what Nikki and Daniel are feeling. It is unimaginable for me but I know enough to know that they will need every bit of God’s truth to endure. I also know that they are never far from my thoughts and they are in my prayers. I still believe God is everywhere, and I hope that they feel the truth of it.candle1

 

I love you my friends, and I hope your burden is made light.

 

Please pray for my friends Daniel and Nikki & their family. For more, see their blog theoddcouple.com.

 

4 Comments

  • P.J. Heath says:

    Jon,
    WOW!Thank you for sharing your heart on this one! It really hit home for me as I sat and read it….you probably don’t know, but Wil and I lost our first child ( a Daughter) at 17 days of age. It was a very painful experience, and one that we shall never ever forget..though painful, God proved Himself through it, it did not make it any easier, but HE did use the experience to touch others, and we all learned alot of things from it…YES all the questions were there, WHY? WHY GOD? NOT MY BABY!! Why? What did I do, what did we do? How could you take her away, why? Oh, it was heart wrenching. But through time and 2 beautiful children later, our pain has eased, never to cease, but eased…We may never know why until we reach God, but we only pray that God will use our experience to help someone else in a similar situation or need. I know GOd will continue to provide us with what we need to get through this, because you never get over it. HE does give and take away, (such powerful yet true words) and I will praise Him anyways! I pray your friends have or will find the truth in all of it. If we could help, let us know.
    PJ

  • Kelley says:

    Jon, this is a beautiful post about grappling with the Great Question. I don’t think we can answer why terrible things happen to the most precious of people. I think you’re right that we can let God carry us through it, suffering and rejoicing all at the same time. The Hardemans are loved by so many, but by none as much as God loves them. The situation is unfathomable, but the grace is ever deeper because of it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Jay Coder says:

    Jon,
    I read your post on Daniel and Nikki, as well as the one on Chelsea and Micky. Both represent important truths which call us to prayer. You are becoming a prophet, and I am proud of you. Prophets are often imperfect and broken men who are beginning to learn the truth of what C. S. Lewis wrote: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain.”
    Mind what you have learned. Save you it can.
    Dad

  • […] After writing this it came to pass that Aiden Hardeman was still born early Christmas morning. Daniel and Nikki, the Odd Kouple, have been in many of our […]

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