When I was in high school, we used to sing this song during chapel.
This world is not my home, I’m just a’passin’ through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door (golden shore?)
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
A few years ago, a very close friend of mine lost her baby. She was about 7 months pregnant with her first child when they discovered that their baby girl didn’t have a heartbeat. My friend had to be induced and go through the whole labor and delivery process knowing there wasn’t going to be a baby to bring home.
As is so often the case with bad news, I got the news on Facebook. After texting my dear friend my condolences (meager comfort though they may be), I posted my own thoughts on the inter-webs. I posted:
This world is not my home.
A few short weeks before we had Hudson, I met up with a fellow pregger friend for some fro-yo. We hugged, I gave her a little gift (some maternity clothes I thought would come in handy), and she apologized for missing my baby shower. She had just found out that their baby had a heart defect, that the little guy would need to have heart surgery within the first year of his life. I remember being flabbergasted, driving home and thinking in the car “This world is not my home.”
Then we had Hudson, and she died.
I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
Don’t you think there has to be something more? Even though I’m a little ticked off at God for letting this happen to us, for not answering our prayers, this experience has actually made me believe in God more. This world can not be all we get. We so easily become complacent with our lives – maybe we aren’t “living the dream,” but we aren’t sick, poor, destitute, we might even be pretty comfortable, getting to do the things we want when we want, happy with our spouse, good friends, good family. So we think “This world is alright.”
And then something really effed up happens, and we remember that this world is NOT alright, that something is very very wrong with our world when parents have to bury their children, not to mention the horrors that happen in other countries, the lack of civil liberties experienced in other cultures, the just-plain-evil exhibited in the name of religion or freedom or some other “noble” cause. The death of our daughter was enough to make me seriously contemplate holing up in our house and waiting for “End Times” (as my husband calls the Apocalypse).
But the life of our daughter was so amazing, beautiful, an overwhelming flood of good feelings, proud feelings, love feelings… this world is not alright, but so much beauty can still survive in such an ugly place.
My friend who lost her baby late in pregnancy ended up getting pregnant within a year with baby #2, a beautiful healthy little boy, one of the prettiest babies I’ve ever seen. My friend whose baby boy has a heart defect has made it through the scariest stages of his early life, and he’s recovering from his surgery nicely, surrounded by loving family and incredible prayers.
Horrible things happen in this world, but beautiful, wonderful things happen in this world, too. Redemptive things. Cathartic things.
This world is not my home, but I do have to live in this world.
And I will make this world more beautiful.