The gospel was one that we are all too familiar with. It was the parable of the farmer sowing his seeds. One particular verse stuck out to me: "The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. " (Matthew13: 20-21)
I was so sad recently when there was a discussion on my private facebook support group that addressed our faith after our losses. I knew it happened, I knew the death of a child could cause people to lose their faith, but I was almost brought to tears that amongst the 20+ comments to the question, EVERY SINGLE ONE of them had lost their faith, saying things like "I don't want to love or believe in a God that would take a child away from it's parents." Now, I would never judge anyone for their choice of faith, or lack there of, but there were many women who would say that they had faith BEFORE their losses, but lost it after. My heart broke.
I thought maybe it was because the women who had not lost their faith were too nervous to respond to the question, because the original poster expressed her lack of faith in God in the original topic; so I decided to respond. I just mentioned what most of you already know about Foster and I. You all know that Foster became Catholic 17 days before we lost Rosalynn. You all know how strong we have become in our faith and relationship since we lost her, and you know that I pray for anyone who asks, and those that don't, every night before I go to sleep. God is good....ALWAYS!
I also put the WHOLE serenity prayer in since it is the prayer that I has gotten me through so much in my life, and its words are SOOOO powerful :
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen. --Reinhold Niebuhr
But alas, I only received one supporting comment to mine.
While listening to the sermon following the Gospel, I started reflecting and realized that I am SOOOO glad that Foster and I were like the seeds thrown on the good soil. "But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13: 23) I honestly believe that the two of us going through RCIA together for him to become Catholic helped us to understand our faith better, understand our marriage better, and thus, after losing a child, was one of the contributing factors for our faith AND marriage staying strong through everything. Don't get me wrong, our faith was rocked to the core....well, at least mine was....and there WERE times I got mad at God, but heck, I know he can handle it. However I never thought for a moment He did this to us. I never thought for a moment He was punishing us.
All I can continue to do is pray for those families and women that are have turned their back on their faith. All I can do is hope that they will come to peace with the fact that God was not trying to punish them, and unfortunately bad thing happen to good people. But EVERYONE goes through trials and conflicts and loss and pain....what makes us so special that we don't deserve some too? One of the many responses from the women included, "I have always been a good person, always treated others well and prayed on a regular basis. Why did He do this to me?" My retort: Why not? Is losing a child probably one of the worst things that can happen to a person? Sure, but there is also nothing written that says life is going to be easy. No one promises that life will be easy if you are a good person here on earth. All that is promised is a glorious life in heaven after this life! I figure this is all just temporary, I can make it through the next 40+ years and then have an eternity to look forward to with all my loved ones!
I try and look at it like this:
I am going on 30 years old, I have gone through my husband being deployed for a year, and a loss of a child. We have been through most likely the worst thing we will EVER have to go through, isn't it nice to think that everything from here on out, no matter what it is , will seem easy in comparison?
The priest explained that just because someone is one of the other seeds, does not mean they are out of luck, or "passed up", or have lost their faith forever. Because the great thing about the farmer is that every year, he continues to sow more seeds. Every day God is trying to bring those who have forgotten about him to come back. I just hope that my strength and faith through all of this is able to inspire, even if it is just one person, to become closer to God. And I pray that in the coming seasons those who have lost faith, something eventually brings them back.