As Christians, we are called to evangelize. In Mark 16:15, Jesus tells his disciples, “Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to all people.” As we reach out, we encounter people with hearts heavy with doubt. Unfortunately, my son is one of those people. We have rousing debates about the presence and goodness of God, always ending up agreeing to disagree. I remain satisfied knowing I at least planted a seed and confident that, in time, that seed will burst from the ground and embrace the sunlight. On April 24th, that confidence shattered. A tragedy fortified his doubts tenfold.
In her short three months on earth, his granddaughter, Loucellia, took up permanent residence in the hearts of all the family. Her sudden death due to SIDS devastated us all, but my son’s anguish was profound and heart-wrenching… something I had never seen before. I hugged him tightly and wanted to assure him that God is loving and merciful and that Loucellia rests safely in His arms, but something stopped me … the anger in his eyes. It created an image in my mind of him looking down on the growing seed of faith and stomping on it.
Trust me; anger accompanied my grief too. I shook my fist at God and wrote Him a scathing letter demanding answers. I wasn’t nice about it and held nothing back. Doing so allowed me to purge all the negative emotions that kept me from hearing Him. I waited patiently in meditation for quite a while. I then remembered what my priest had told me when he called to offer his condolences. I had asked him why God would allow an innocent child to die. He said he believes God brought Loucellia into this world for a purpose, just as he did for all of us. She had fulfilled her purpose, so he called her home. For some reason, it made sense to me. It didn’t lessen my grief, but it did my confusion. I wished I could have shared that with my son – it might have erased some of his doubts, but I knew the words could not penetrate his thickening wall of grief and anguish.
I don’t know what Loucellia’s purpose was on this earth, but I believe that God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, had something extraordinary that only she could do, and in time all will be revealed. It saddens me my son’s doubt prevents him from believing this or anything associated with God. I must accept that whether my son ever believes after this tragedy is in God’s hands, not mine, and in His time. I will, however, continue to pray.
While this article focuses on my son’s pain, it far from discounts the heartbreak and grief of Loucellia’s mommy and daddy, grandparents, other great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. We grieve and will do so for an indeterminate amount of time. However, we have all found comfort in knowing that precious baby experienced nothing but love in her three short months on this earth and I believe through the grace of God, we will see her again.
There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.