I found Boy 1 lying with his face in a pillow, sobbing with great, big gulps of grief.
"Did you already know?" he asked.
"Yes, buddy. Daddy told me last night. I'm so sorry, sweetie. Can I rub your back and sit with you?"
His voice was muffled because his face was still buried in feathery pillowness. I sighed. What's a mama to do?
There are problems a ten year-old boy's heart mourns with with great sorrow. They seem small compared to other sorrows that the earth can scarcely bear- war, poverty, sicknesses that have no cure. But that really isn't the point, is it?
These troubles are dark and heavy to this boy of mine, all full of grief, sprawled on his bed. I sit on a Spiderman quilt next to the child whose birth ripped my heart in two, making space for a grander love than I ever thought possible, and I wait for him to find his way through his loss.
There has never been a human on earth who hasn't felt the cutting of this kind of moment- expectations slashed by circumstances beyond our control.
Plans rescheduled, school applications rejected, cars totaled, promises broken, job interviews gone awry, families torn apart, deals that don't work out, crops that fail, babies lost, churches that fail, and lives that despair in the middle of storms that won't cease.
Free will leaves so many loose ends, so many possible ways we can be wounded by unexpected tragedies.
Aren't we made to be loved? Aren't we made to belong? Aren't we designed to know in deep soul spaces that there is a God and He never fails us?
Yes, but we live among empty tombs. Like Mary, we think the worst has happened, and we place our hope on one last glimpse of hope in the darkness. Maybe the emptiness of our losses is confusing because our hearts can't bear the vacancy any longer. We need fresh hope from heaven and to hear our name called out by the Lord of Love.
I rubbed my son's back for a few minutes until I had to go.
"I have to go get dinner ready. Maybe a good meal will help?"
"No. It won't."
Ah, yes. Each heart knows its own bitterness, as the Proverb says. I said a silent prayer and left.
Later that night, after tacos and brownie sundaes, those blue eyes locked with mine, and he sighed with contentment.
"You were right. Good food helps."
I smiled, and I knew we both felt the emptiness fill a bit. The loss is still there, but now so is something else: tender hope.
That boy I love made it through after all.