Saturday, August 27, 2011

when sharing good news is scary

photo: Raj Lulla

We announced on facebook this week that Lindsey is pregnant, and it was hard.

Despite the statistics which overwhelmingly suggest that a pregnancy this far along will most likely result in a healthy baby, after two miscarriages, it is difficult not to feel foolish about getting excited and sharing our joy with others.

Perhaps it is the inherent sense of disconnected connectivity facebook produces.  After the first pregnancy, though we scrubbed facebook of notifications, we still got some delayed messages several months post-miscarriage inquiring about the status of the pregnancy.  We never announced the miscarriage on facebook, as it seemed an oddly intimate thing to post between peoples' complaints about the government and pictures of their breakfast foods.  Still, many caught on and expressed their sympathies, and a few even brought food.

We were wiser and didn't announce the second pregnancy online, but that was only marginally better.  Sure, we avoided the awkward and painful questions, but we also lacked the outpouring of support followed the first miscarriage.  Lindsey's aunt graciously and swiftly came down and cared for us, but other than that, it was a lonely and private grieving.

I think, however, it was neither the uncomfortable publicity of the first nor the isolating loneliness of the second that made this announcement difficult.  Rather, it was the vulnerability of believing that we will meet this baby this side of heaven.  It is exactly like believing in love after heartbreak.  Part of you feels an extreme fool for risking heartache, having been once (or more) bitten and twice shy, but another part of you dreads even the idea of an existence so numb and guardedly self-preserving that even joy must be hidden from view.

I believed wrongly that only sharing bad news was difficult until I was reminded twice in the past year that even our blessings are only held tenderly and by a string.  There are many who have endured much worse than I, and so I don't claim to be a martyr.  Rather, I hope that they find solidarity in someone willing to admit that shadows and silver linings are sometimes uncomfortably close to each other.

Having been a pastor for some time now, it is no surprise to me that people turn to faith in matters of life and death.  Those moments crystallize reality, helping us realize that it is unlikely we are alone in this universe.  They also show us that death is unnatural, a predator to be resisted at all costs.  When there is a story as powerful as the gospel of the Bible, people are irresistibly drawn to the hope that God has found a way for us to conquer death.

It is because of that hope that we shudder to conceive of an life so secure that it lacks both joy and pain.  So it is with a vulnerable yet defiant joy that I announce to you: we're having a baby!

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