Pastor Anne’s Reflection
Today is my son Nick’s 9th birthday. It’s also the Feast of the Annunciation, the day that Mary received word that she was carrying God’s son. So today I find myself remembering the day I learned I was carrying my third child, the one who would eventually be called Nicholas.
It was mid-July. I was up on a ladder in the church fellowship hall, placing the final touches on our elaborate Vacation Bible School display. When I got dizzy up on that ladder, I suddenly knew. I knew I was pregnant. That afternoon, I took my two young daughters to the movie theatre to watch Toy Story 3. Sure, that movie is a tear-jerker, but I cried WAY harder than a normal mom. So on the way home, I stopped to buy the test that would tell me what I already knew. My husband, Will, and I celebrated the news together that evening. But the next morning, we received the shocking word that Will’s dad, Lee, was dying. His Multiple Sclerosis had suddenly progressed, and he had been admitted into hospice care. Will got on a plane to Minnesota, and his dad died just moments after he arrived. Before Lee died, Will was able to tell him that another grandchild was on the way. Nicholas Lee was born about 8 months later, of course, never able to meet his Papa in person.
Today, as we celebrate Nick’s 9th birthday, on the Feast of the Annunciation, in this weird pandemic state, I am reminded of the way that hope and despair always come hand in hand. Imagine how Mary felt: joy…wonder…worry…grief over her own ruined plans.
While we all go about navigating this new norm, this is exactly what I experience day to day. I’m so happy to spend extra time with my family, and in the same breath, I’m overwhelmed, worried, and stressed. There are highs and lows in this. There is pain AND healing. There is fear AND courage. Both, together.
God doesn’t promise us easy answers or pain-free realities, but God does promise to be with us on the roller coaster. And we know that Jesus was born into this, to walk with us. So wherever there is despair, there is also comfort. Wherever there is destruction, there are also rainbows. And death never has the last word — hope does.