Dead End

I agree with Philip Yancey when he wrote about “the inherent arrogance of the writing act.”

Each time I post a story, I feel a bit unsure and egotistical. Like Yancey said, “I presume the right to cause you to put down whatever you are doing and listen to me.”

Whatever he writes is totally worth listening to, of course. But me? I don’t know. It’s just my little story and I guess it does take some arrogance to keep writing and posting, but oh, well, here’s goes:

Where I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains, my road — called Greybeard Trail — passes my house and continues uphill, along a rocky, lively creek.

In about a mile there is a yellow DEAD END sign.

If you believed the sign, you might not go ahead and see around the bend, but backtrack down the road to where you came from.

And that would be a shame.

Because you would miss all the beauty of Sanctuary Lake and the trails and river crossings and waterfalls through the woods all the way up to Greybeard Mountain.

And Beyond.

—         —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —

 Today is a very sad day.

My nephew’s baby boy was stillborn.

Those young parents, their joy, plans, and dreams — in one horrible moment – were completely dashed.

The time to be born became the time to die.

It’s a crushing loss.

I know.

Forty years ago this month, our first baby girl died, also a chord accident, also shortly before her due date.

I well remember the disbelief, the powerlessness, the anger.

Especially the anger. This is not fair, God! Women are aborting babies and this one was cherished yet you let her die?!? How could you?!? Why?!?

 I didn’t know what to do with myself. My plans — being a happy new mommy — were abruptly, rudely discarded by God and I could do nothing about it.

It felt like a cruel dead end.

—         —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —

I was young and had never suffered.

I didn’t know much about God and His ‘past-finding out’ ways.

I didn’t know God had good plans for me, beyond, after Hannah’s death.

I am still amazed.

He began a pre-school through me.

He gave me another baby 11 months later.

And best of all:  He used the experience to change me deeply.

Even though he didn’t answer my questions and even though it took me 14 years to fully accept my baby’s death, still God had a trustworthy message for me.

Hannah Mary — the name we’d chosen for her months before she died — means “Bitter Grace.”  Her life and death taught me:  God’s grace will always be sufficient for the bitter parts of this life on earth.

Like today.

I pray that my nephew, his wife, and all the family and friends around them will someday come to see that after every dead end, there is something beautiful Beyond.


“As for God, His way is perfect.” Psalm 18:30













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