Through A Curtain Darkly

“You should close your eyes and rest,” my husband said. “Doctor’s orders.”

He led me to our room, this kind man of mine, and started to pull the shades.

“Leave them open,” I said. “I need to see.”

I’d just lost our first son to miscarriage. I’d held his perfect body in my hands, his spirit by then already flown to Jesus. We baptized him ourselves with our tears, somehow finding the grace in that holy moment to accept the most solemn of truths:

The Lord both gives and takes away.

And so my love left me there upon our bed, a mother without a child, to focus through wispy curtains on the outdoor landscape. The land of the living, so far beyond my reach.

Out there, somewhere in the sky, was my baby, my heart. The trees bore only the merest buds of springtime that afternoon, little more than hopeful witness to the coming leaves of summer. But the frothy valances, stirred into sashaying billows by the open windows’ April breeze, slipped into ethereal life.

When I narrowed my eyes, the roses woven into the lace became buoyant blooms superimposed on the naked treetops like bouquets of pure white, their stems wrapped in brown satin ribbons.

I opened the drawer of my table, pulled out a paper and pencil, and began to write. The words flowed from my brokenness through my fingertips—a poem about how God counts the leaves on the trees, the grains of sand around the seas, and most of all, His children’s tears.

How He saves those tears in a bottle.

As I neared the end of the page, I squinted against the dimming of the day’s slanted light, unsure even then if the growing shadows were cast by the sun or by my soul. The lacy roses blowing through the treetops glistened like diamonds. I imagined our baby sprinkling fairy dust onto the blossoms, laughing with delight as he made each one twinkle.

For my eyes only.

The last lines of the poem came to me then, and I scribbled them beneath the others.

“There He’ll give us each a crown; Each tear will be a gem.                                            The bottles will be emptied, and we’ll never cry again.”

It happened many years ago, this otherworldly vision, almost another lifetime ago. But I still recall feeling suspended between heaven and earth as I captured my fleeting feelings, and I’ve never forgotten the magic of the rose trees swaying in the breeze.

Whenever I lay my head upon my pillow, from then until now, a journal and pen rest nearby. Of the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve composed since that tear-stained afternoon, many have been written between dusk and dark.

Who knows? Perhaps in the filtered light at sunset on an evening yet to come, roses may once again take flight.

And my words will reach God’s heart on petals of shimmering lace.

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This entry was posted in Memoir, Writer's Life, Writing and tagged , , by Katy McKenna. Bookmark the permalink.

About Katy McKenna

Katy McKenna revels in fictionalizing her true-life stories and, conversely, infusing genuine truth into her made-up stories. She loves it when a reader reports having laughed and cried, all in the same paragraph. Katy and her hubby empty-nest in Kansas City, which is home-base for three grown kids, two in-law kids, and two grandkids. They operate a web design firm, for which Katy provides copywriting, editing, bookkeeping, and coffee-making services. Katy is not, repeat NOT, a hoarder! However, she embraces the thrill of the thrift-store hunt with untethered enthusiasm. A dual citizen of America and Britain, Katy adores haunting her ancestral ruins and relatives in Scotland and Ireland, excavating stories galore.

38 thoughts on “Through A Curtain Darkly

  1. This is one of the most beautiful and poignant blog posts I have ever read. Thank you for your willing heart to be so transparent and translate God’s love for the rest of us.

  2. What a vivid moment when you realized how precious life is even if lived for a few moments. The comfort from the Lord and the sweet presence of your newborn seen through the curtains as sprinkling fairy dust on the roses of the curtains present a vivid picture of how God orders all the details of our lives even to bottling our tears. He never forgets our sorrows and will bring joy to restore our spirit as we rest in His love. I am sure your poem and writing has been expanded because of this event in your life.

    • I appreciate your comment so much, generalkat. I am not so great at math, but I am simply astounded at the references in the Bible to the things God counts. The hairs on our heads, the lilies of the field, the sparrows as they fall….And we know that He weeps, too—He wept over the sorrow caused by the death of his friend, Lazarus. And He wept over the city of Jerusalem, knowing what was about to befall it. He weeps with us, too, and He counts and saves our tears for His purposes, which will be revealed to us by and by….Thank you again!

  3. Katy, your words reach deep. You were born to write.
    Thank you for sharing from your heart. I read this post not knowing who had written it. Now that I realize it came from my friend…well, let’s just say I am speechless.

    God bless you, dear one.

    • Oh, dear Bonnie! You and I have been through quite a number of passages together, haven’t we? How you have comforted me in times of loss and cheered me always! Thank you for these sweet words. They are a balm….

  4. Oh.
    I feel like I was privileged to glimpse into your heart, Katy.
    Thank you.
    The tears have been so close to the surface lately in my life. Lots of reasons …
    I respect you for showing how tears have worth. Value.
    Thank you.

    • Dear Beth, I truly believe He bore all our griefs and if He found them worth bearing, our tears really DO have value! I used to hold them back, afraid that if I started crying I’d never stop. But then I figured He wouldn’t be able to collect them in His bottles (I KNOW He needs multiple bottles for mine!) if I didn’t let them flow down the wrinkly riverbeds of my face. Your tears? They are precious in His sight, my friend. Sparkling jewels in the crown He’s designing just for you…

  5. Thank you for putting my feelings into such eloquent words! Even though it has been 32 years since my son was stillborn, the pain & loss is still as great as it was the day he was born. I look forward to being with him in Heaven and I love your image of the crown of gems made from our tears!

    • Kari, I am truly sorry for the pain you’ve gone through, and still feel. The long decades that we’ve felt this hurt will, I think, seem so compressed when we’re reunited with our babies in Heaven. Time feels like eternity now, but eternity will eclipse time then. Thank you for sharing your loss here, and your heart. Love to you!

  6. Wow! Simply wow! What a poignant, moving post, Katie. As a mother who suffered a miscarriage, I felt your pain. I loved your awesome line about our tears being the gems in our crowns. This weepy woman would need a strong neck to hold hers up. =)

    • Keli, Another friend who’s lost a baby? I am so sorry. (I’ve actually lost two, and if anything, the grief over the second was more difficult….) Thankfully, the herniated discs in our necks (wait, do you have those, too?) will be instantly healed in Heaven, so we’re strong enough to wear those weighty crowns! It would not be graceful-looking if we were a bunch of crowned Bobbleheads. 😉 I love you, lady….

  7. Out of great loss has come a beautiful moment, memorialized for the rest of us so poignantly that we stop our rushing hearts and dwell in your deep sadness. And our own. Yesterday I learned that our expected grandchild has gone where your baby dwells. Out there in the unknown. You have clarified that space so well for me. Thank you, Katie.

    • Oh, Elaine. Your pain is so fresh. I am crying for you and your family. Praying that the Lord wraps His able arms around all of you, drawing you together in this grief. We cannot see into that space called Heaven, but we can feel into it. A curtain is drawn for now, yes, but it is thin, ethereal, and will be blown away entirely by the merest breath of eternity. Your grandchild is safe, cradled, and loved forever. Bless you for sharing here. My deep sympathies are yours.

  8. Katy, thank you for your beautiful post. Our miscarriage was many years ago, but certain things, and hearing of others’ similar experiences always brings them to the surface. I, too, loved the picture of tears becoming gems. I look forward to meeting our baby in heaven one day. Thank you for your transparency.

    • Jeanne, Something about this particular loss–that of a baby–always feels as fresh as youth itself. Young hearts, new love, innocence, and high hopes, all tempered somewhat by profound grief. As one ever-young mom to another, I can only imagine the joy we’ll feel when we meet our babies again. Thank you!

  9. A good friend of mine says, “I am without speech.” And so you have rendered me, Katy, with this beautiful account of a baby borne straight to heaven. I will not soon forget it.

    God bless you.

    • Gwen, You’ve reminded me of a worship song I love. “And I’ll let my words be few…Jesus, I am so in love with you….” Thank you for your sweetness, my friend.

  10. What a beautiful post. I’m sorry for your loss but as a mother who has lost two of her children I know that it is only through that kind of loss you find a deep comfort, a grace beyond any comprehension. God is good and He takes those broken moments in our lives to reveal how much He loves us. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Glenda Parker

    • Glenda, I am sorry for your loss, also! Yes, I’ve too received a deep comfort. And I love knowing that we can share the comfort with which we’ve been comforted, the love with which we’ve been loved. Thank you for your kind comment!

    • Megan, Thank you so much! I have been amazed throughout life by the unplanned, unanticipated events (and people!) that end up shaping our hearts and ordering our loves. We make our plans, but then God steps in and changes everything…..I really love that about Him.

  11. This was absolutely beautiful You have touched my heart. Eleven years ago, after unsuccessfully trying to conceive, I went through the in vitro process hoping for a miracle. It didn’t come. It was a disappointment in my life, but something that I had no choice but to accept. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Anon, I can’t imagine the disappointment you’ve gone through–I am so sorry. And even though as you say you had no choice “but to accept,” not everyone takes that step. Blessings to you as you go forward and embrace all the good things and people in your life!! Thank you for your kind comment, also…

  12. {HUGS} My pastor once told me that Jesus is raising my lost child and that one day I will be reunited with him/her in Heaven. I can’t wait to see the three children up there. I am also blessed with three wonderful ones down here on earth. I pray for all who have lost little ones. Your post was such a blessing.

    • Heather–What a kind and compassionate pastor! Envisioning our babies in Jesus’ care is so comforting–and true! And you’ve lost three babies? I have actually lost two myself, and also have three great kids on this earth. Thank you for sharing your story, and much joy to you and your family this holiday season…

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