The Times
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Day 6: Welcoming those who are grieving
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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The first time I met Rachel Whaley Doll she was a guest speaker for a women’s group. There, surrounded by people she barely knew, she opened up her journal and read the raw entries. She told how she struggled with infertility — and with holding on to God. I don’t think I’d ever heard someone talk so openly and honestly about that kind of loss. And, now, those soul-baring pages are being turned into a devotional for others who are walking that path to know that they are not alone and that they are loved. Today, will you join me in welcoming Rachel’s words and in praying for all those who are grieving? Can we welcome them in, too?

Rachel Whaley Doll

The date was December 18th, years ago, and the news was so final.† After years of infertility, our sixth round of fertility drugs resulted in a pregnancy that had abruptly ended.† After holding my breath for so long, I held nothing back, alone in my home with God. I screamed until my voice failed me.
Then came the silence.
Everywhere I went, I saw children pointing excitedly in store windows, parents anxiously tugging and rushing their children, not realizing what they had.
But the worst was the creche. It was everywhere and I wanted to scream anew. She never even asked for a child, I thought, never had sex for heaven sake.† I had met God more than halfway, even had a child growing in me. I didn’t speak to Jesus on his birthday that year, but I got a gift anyway. The gift seemed small in the midst of such loss, but made all the difference.† No matter what I yelled, or pleaded or implied, God never left me alone.† That child died, God did not take her from me, and during that horrible time in my life, even though I had turned my back on God, I still felt God’s powerful presence with me in the pain.
Be gentle with yourself, what you are going through is hard whether it is infertility, depression, or a struggle of another name.† But know, in the very fiber of your being, that you are not alone. If it is infertility, take some time to write down what you would like to say to the questions you will encounter from well meaning family and friends, and then craft a response that you can actually say out loud. Writing honestly will help you see more clearly, and leave you with less pain to carry with you.† Know you will be in my prayers this holiday season, and everyday; and that no matter where your journey leads, you are not alone. God is with you, going through the pain by your side.
A suggested prayer:
Powerful, Silent Friend,
You continue to amaze me.† When I am empty, when I am full of venom, when I am exhausted, you are there.† Help me hang on when things are raw and outcomes are final and oh so painful.† Let me feel your presence.† Amen.
Rachel Whaley Doll lives in Brockport NY and is the author of two books; The Exquisite Ordinary, available at amazon.com, and Beating on the Chest of God; A Faith Journey through Infertility, due out in the spring of 2014. For more on her writings, please visit†http://beatingonthechestofgod.wordpress.com/ or http://rachelwhaleydoll.blog.com/.

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