Last night I was scrolling through Facebook as I’m apt to do before bed, when I came across an inspiring story of a woman who cares for hospice babies – infants who are terminal and whose biological family won’t or can’t bear to care for them. You can read the story here.
I was drawn to the story for a couple of reasons. First, because I’ve wanted to be a foster parent since I was 12; second, because I discovered about ten years ago that I want to foster newborns who are in the adoption process; and third, because a few years ago a nun spoke at my church about her order’s dedication to care for the elderly poor and being the last face someone sees before they meet Jesus. The woman in this story is doing all of that and more, and she inspires me.
In the story she quotes a verse from a song she loved. “It may be unfulfilled, it may be unrestored, but anything that’s shattered that’s laid before the Lord will not be unredeemed.” I googled it and listened to the full song and sobbed, as I knew I would. I sobbed for my own private grief. I sobbed for my friends who live good, Godly lives and also harbor deep grief and loss.
The song is Unredeemed by Selah.
One of the first real lessons on my spiritual journey into maturity was accepting that I’m powerless over the past. There is nothing I can do today that will change what I did 15 years ago or said five minutes ago. There’s no undoing what has been done, no matter how many amends I or others make. There are some opportunities that are simply lost to us, and these facts when fully accepted can feel like a huge, gaping hole that seems beyond even hope’s reach.
Most of the time when I reach that hole and stare into its dark abyss, and I accept it’s real and can’t be filled with even my best attempts, I resign myself to living with it. Someone I love once described that hole as something that would swallow him whole, and he didn’t know how to live with it. His therapist told him to envision putting a manhole cover on it.
That’s what resignation looks like. A manhole cover on a collapsed star.
But the song tells me that my black holes are places where grace is.
The grace of God is the only thing infinite enough to fill a hole from which even light cannot escape.
Anything that’s shattered that’s laid before the Lord will not be unredeemed. That’s not resignation. That’s surrender.
The word “redeemed” is a loaded one, worthy of more meditation. For now, I am reminded that surrender is and always will be my only solution ever. The bigger my black holes, the more space for God’s grace in my holey heart.