Articles From the November 1994 Unification News
Contributed by David and Jennifer Hager, Hong Kong
Here is a moving example of dealing with loss in a way that "brings us to a place of greater love."
We would like to share with you something of our experience of life, love, loss, and blessing arising out of the brief physical life of our second son, Christopher Hager, who was with us for one precious day.
We had been praying and working with doctors for the last seven and a half years, trying to conceive our second child. When Darien [their first child] was six, Jennifer was pregnant for only about ten weeks and miscarried. Finally, after we had almost given up hope, we conceived a boy with medical help in February 1993.
During the pregnancy we watched a film of the miraculous development of an embryo into a human baby. We marveled at the process by which "mere stuff" of DNA-nothing but long strings of ordinary carbon, hydrogen, and so on-possesses the innate power and knowledge necessary to assemble that most complex and stunning miracle of a small human being. Within this microcosm, six trillion physical and chemical reactions take place per second, all fully correlated with one another. Each new model is built upon a common theme, but according to a unique blueprint. What we usually consider a "normal" process of gestation is nothing less than a very complex series of total miracles! We both commented that it was a wonder that this process works so well as often and as reliably as it does.
The pregnancy was very difficult for Jennifer, but finally she went into labor on November 1, 1993, and we headed to the hospital for what we expected would be a normal birth. However, we soon discovered that our baby had a serious heart defect which made it impossible for him to survive on his own outside the womb, and despite all efforts, he passed away in our arms seven hours after he was born. Holding him as he passed away, many tears came: some of sorrow, some of offering, and some of gratitude simply to have been able to behold-even briefly-the pure beauty of God's heart manifested in a new person.
Many circumstances of life are simply handed to us. Our response and attitude are ultimately the only things that we have to offer back to Heaven. . . . When we realized our son was having difficulty in the womb, we reached out to hold onto God's love and strength. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that He reached out to hold onto us. We have come to find in God the MOST caring Person, from whom all caring originally comes.
Through our loss we have understood more deeply how God Himself cries for each lost child. God, far from being insulated from the lives of each of us, is actually the One who bears and feels more deeply than any human heart can imagine. We often pray for deeper love, courage, and compassion, but realize that if we mean to share the heart of God, this includes His sorrow as well as His joy. Our loss is pale by comparison, yet it is providing a path for us to more deeply appreciate and trust the boundless love that God gives.
With the experiences of burying both of David's parents and Jennifer's dad in recent years, we are able to accept Christopher's death in the context of a larger scheme for human life. Although we honestly don't know why it happened, we don't see this death as some mysterious or deliberate act of "God's Will." In fact, we definitely felt that God was as sorry as we were, having to help us say good-bye to this child so quickly. But we do know that our attitude determines whether this becomes a crippling sorrow or brings us to a place of greater love. Physical death is actually a transition, or another birth, into a totally spiritual existence. We all inevitably go through that door. The beautiful bonds of love that we build with each other will be the only possessions that can go through the door with us.
We speak of Christopher in the present tense because he is still part of our family. In some ways, we feel we have known this little person for a long time. His life outside the womb was so short, but during that time we had experiences of love, gratitude, sorrow, and grace that almost seem like a lifetime. Those eight years of effort to conceive him, sharing his development in the womb, our anticipation of his birth, loving him in his brief physical life and having to let him go-all these are a part of the total experience of having this son. So we have two children, Darien and Christopher. With God's help, we hope that in time we might conceive another child.
We do not mean to deny our sense of sadness and loss. But we want to testify that the love of the living God has really sustained us through this loss and given us hope.
Through our loss we can perhaps better understand the tearful heart of offering that Heavenly Father made when Heung Jin Nim and Jesus' lives were given as a sacrifice. Because of the timing, we hope and believe that Heavenly Father can use the offering of this life in many meaningful ways, though we do not expect to ever know how. However, we do feel that God has received our intention, and given back to us a profound peace and grace.
Many non-Unification friends were amazed to find that we felt such a sense of peace. In these rare moments, we have had unprecedented opportunities to share about True Parents' love, teaching, and example, and the doorway that they have opened into the Completed Testament Age, where true love transcends all barriers. We can see that all things can truly work for good if offered to God.
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