This week, Black Forest Academy mourns the loss of a baby girl born prematurely just a month ago to one of our new staff couples. We grieve as a community, lifting her parents and younger brother up in prayer, full of sadness and gratitude that she is at last whole.
While we waited for her ride to come pick her up, I sat on a bench next to one of my students. I don’t know her well, but as she talked I felt like I did; this girl, like myself and a handful of students I’ve taught each year, is a writer. She walked me through her process, touching blithely on a few different tales she’s spun over the years. She described scenes that she enjoyed writing, characters that surprised her as they wrenched themselves out of her control on the page, and her first 40-page story, written shortly after she learned to type.
After a while, we started talking about characters, about the deep investment of an author in the people she creates. She told me about a time that she startled herself while writing a particularly chilling scene, and the many times that she’s written herself to tears over the fates of her characters.
“It’s not what I wanted to happen to him,” she admitted, telling of a particularly sad ending.
NOTE: If the final Harry Potter book is still on your to-read list, it would behoove you to skip a paragraph, lest you learn more plot details than will please you.
I told her about J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, who confessed that she wept while writing one of the final chapters of the final book, when her hero realizes that he will need to sacrifice his own life to defeat the villain, and goes willingly to his death.
“She said that she just cried her eyes out writing it,” I said, confessing, “Which is pretty what happened to me reading it.”
“But” –and I know what she’ll say next– “She knew the ending! She wrote it!”
I nodded, and for a moment we pondered the paradox of an author’s weeping for a fictional character, who indeed turns out all right in the end.
“Sometimes I wonder if that’s how God feels,” I mused. “If even though He knows how it all works out, He cries when things happen. Because He made us, because He loves us.”
I return to that thought this week, as our little community mourns the loss of our newest member, a baby girl born just a month ago to a young couple on our staff. We’re caught in the tension of this heartbreak in time and joy in eternity, where she’s healed of the illness that took her life. We weep, even knowing that she’s well now, missing her here.
Jesus did this too. At Lazarus’ tomb, just moments before raising him from the dead, we read of his sorrow:
“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.
I’m drawn back to the thought of the author, tears dripping onto the unfinished work for which she already has planned a happy finale. And then to Jesus, weeping to see the sadness of his friends, even as he saw joy ahead.
And so we weep, as Jesus did, mourning the broken present, trusting in eternity’s joy, and grateful that the Author loves us, made us, and sees the finale when we cannot.
Please pray with us for this sweet family in their sorrow. Thank you.