Over the course of the past year, I've had a striking and rather disturbing experience of religion that raised some questions, which I would like to pose to you all.  In June, my wife and I learned that we had miscarried our first pregnancy.  We were devastated, as we had already begun to view this emerging life as our child and as a new member of our family.  Half a year later, we are both still working through the aftermath of the miscarriage -- especially my wife, who still cries about it a lot.

Friends and family have taken many efforts to assist and console us during this time, and many of their efforts have been truly wonderful and genuinely helpful.  However, we have also been told, in a variety of ways by different people, that the miscarriage was the will of God; that we will have a child "in God's time"; and that although the miscarriage is a tragedy, that we should nevertheless take solace in the notion that "all things happen for a reason" and that our deceased child is "in a better place."  I know that these statements are coming from a place of good intentions, but when you think about the logical implications of these euphemisms, they're actually quite offensive: I'm basically being told that God killed my baby and that somehow I should be comforted by that fact.

Questions for you all:

(1) Anyone have similar experiences?

(2) What are some good ways to respond to this sort of advice?  (Remember -- these people are friends and/or family, whom I care about very much.  I don't want to treat them dismissively or lash out at them for genuine, albeit misguided, attempts to care for me and my wife.)

(3) Most importantly, what are some more productive ways that we can comfort people experiencing grief and tragedy, without invoking empty platitudes about things happening for a reason or God's will? 

Peace,

Justin

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Posted by Quincy Maxwell on July 20, 2014 at 9:37pm 28 Comments

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