Fruit of the Mystery: Forgiveness & Perseverance
Love Embodied, Suffering Embraced
by Kirby Hoberg
How is this real?
I have wondered at every positive pregnancy test, each birth, each time I rock a child to sleep. Also at the “I’m so sorry”s given in sterile ER rooms, the quiet scans, the terror of blood.
How can this be?
Women uniquely are the embodiment of such capacity for life – but many of us are also walking graves. Great loss comes from participation in great creation. The grief and the joy is overwhelming.
I think Jesus gets it. I will forever wonder if I would have been as open to life if I knew the extent of the grief and loss that would come from it. Jesus knew. He struggled with it. But he also said yes.
Jesus knew who would betray him. He knew his body was human and would die. He knew the evils that would come. But he walked that road anyway.
After my third loss, a back to back miscarriage, I shut down. I no longer trusted my body. This body that had brought three children to a healthy birth had lost an equal number of our babies. There was no reason found or findable. No prevention. No cure or closure. No place for that grief to go.
Deep forgiveness was the only path to light. I had to forgive my body, and accept that there were many things that I did not understand about what happened to me and our children. Forgiveness was always the path, not fertility that ends with a healthy baby in arms.
Can you even begin to imagine the Passion of Christ without forgiveness extended at every opportunity? Jesus forgave his Apostles over and over their ignorance and slowness to grasp his teachings. He forgave those who lied about him, arrested him, tortured him, condemned him, betrayed him.
Over and over and over. Yet he forgave. He forgave in the service of allowing his whole being to serve the story of salvation, written since the beginning of time.
In the year over year progression of fertility and it’s ebb, it’s easy to miss the cosmic meaning of what we participate in when we become part of this story. How deeply and forever we change the world with these miraculous bodies of ours. Including the times it seems to have failed.
Recently my fertile years suddenly ended, at the age of 31, while my fourth baby was still not walking. Advanced adenomyosis left my uterus unable to heal after my last birth. It did not respond to multiple forms of hormone therapy or other measures. Finally we had to make the decision to accept a hysterectomy.
Through this experience I saw again the capacity for fertility to change everything. I no longer have a uterus, but it’s removal has allowed for me to live without constant pain and bleeding. It gave me back the time to love the children I have and to grieve the absence of possible future children.
I am no longer participating in creation in the same way. I no longer have the capacity to do so. Yet I continue to create, and love, and forgive.
We are not little Christs with the capacity to fully grasp the big picture in our current state. Not every hardship will be given meaning that is revealed to us in our lifetimes. But I am beginning to glimpse that the wood of the cross is not made of suffering alone, but of creation embraced.
It is love embodied and suffering embraced.
I can never deserve this life, but that will never take this love from me. My motherhood is physical in time but cosmic in effect. It continues to be and grow and change everything it touches. It is forever giving, but also forever receiving. Love is funny that way. It is never exhausted yet it is not love without both pouring out and into our very persons.
With each birth and each loss, each hope and each tragedy, the immensity of these realities washed over me. This is both deeply significant yet so small. Merely a blimp on the universal scale of time and events. Yet it changed time forever. The ripple of every life, even those that never draw breath or stay forever a hope, touches and moves people and events we cannot foresee or grasp.
I can never earn my children or my motherhood. I cannot guarantee babies will stay with us.
All I can do is love and be loved.
The cross is a blessing. The blessing is a cross. Both are immeasurably profound and beautiful. Both are found through love and forgiveness.
About Kirby: Kirby is a theater artist (actor/dancer/singer/playwright) living outside Minneapolis, MN with husband and four young kids. Member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, raised in Dallas, TX. Her background is in Anthropology with a love of history and lore. You can find her on Instagram at underthyroof.