I missed a story along the way, one that I believe is too important to omit. So I will go back in time for a moment...
It was during my first ministry. During our time there, my wife became pregnant. From the start it was a difficult pregnancy, with intermittent bleeding. The doctor advised her to stay off of her feet as much as possible, which she did. This was the first (and only, actually) pregnancy of our marriage.
It was on a Sunday morning, between Sunday School and the worship service. I was preaching that morning, as we were between "preaching" ministers. My wife came up to me and said, "I need to go home, now." While at that point, I did not have a doctor's diagnosis, I knew what that meant. The baby was not going to make it. I did what I felt I had to do. I let her go home, asked some people to pray, and went on with the show. I still don't know how I did it.
About an hour and a half later, I was taking her to the hospital. My diagnosis was confirmed. The baby was gone. We had a few visitors to the hospital that day. Mostly elders and their wives. Everyone said the same thing, "It was probably for the best" or "maybe the child is better off now" or "at least you never knew the child." It was all well intended, but it was not very comforting.
And then life went on. No real mourning, no discussion, the next day was just Monday. At least, that is what I convinced myself.
Looking back at it now, I wonder what would have happened if I had said, "I need to leave right now." But I didn't. I wonder what would have happened if church was a place were life was lived as it really is instead of how we think it ought to be. I wonder how things get so far off sometimes.