I'll warn you that I'm generally the intellectual, not the emotional (perhaps that's why I work well in computer programming for the Structural Steel world). And so what sticks out to me in these chapters is likely to be something that makes me think, more than something that makes me feel.
That said, there's nothing short-charged about feeling in this first chapter. It's a heart-wrencher. Is there anything worse than children dying? Anything? (If so, no, I don't want to know!)
After I stopped crying, what sticks with me the most though, is the words of John (Ann's brother in law, who buried both of his very young sons within two years' time). I hope you don't mind if I just quote them:
"'Well, even with our boys...I don't know why that all happened.' He shrugs again. 'But do I have to?... Who knows? I don't mention it often, but sometimes I think of that story in the Old Testament. Can't remember what book, but you know -- when God gave King Hezekiah fifteen more years of life? Because he prayed for it? But if Hezekiah had died when God first intended, Manasseh would never have been born. And what does the bible say about Manasseh? Something to the effect that Manasseh had led the Israelites to do even more evil than all the heathen nations around Israel. Think of all the evil that would have been avoided if Hezekiah had died earlier, before Manasseh was born. I'm not saying anything, either way, about anything." ...... "Just that maybe...maybe you don't want to change the story, because you don't know what a different ending holds.'
There's a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means. I don't.
... "maybe ... I guess .. it's accepting there are things we simply don't understand. But He does."
If there's nothing else brilliant in this book, (which I doubt), I'm satisfied. This quote just might change my life. I so look forward to reading more of your journey, Ann.
I suspect I'll re-read this chapter this week.