Although this blog may seem nothing but positive, we were met with some dark days on this journey, and though they may be distant memories, they are not forgotten. On many of those days, I took to writing, and I found myself praying that these words of despair would one day serve as a reminder of what life no longer was. Well, I am there. I no longer feel the sadness and hopelessness thanks to the plan God has laid out before us, but here is just a small glimpse into my past thoughts. This particular rambling followed a description of what I had just gone through at the fertility clinic:
I didn’t plan for this. In no part of my 28 years did I ever envision this as my life. But this is what I do, month after month, because my husband and I have officially been diagnosed as infertile.
How do I feel about it? Well that depends on the moment… not the day, not the hour, but the actual moment you ask because my feelings are inconstant. I may wake up feeling hopeful, just to turn on the news to see a woman arrested for beating her child and become angry that she was ever blessed with a baby at all. Why her? Why not me? And then I unhealthily feel bad for myself and wonder why life is so unfair, until I realize what a waste of time this is and tell myself to pray, to remain hopeful, to have faith.
My husband says I have to see the baby, feel the baby, believe the baby is coming. So I do this. I see, I feel, I believe. And then, weeks later, I fall harder than ever before because this month I saw, I felt, I believed, and nothing came of it.
Maybe this is my fault. Maybe if I had been better to other people. Maybe if I had been a better Christian. Can this be my fault? Do I deserve this because everything else in my life has always come so easily for me?
So I stop seeing. I stop feeling. I stop believing. And this time, the hurt doesn’t hurt so much. This time, I am numb and my heart has stopped beating. This time, I wake up and turn off my mind, storing away all that’s inside me for the next time my husband encourages me to have faith. And that time will come because days will turn to weeks, and I will forget how bad it hurts to think and to feel and to live.
In no way has this journey been easy, and in no way have we been able to rise above for a year and a half, and that is my purpose in sharing this. But it is therapeutic to uncover these words after the storm has passed. Here we are, happier than ever, just knowing our children are waiting in Ethiopia, thanking God for his plan, thanking God we have each other and thanking God we never lost sight of our future family.
To take this post in a different direction... I was recently re-reading a book that my seniors were assigned over the summer: The Book Thief. It's been a few years since I last read the book and there were new passages that spoke to me in ways they hadn't before - yet another sign of growth. These passages really resonated in me, as the young girl in the novel shared sentiments that my future children may have, and they really touched my heart.
The young protagonist, Leisel, is a young German girl during WWII that is sent to live with a foster family. The narrator writes the following after Leisel arrives at her new family's home in Molching:
"When Leisel arrived in Molching, she had at least some inkling that she was being saved, but that was not a comfort. If her mother loved her, why leave her on someone else's doorstep? Why? Why? Why?"
Soon after arriving Leisel begins to have nightmares everynight and her new "Papa" begins to come in and comfort her:
"After three weeks he held her. Trust was accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength of the man's gentleness, his thereness. The girl knew from the outset that Hans Hubermann would always appear midscream, and he would not leave."
Finally, the narrator often stops to define things for the reader. At this point he writes,
"A DEFINITION NOT FOUND IN THE DICTIONARY: Not Leaving: an act of trust and love, often deciphered by children."
Wow - poignant and powerful. The simplicity of it all is what really gets to me... "thereness" and "not leaving." Concepts foreign to these children. I cannot begin to imagine how powerful these simple acts will be for these deserving children.
I will finish with the poem that inspired the title of this post:
LET no man pray that he know not sorrow,
Let no soul ask to be free from pain,
For the gall of to-day is the sweet of to-morrow,
And the moment's loss is the lifetime's gain.
Through want of a thing does its worth redouble,
Through hunger's pangs does the feast content,
And only the heart that has harbored trouble,
Can fully rejoice when joy is sent.
Let no man shrink from the bitter tonics
Of grief, and yearning, and need, and strife,
For the rarest chords in the soul's harmonies,
Are found in the minor strains of life.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox
I currently find myself thankful for "the minor strains of life."