Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The funny thing about hardship is how it alters you. The last few years I feel I've aged 100. My face shows it; it's hard for me to see photos of myself because the tense lines around my eyes jump out at me. My smile seems forced, even when it doesn't feel forced.
There was a time--around 2003-2005--when I thought, "I'm so happy, it should be illegal. It can't be right to be this happy." I actually felt paranoid because of the joy I felt at having a wonderful husband, loving family, a job that challenged me, a safe place to live. There were minor hardships, and things weren't perfect. But I was so content; I thought for sure either Sean or I were going to die because why else would we be so happy when others were struggling?
I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Anne of the Island:
"Life seems like a cup of glory held to my lips just now. But there must be some bitterness in it--there is in every cup. I shall taste mine some day. ... I'm sure no life can be properly developed and rounded out without some trial and sorrow--though I suppose it is only when we are pretty comfortable that we admit it."
Reading back through journal entries reveals that I thought 2006 and 2007 sucked, as far as years go. Now I know they were gray years, but not hard ones. My career faltered, but I persevered and found a new place for myself, one where I could be content with the work God placed in front of me and the freedom He allows. Those years, I felt myself struggling to remain rooted--but what's been going on since that time has caused me to feel untethered, lost.
Dealing with my mom's illness has made me a different person. I might've salvaged enough self-preservation to make it through with my personality intact, to keep the friendships I had, to be able to socialize easily with others. But, the double-whammy of finding out I was struggling with infertility at the same time kind of wrecked all chances I had of remaining the same person. Out of this hardship came this extreme feeling of isolation--because that's what infertility does; every case is different; and it's such a *personal* issue, it makes normal social interaction seem foreign. It covers everything.
Many people say, "I wouldn't trade the hardships I've had because they made me who I am." But I would trade them. I've been changed indelibly; so that, if tomorrow my problems all dissolved--my infertility cured, my mom healed--I would still not be able to return to the other side of the suffering. Jesus prayed, "may this cup be taken from me," (Matthew 26:39), and I've prayed that prayer. I feel those words more than ever. But even if God does take it, I will not, cannot be the same as I was. I'm starting to feel that's okay, too... if I could help someone else who is going through something similar... if I knew I could, maybe that would be a bright spot in the hardship. I'm going to keep praying for that opportunity, and that I can emerge on the other side of this someday being able to say, I didn't lose faith; I didn't doubt God's provision and love, even when I felt so alone.

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Anonymous Meghan said...

It remains a fact that I would gratefully trade in my experience for ignorance. I agree that no matter how much you want to, even if the circumstances change, you can't undo what suffering does to you. I hope it mellows. You've helped me a lot by being my friend. :(

11:01 AM  

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