Friday, September 24, 2010

suffering

Watching others get pregnant and pregnant and pregnant while personally continuing to miscarry is like a personal hell.

I am 31, so naturally, friends around me are procreating like mad. And in the midst of it, God has given me friends who are *done* with their families, and I feel like I can rest there, because I'm not going to get sidelined with a pregnancy announcement when we hang out. There are new babies I have not yet seen, there are pregnancies not yet acknowledged.

It's a strange kind of suffering.

I was listening to Mary Beth Chapman talking about losing her youngest daughter in a horrible accident. She said, "God chose to enter us into the communion of the suffering."

This spoke to my heart in such a profound way, I almost can't articulate it. And in that moment, folding clothes on the rich shag of the living room floor, I wept. She gets it, I thought. She gets it.

God was there when each of my babies died. He was there when Lucy's body was not formed correctly; he saw into a future when she would be 5 years old, sitting on her princess bedspread, asking me why she was different than other kids.

He was there, silent, compassionate.

This is such a hard concept for me to grasp. How could he have been there and not changed it? How can he allow such suffering?

God is near to the broken-hearted, and I know He is near to me. He is near to every woman who has witnessed the silence on an ultrasound screen, the unbearable weight of a negative pregnancy test, the knowledge that the husband was never going to keep the commitment he made before God on the wedding day. God is near to those who have a life-long struggle with depression.

He sees it, and He knows, and His heart hurts, too.

I've just begun to see how richly God has blessed my life THROUGH this suffering. We are only truly free when we let go of the preconcieved, of the expectation. This life is what it is, and He knew it all.

Dorothy Dix puts it this way:

"I have been through the depths of poverty and sickness. When people ask me what has kept me going through the troubles that come to all of us, I always reply: "I stood yesterday. I can stand today. And I will not permit myself to think about what might happen tomorrow."

I have known want and struggle and anxiety and despair. I have always had to work beyond the limit of my strength. As I look back upon my life, I see it as a battlefield strewn with the wrecks of dead dreams and broken hopes and shattered illusions - a battle in which I always fought with the odds tremendously against me, and which has left me scarred and bruised and maimed and old before my time.

Yet I hvae no pity for myself; no tears to shed over the past and gone sorrows; no envy for the women who have been spared all I have gone through. For I have lived. They only existed. I have drunk the cup of life down to its very dregs. THey have only sipped the bubbles on top of it. I know things they will never know. I see things to which they are blind. It is only the women whose eyes have been washed clear with tears who get the broad vision that makes them little sisters to all the world.

I have learned in the great University of Hard Knocks a philosophy that no woman who has had an easy life ever acquires. I have learned to live each day as it comes and not to borrow trouble by dreading the morrow. It is the dark menace of the pictures that makes cowards of us. I put that dread from me because experience has taught me that when the time comes That I so fear, the strength and wisdom to meet it will be given me. Little annoyances no longer have the power to affect me. After you have seen your whole edifice of happiness topple and crash in ruins about you, it never matters to you again that a servant forgets to put the doilies under the finger bowls, or the cook spills the soup.

I have learned not to expect too much of people, and so I can still get happiness out of the friends who isn't quite true to me or the acquaintance who gossips. Above all, I have acquired a sense of humor, because there were so many things over which I had either to cry or laugh. And when a woman can joke over her troubles instead of having hysterics, nothing can ever hurt her much again. I do not regret the hardships I have known, because therough them I have touched life at every point I have lived.

And it was worth the price I had to pay.

5 comments:

Ashley said...

These words really spoke to me right where I am right now. Thank you for sharing them - and I'm praying for you to contine to push the plow in the place where you are in hopes that it will take you where He wants you to be.

Flmgodog said...

These words came for me too at the right time. I will hold on to what you have said and remind myself of these words. Even though we don't share the same religious views I still take confort in your words.
Thank you.

Cole said...

I've been in the pits of despair, such a different kind than the ones you've been dealt, but I know a similar pain.

You still hold on to the beautiful things in life, the knowing that being His child brings. If it's true that the darkest hour is just before the dawn...I feel a sunrise in your midst my dear friend.

Jenny said...

Yes, yes. I've felt the suffering this week again too. Thank you, my friend, for your words to remind me that I'm not alone in the struggle either.

Mary said...

I am in tears at the beauty of this post. Your words, as well as Dorothy's....wow. Right now, tonight, I can say that I am glad to ba a part of the communion of suffering and to know my life has a deeper meaning because of it.