Friday, April 18, 2014

The Truth Is...

I can't believe it has taken me nearly two months to sit down and post on here.  I would say I have been busy, but the truth is...I have been pretty self-absorbed and even a little afraid to post what I need to say.  I am not afraid to tell my truth.  It's just that sometimes when you tell it, the words are hot, searing, raw.  But I can't get away from where I am right now and  what has been on my mind and heart.  Lots of good things have been happening (I met one of my favorite bloggers at the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids last week, but that is a post for next time).  But there have been some things going on in my life that have caused me to take pause.

My husband and I, now married a year and four months, have an empty house still.  By now there should have been children's voices and laughter and even cries.  I should be holding our child in my arms and waxing poetic how my husband's namesake takes a nap with him every Saturday afternoon.  I posted about how our house really was made for children to live in, our backyard was made for romping and playing and discovering.

But there is only the silence.

The silence is what kills my passion sometimes.  I hate to say it like that.  But it is my truth.  It is a hard truth, but mine nonetheless.

I have what the doctors say in all the medical blogs and books about reproduction; I have "unexplained infertility".  People have tried to tell me that a baby will come at some point.  Just relax.  Just chill out.  Just do this.  Just do that.  I don't get mad anymore at the well meaning suggestions.  I just get quiet and stop telling people because quite frankly all the people telling me that have at least one child clamoring for their attention.  They don't know what it feels like to be in my position.  And I don't expect them to understand.  I just expect them to listen.

I want to say, "If you love me...just listen.  Don't try to resolve what a doctor couldn't.  Don't try to tell me what I should be doing when you have never been here before.  Don't give me a list of dos and don'ts because I've done all that.  You aren't telling me something new."

As I thought about this "unexplained fertility" and what that means for my empty house and empty arms a year after all the tests and procedures started, I realized something that I haven't heard anyone say.  I realized that for now there is a truth that I am embracing that will make all these people that mean well quite uncomfortable.

I read a book recently called The Rise, written by Sarah Lewis.  In her book she explores the topic of failure in creativity.  This intrigues me as an artist, a writer, a creator.  And as a woman that longs to be a mom.

I am wrestling with the idea of loss or what could be defined as the near win (as she talks about in the book).  In terms of my life right now, The near win signifies the failure wrapped inside of infertility.  This has been a difficult and embarrassing process - this process of disappointment.  I thought that pregnancy would just happen.  I mean, point blank, I have my job because a whole bunch of pregnancies just happened (not all but a goodly number of them) and we are trying to figure out what to do about the children.

The truth is, at least for me right now, we live in fallible bodies, and where we think we will be physically successful, we may not be.  I didn't take into consideration that there aren't any guarantees in this body.  There are no guarantees that we won't get sick or have abnormalities or unexplained deficiencies.  We can't control these bodies; we have the responsibilities to take care of them and treat them right.  But there are no guarantees that they will operate as they were intended to in God's mind and heart when He made human beings.  There is no guarantee that our bodies won't fail.

We can live with a supernatural awareness that we can be healed and whole.  But we can also have bodies that go their own way.  We don't like to look at it that way.  I believe that is why a lot of people that mean well in my life won't like this post.  They don't want to hear that I accept whatever is going on in my body right now and what hasn't happened and what didn't work.  They don't want to hear this: infertility is a failure to reproduce.  Infertility is a failure of the body.

In this realization, I am not focused on the perceived failure.  I am not looking for pity or quick answers.  I am running to God at a breakneck speed.  Why?  Because this unexplained infertility explains my need for God - more than ever now.  It shows my physical need for God.

I need Him to fill in the gaps - whether than means to heal what appears to be fragmented or fractured or broken or  whether that means to change my perspective.  That change is difficult - more than anyone can imagine.  When you think you will accomplish the very thing you have always dreamed to accomplish (even something as seemingly base as birthing a child) and you don't, it rocks you.  You can get knocked off your proverbial square right on your ass.  And the question becomes not whether you can do that one more fertility treatment or lose weight or pray and fast about it; it becomes whether you can love God despite the disappointment.  Whether you can still look Him in the eyes and not look away, holding His gaze, and letting the tears fall.

A lot of people look away from God when they are disappointed.  Or they try religion on for size when real faith is too raw.

The change of perception is difficult, but it prepares you for what God really means to happen.

When I read this woman's book, my faith was solidified even in this.  I can still grow from this.  I can be made better.  I can take in the failure and then redirect the energy of it into a more healthy and creative space.  I appreciate people's attempts at cushioning the blow of infertility.  I love the testimonies from other women that have overcome it (one way or another).  I know that when they try to talk me out of seeing the infertility issue as a failure of the body (which is actually the proof that this body is fallible in need of an infallible God), they are really uncomfortable with nature of this and want to make me feel better.  It's hard seeing the person you love hurting and depressed and disappointed (like I was).

But body is fallible. IT IS.  Yours is; everybody's is in one way or another.  My body is supposed to fail sometimes because I live in it, and it lives on this earth.  Whether we like it or not, this is the truth.

But it's not ALL the truth.

God is on the other side of our fallibility.

This is not a negative self-view.  For me this is a form of grace - not punishment - to see that this body needs God as much as my mind and heart and spirit does.  The creative part of my feminine body has the potential to fail.  And when I see that, I don't see me as bad or unworthy.

I see myself in a place of vulnerability and in need of God Himself.  Right here.  Right in this space where it hurts and I am bleeding and raw on the inside.  Right here where my arms ache to hold our baby.  He is right here.

"Improbable foundations lead to iconic rises," Sarah Lewis says.

So now the question is no longer, how in the world am I expected to get through this?  It becomes, whose life will rise from my body's failure?