Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lost and Found

I hardly know where to begin.

I mean, when you reappear after an unexplained blog absence with the first post in almost three months... it had better be a good one.

Let me first begin to explain the unexplainable.

June, July, and August have brought with them incredible suffering. In the midst of going through an intense healing process in our relationship, something I hope to one day divulge in more detail, we were, and are still, dealing with the following: finding out (after becoming ungaurdedly excited about the prospect) that we cannot even begin to pursue Foster Care until the probation is 6 months behind us (meaning, 2014 we *may* have a chance to try again); having our first modification application for our mortgage be denied based on "not enough income"; living paycheck to paycheck while working myself into the ground, sending in countless resumes and cover letters for Mr TCIE, and getting nowhere due to the recent felony conviction; and experiencing one of the most severe spiritual droughts yet encountered in our marriage. We completed the Consecration to Mary on our annual renewal date, August 15th (Assumption), but only barely, and let's face it, most of the time we were just uttering the words as quickly as possible with no feeling whatsoever.

I know Mr TCIE has also been going through these difficulties. But this blog, being from my perspective, will focus at this time on what I was feeling this summer...

this summer, as I dealt with all of the above, and simultaneously watched one person after another after another bring home yet another child. To say the reality of it was painful is a comical understatement. I felt... like death. Like death before it has imparted its last blow, a blow which inevitably brings with it the peace of finality. I hurt. I ached. And I still do. Except, now I finally have a grasp on where I'm going from here. But more on that later.


Reading blog announcement after blog announcement brought me to an ugly place. A place full of jealousy, contempt, and most of all, resentment. I realized I wasn't avoiding reading the joyful news on the blogs. I was only avoiding writing on my own. I wasn't sure why that was. But when I actually found myself FORCING my fingers NOT to type what I was REALLY thinking in the comment boxes (with one drunken exception in late July on Sew's blog... oops), I knew I needed some kind of intervention.

I mentioned that what I felt most poignantly was resentment. Although, while I could identify the emotion, I could not fully identify its source. All I could articulate, at the time, was through an ugly sob to Mr TCIE one night: "I feel like God is just GIVING out babies like candy!!!... And all the FAT kids keep getting FATTER!!!" (Eloquent, no?)

It was different years ago. Years ago, this online forum was a safe haven from the usual frustrations in the life of an infertile/childless woman. Even those suffering from secondary infertility wrote first and formeost about their infertility struggles, with the occasional young child anecdote, usually relating back to the infertility. I knew that part of my resentment had to do with the fact that I felt triply offended now by God, as one of the only veterans left, made to watch as those who used to be where I was* continue to reap in the blessings, and ironically, mostly through adoptions, in a summer when I was bound from even hoping to do the same someday.

*I say "used to be where I was" and not "where I am," because I do see a huge difference in where I am now and where I was just two years ago. I think that veteran status does give a different perspective on how others react to their journey, and I'm not sure if it's a time thing, a spiritual thing, or a "total experience" of all types of suffering thing (perhaps a combination of all three), but I do sometimes feel like a wise old man in Confucian China. Or maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety. I did turn 31 this summer, after all.

But still, I knew there was more to my resentment than just that. I mean, if others' blogs were the primary source, why avoid my own blog? At first, I decided that I didn't want to put all of that ugliness out there. I've made it a point to bring a message of hope through this blog for all these years, and I didn't want it to suddenly turn into a bitter, jealous vent-fest. (Honestly... if you only knew some of the thoughts that were going through my head... just ask Leila... I'm pretty sure after my emergency therapy phone session with her, she immediately began offering sacrifices for my sorry soul.) But, no. It was even more than that. I had a ton of "material" to write, and yes, while ugliness was the theme of the summer in my head, I could have censored out the ugly and still produced some readable material. There was something else holding me back from writing.

And it was probably midway through my blog hiatus that I began to realize, I was resentful to be TCIE. As soon as the thought first entered my mind, I knew it to be the main underlying reason for my ugliness. I was no longer blogging because I was tired of being the persona of my blog. I was so angry with God for keeping me locked into this life of helping others carry their cross by embracing my own... that I decided to just stop carrying it. Well, at least a big part of it. Don't worry, He gave me plenty more to carry as the summer wore on.

And it helped. I still suffered, and greatly. I still read others' blogs, because, what can I say, I have a healthy dose of Melancholic in me, and we do tend towards masochism. I managed to get to confession, and discussed the spiritual indifference I was feeling with my priest, who informed me that I was in the desert. Desert, indeed. With no end in sight. This is one of the toughest times of my life. Which is, again, ironic, seeing as I'm pretty sure I've written those words oh, about 8 times previously on this blog.

At a certain point, I felt ready to come back to blogging. Maybe two weeks ago or so. Most of the ugliness had passed, and I wanted to jump back in with some updates, etc. But now, knowing that I had been gone for so long, I wasn't quite sure how to make that re-entry. The pressure of writing "the perfect" blog post was mounting. Quick Takes wasn't gonna cut it. I needed something really good.

But then the resentment started in again. I began to feel like my presence in the blog world was missing, and I "owed" it to people to come back and write about hope in the midst of suffering, and joy in the midst of pain. But then... I didn't want to, again. And so, another two weeks passed.

Then, there was today. Mass. I've continued going, and mostly paying attention to the readings and homilies. I sing in the choir so what has helped me stay structured in Mass during this spiritual drought is preparing for the next song. Today, we sang The Summons.

A song I know well. Wrote about it recently, after recalling one of my favorite posts of AYWH's on the same song years ago. Somehow, this song manages to teach me something new each time I hear and sing it.

The line that has always been the most effective for me is: "Will you love the 'you' you hide if I but call your name?" But not today.

Today, a new phrase jumped out at me, screaming at me to listen... and reflect.

"Will you let me answer prayer in you, and you in Me?"


I have a collection of gifts, letters, and cards from bloggers I've become close to over the years, and the other day, I was reading a few of these cards. Several times, there was mention of my blog bringing deeper faith, stronger spirituality, and solace and compassion. (While touched, I remember thinking while reading these recently, "Uhhhh, how does my incessant complaining do all that??")

My work in FertilityCare and NaPro is a blessing to me, and I know I am, in some small way, helping those people I come in contact with through work.
But when I sang this line in The Summons, I began to look at my blog in a different way.

This blog is a way of connecting with people on a more personal level. On a Christ-like level, that cannot always be achieved through my professional life. It is here that I can truly "be myself," and let others come to find themselves through my own written self-discovery. This is a modern explosion of the body of Christ. I cannot distance myself from that. Yes, I can and should distance myself from the aspects of this blogosphere which cause harm and suffering... but I need to continue to allow God to answer prayer in me, and I in Him - however He sees fit.

Truth be told, I love my blog. But I am not my blog. And I've made that distinction today. To allow God to work through me in what I write on this blog does not have to mean that I am nailing myself to the blog as my new cross. Does that make any sense? I hope so. Because it's crystal clear to me, now.

As far as my current life is concerned, I am cautiously optimistic. I know from past experience that just when you think things couldn't possibly get any worse, ohhhhhhhh how silly you are!! - but this time, I have my old friend back: you. All of you. The body of Christ, in my life. It is a life worth living. Stay tuned for what happens next...

36 comments:

Carla Dobs said...

Blessings to you my sister in Jesus!

Missed you and glad you are back!

Carla

Carla Dobs said...

Blessings to you my sister in Jesus!

Missed you and glad you are back!

Carla

Chasing said...

I'm glad you are back. For the first post back, I think you hit it out of the park ;-) I am very sorry to hear that the summer has been such a time of suffering for you. Prayers continue...

Rebecca said...

I spent so much time in prayer last week praying for us - both of us. Every single prayer I uttered for myself was said for you as well, as I placed your intentions in the prayer basket to go before the Blessed Sacrament, as I shed more tears than I knew it was possible to shed in 5 days, I clung to the hope that God would answer your prayers. It was all I had, I was depleted and angry and convinced He would not answer mine, so I begged Him to answer yours.

I say this not to boast, but to say "I get it." The body of Christ that comes from this community is what makes it the place that it is. The prayers answered and prayers begged for and prayers barely whispered for one another are truly allowing God to work in and through us.

It is sometimes so hard - harder than words can say, and I know you know this better than I, in ways I can only fear - to open the computer and approach this community; to say what I really want to say (um, yes, this summer has been excruciatingly painful); and to search for some sense of community.

While I long to rejoice with you in your parenthood, I am so grateful you come here and share yourself; that you offer the truth, no matter how ugly it may be; and that you offer hope - that despite the pain, despite the disappointments, despite the anger, despite it all there is life to be lived, love to be had, and faith to be grown in IF.

Thank-you. Thank-you for being here. For being real and honest and loving. You are in my prayers friend.

Silvana said...

(((Hugs)))

E said...

SO glad you are back. You were missed! Your reflections are beautiful. I'm sorry I didn't get it that this summer was really THAT bad. I really should have been offering up so much for suffering than I did. But, I do know, that you were faithful to the Blessed Mother and no doubt she will be faithful to you. Even if you weren't "feelin'" it, you did it, and that is what counts. Praying for you!!!

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Continued prayers for you.

Hebrews 11:1 said...

You radiate God's grace and love more than just about any person I've ever met. You are a saint in the making, my friend, and I'm neither joking nor exaggerating. You inspire me to be a better and holier person, and my life would be sorely lacking had I never "met" you!! :) I heart you and I missed you and I'm so glad you are back.

All in His Perfect Timing said...

I am glad to read an update! You have inspired me so much in my times of waiting and still do now. I have been praying daily for you. Spiritual drought is terrible to experience. I'll pray for Jesus to carry you through.
Ever since your The Summons post, I have thought of you EVERY time I sing that song. I think of how the words apply to me and how they impacted you. I tear up each time I sing it, aching for you to be done carrying your cross. I wish I could do or say more than just "I'm praying for you."

LP said...

So glad to see you!

I'm sure you have heard the little pat phrase that I always hated but could never shake: "Intimacy is into-me-see" - nothing quite sums it up like that. On a spiritual level, it doesn't seem trite anymore but real and awesome and powerful. I think you are totally onto something with "letting yourself be seen."

I have been very blessed by coming to know the infertility bloggers through Jer 29 and have reaped a lot of spiritual fruit from each of you. I don't stand in your shoes, but all of us are bound up together in some way, and Christ's movements in us and calls to us and lessons revealed to us can help each other immensely.

Thank you for coming back :)

Peace be with you TCIE!

Anonymous said...

I wondered what happened to you. And you could always change your blog name to something like, "I'm Ready for a Miracle" Though our lives are different, I know how crappy it feels to be resentful and in the desert. So in a way I relate to you.

Lena

A Martha trying to be Mary said...

I have been thinking about you and specially on the 15th of August knowing you were facing a hard time.

You are right, this is the body of Christ and both in our suffering and joy we stand by Him.

While your husbands situation is different from mine, I know how hard it is to be the main breadwinner and as an infertile practitioner is not always easy to face IF, miscarriage and pregnancies.

If I can help in anyway with adoption in Mexico or Latin America please let me know. We can always check if its an option for you. =)

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

I will always stay tuned! I learn so much from you!

Endless Strength said...

Continuing to pray for you and have missed your presence.

JellyBelly said...

I am so blessed to count you amongst my closest friends. You are truly an inspiration to me.

Little JoAnn said...

Your insight that you are not your blog is spot on.

I know you--and all of us--are so much more than our blogs and I am so glad you said this.

Your insight about your blog being part of the community of the body of christ is truly beautiful...

I have checked your blog about a 1,000 times since you took your break...

I stopped my blog because

1) it was getting stupid in a lot of the ways you describe

2) I just could not keep blogging about my blessings when there are those who are still waiting and suffering

3) Unlike you, I have never manage to meet any other bloggers in real life and to me, it was just getting too frustrating not to meet actual Sisters in Christ in the flesh.

Your blog was the first blog in IF land that I have read. And, though I have stopped reading most blogs now (for the same reasons you describe above and for my own reason that I don't like the unnatural element of reading about people I do not know). Now I read only 2 blogs, yours and 1 other woman's.

I will never stop reading your Blog because you transcends IF.

You have the soul of a Saint...and Saints are people you do not have to meet to feel intimately connected with as their insights are from God.

Donna said...

Many pryaers for you being uttered here! Thanks for coming back, we did miss you so.

Patiently Waiting...... said...

I missed you, TCIE. And I am so sorry that this summer was filled with so much suffering. I know that we did not do summer prayer buddies but I voluntarily assigned you to myself and kept you in my prayers. The adoption and pregnancy announcements have been so numerous and it has to be so painful. You are an honest woman. Like so many of the other ladies you were one of the first blogs I came across on this journey and I will be forever grateful for the spiritual direction and guidance you provided to me. You will remain in my prayers.

Jeremiah 29:11 said...

Praying for your strength and that Gods peace will fill your heart.

Kat said...

TCIE I am glad you are back! I recently came across your blog during a very dark time in my life and your words have helped me in so many ways. I stopped blogging 2years ago because I felt that the only thing I had to write about was suffering and dealing w/ infertility. Now, though I am still in the midst of suffering w/infertility I feel that I can blog about it. God bless you and you are in my prayers!

rosetells84 said...

You've been in my prayers, and will continue to be. I prayed especially for you at a healing mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help on July 11. I'm so sorry for all your suffering.

St. Rita's Roses said...

SO happy to have you back!! I feel like my comments to your well thought out, inspiring, Godly posts are so simple and stupid! I am sorry it has been such a tough summer. Cant wait to hear what else has been going on...

o, and I understand if you want to unfriend me ;)

Ania said...

Just when you think you can't outdo yourself, you go and do it TCIE. I'm never as eloquent as you, but please know your blog did and still does give me so much strength and hope.

I feel I have little to offer in terms of comfort and encouragement. I am so sorry this summer has been so hard. All I can offer are my humble, "fat kid" prayers. Love to you pretty lady. Keep standing strong as the mighty oak you are!

barbie said...

Love you TCIE. so glad you are back.This a was a perfect come back post...don't leave again!

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

I think a lot of souls just got a great spiritual lift by seeing your blog reopen! Mine did. :) You know I love you. And aside from my own family, you are the one constant in my prayers at every single mass.

Like everyone else said and truly means, you inspire me. There is something big God is doing through you. Remember, Mother Theresa went, oh, 50 years with no spiritual consolation. But no one would ever mistake her for being unloved by God. Nope, she has one of the most special places, right next to His Sacred Heart. We all wish we could be as close to the Lord as she was and is.

Methinks you might have a very special place in His Heart, too.

I am glad you are back. :)

surpriseofunfolding said...

I missed you. I wish 'the desert' wasn't such a terribly difficult place for you to be, and I hope the way to rain, new rivers etc. comes for you soon.

Andie

surpriseofunfolding said...

I missed you. I wish 'the desert' wasn't such a terribly difficult place for you to be, and I hope the way to rain, new rivers etc. comes for you soon.

Andie

Faith makes things possible said...

Ugh-I had a long, what I would like to think, nice comment and then.it.wouldnt.post. :/

In a nutshell:
- SO glad you're back!
-I missed you.
-my dh and I pray for y'all often!!!
-like a whole lot.

silverbeetle said...

I am sorry you had such a rough summer. I am in the desert, too. I am so glad you're back to blogging. You continue to be in my prayers. MJ

polkadot said...

You write so beautifully. You really do. I agree you have gained a lot of wisdom from your IF journey. You could probably coin your own version of "Confucius say..." with "TCIE say..." ;)

But if you're old and crotchety, then I am too. ;)

So sorry your foster care timeline is being pushed back and that you've faced the other difficulties this summer. It sounds like so much handle at once. Both you and Mr. TCIE (including the job situation) have been in my prayers often. Hugs!!

mary said...

I've missed your blog this summmer! I'm so glad that you are back. Once again, you've inspired me.

sweet jane said...

I've been bragging about being your sister for 25+ years, but I've never taken quite so much heartfelt pride in this fact until the past two years. You're in my prayers every day, more than anyone else in my life, and I see such beautiful things happening in you. I keep praying that someday very soon beautiful things will happen TO you as well. But until then, I honestly see you as one of the most blessed people I know - blessings that so many others would reject. God's plan is beautiful, and I see that clearly in your life, even when I ache for the other good things you are longing to experience.

Praying. Every day.

Beth said...

Welcome back!

the misfit said...

Initially, when I started blogging, I was drowning in anger. Reading other bloggers and realizing that my experiences weren't insanity, but the reaction of a sane person to an awful experience, helped me to get back on track, and own my anger, and have a more balanced life. But I have found, increasingly in the last year or two, that I have much more peace of soul when I am largely absent from blogging for weeks at a time. I can muster the energy for any one "congratulations!" or "how cute!" comment, but what is the cumulative effect when I went to that world to find solace and fellow-feeling and found yet another opportunity - dozens of them - to practice being nice to people whose lives are making mine harder? These people started these blogs because THEY knew THEY needed to get away from that. And they got to, but now, I don't. I'm not questioning the value of your documenting your spiritual journey (which I know has been of great value to me as a reader), but I know my blog doesn't offer that value :). And now, I've noticed I have no readers at all. I guess if I had transitioned to a world in which infertility was forgotten and only babies were interesting, I wouldn't read my blog either, so how surprised can I be?

My thinking has been that if I prefer reading about design and decor (frivolous topics, to be sure, but at least not actively harmful!), I should write a blog about those things, and abandon this increasingly absurd corner of the blogosphere. Your contribution, obviously, is different. But I would be interested in your thoughts on this point: while your writing continues to offer value to your readers, you started your blog (I assume) to be part of a greater community, one that offered mutual support. That community has fundamentally altered; I would argue that it is fundamentally GONE. If you determine that there is still value in wriitng your blog, would there not also be value in seeking, or crafting, some forum which offers the support we all originally recognized we needed (and most people got as long as they needed it)?

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

Body of Christ, Misfit... Body of Christ. There will be no support for the taking if there is no support first given.

Blessed and Broken said...

"Truth be told, I love my blog. But I am not my blog."

What a powerful insight. I know 2014 seems so far. I will be praying for this prospect.