Every time I think I’m done writing about infertility, life throws surprises, and I find myself with new stories to process. Starting a job in a church and meeting loads of people brings up new rounds of questions for me.
I’ve been infertile for a decade, and I keep thinking I’ll finish working through my issues at some point. It’s naive, and, frankly, I should know better because grief doesn’t quite work that way. We get better at carrying it. But, still it sneaks up on us in cycles and waves.
I started writing in the middle of the story because I found myself aggravated by the published materials sanitizing the dramatic, painful middle with happy adoption endings or magic surprise babies. Finding material that helpfully wrestled the tension in the messy, broken middle was difficult. And so, I wrote my story here.
Mostly, I’ve made fragile peace with this story. This is my life. I can’t change it. And, there’s so much that’s wonderful in my life. Infertility is only a portion of my story — not the whole thing.
But, in the midst of getting-to-know-you small talk these days, I found myself with new waves of shame and deeper questions. Every time I think I figured out how to navigate the small talk game, like in this old post, the rules of the game change. Continue reading
I aim for perfect.
The goal isn’t praise or accolades; praise makes me awkward, especially when I’m just doing what was expected of me. Really, I want to avoid disgruntled comments. I desperately want to be competent, and the fear I’ll be weighed and found wanting drives my compulsive striving. I manage better when I limit the areas where I feel a need to be competent.
The problem: I forget to set my limits consciously and strategically.
When everything is up for grabs–home, family, faith, work, photography, friends– my vision blurs like a telephoto zoom lens panning in and out without focusing. It’s exhausting. Continue reading
Every year in the week leading up to Easter, I read the stories of Jesus’ crucifixion in the Gospels. After so many readings, I know how the story ends.
Even so, I find myself wishing for an interruption in the story. I’m like Peter in Matthew 16 who wants to deny that suffering will happen to Jesus. I want Pilate to stand up to the religious leaders. I mutter to myself about the folks eager to get Jesus crucified, and somehow I pray each time they find some hidden capacity for grace and love over fear.
Resurrection — yes, please! But this crucifixion part, I struggle to look full on in the face. Continue reading
As I wrote the highlights of my reading from 2016, every part of me wanted to defend my reading choices, explain what I learned. Particularly choices I thought may be controversial. As the word count for the draft scaled 1,500 words after book four of twelve, something had to give.
Nobody wants to read that. Not even me. Probably not even J, who likes to read everything I write (God bless him for his enthusiastic support! How I love that man and the way he loves me!).
The words my friend Lo gave me from Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” came rushing into my brain. I don’t have to be perfect. I can be quirky and strange, as I actually am. I don’t need to hang my head as though the books filling my sails with air and faith and hope last year needed to be explained. I am allowed to celebrate the books God used to mold me.
So I chopped and simplified the post, largely leaving the books unqualified and unexplained — minus two with disclaimers from the authors themselves. Perhaps it’s mysterious, perhaps not quite persuasive enough. Perhaps it leaves more questions than answers.
What matters most about that post is not the actual book list, but the vital lesson I learned about me as a writer. Continue reading
Middle Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park
Recently Dad, J and I spent a few days hiking around what we Minnesotans call the North Shore. I dug out my camera and was excited to experiment with my shutter speed settings as I photographed waterfalls. If done well, slowing the shutter speed captures the flow of the water while keeping a crisp surrounding landscape.
This image taken at Gooseberry Falls seems peaceful and quiet, like I might be the only person there.
But, I was not. There were swarms, like every other time we failed to get there really early in the morning. Continue reading
A little over three years ago was the last time I saw a positive pregnancy test. After months of fertility treatments, the month we did nothing, I was pregnant.
And three years ago this week, the dream crashed and burned at our ultrasound appointment, which ended in me being whisked off for an emergency surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy (and a fallopian tube).
Looking back at the blog posts then, I see my hope that God could bring about a pregnancy shrinking as I took stock of my new reality. I found myself asking: “What happens to faith in the midst of unanswered questions?” Continue reading
I never understood yarrow’s appeal. A frequent staple in perennial gardens, it’s a lingering weed in my yard, one left behind from the previous homeowners. It still creeps along in the grass seemingly impossible to kill. And the scruffy foliage and tiny flowers didn’t appeal to me. Just blah. I thought it was ugly. Continue reading