Probably for most of the world, hearing somebody say, “We’re pregnant!” brings boundless joy and excitement. Not for us. What we notice right off is the huge blinking neon sign flashing over our head: “INFERTILE, INFERTILE, INFERTILE”.
It’s not that we aren’t happy for our friends. I think. I don’t know – that’s not anything we ever get to address. Every new pregnancy announcement brings the strain of a smiling face (after all, it’s not their neon sign), hours of snotty sobbing, and more hours of prayer and recovery. Hey, we’re just trying to get to a place where we don’t want to jump off a bridge. Trying for happiness, well, gosh, what a foreign concept.
Sometimes, the flesh really comes out and I entertain wishes that others could have a hard time or a scare to know the teeniest bit about what we go through… and it’s not just infertility. It’s entangled with our sons dying. No, not just miscarriage in the first trimester (though we can check that box six times). Actually delivering two perfectly healthy sons and knowing they are dying and then them being dead – well, that’s indescribable. The only picture that comes to mind is from Indiana Jones when the tribal leader removes the man’s heart with his fist. Except, he got to die…we’ve had to keep living.
When every new pregnancy announcement ignites the neon sign and flares of six lost babies plus Isaac & Samuel shoot around…how will we ever be able to get to a place of happiness for our friends?
If we try looking at our friends and saying they deserve it, that sure doesn’t help. On paper, we deserve it, too. Maybe even more. Plus, that could just invite feelings of guilt over past sin. That’s forgiven and long gone. Don’t need to go there again.
Where can we look? Misery and despair is not our hearts’ desire even if we have to assert that as a matter of obedience. We look, then, to the King.
And that’s as much as I know. No deep realisations yet. No wisdom spilling forth. To be honest, my heart has not gotten to a place of happiness. This is the first time I’ve ever been enough off the edge to consider this.
But, it’s to the throne that we go in all suffering, weariness, and despair. That’s where Jesus went. God promises us peace if we cry out to Him. He promises us joy if we ask Him for it. He promises us love if we open our hearts to Him.
We will see how God does that here. I have faith He’ll come get me; He always does.
In the meantime, what neon signs flash over your head? How do you handle the bright lights? What neon signs blink incessantly over your friends’ heads? Do you extend compassion and grace to them? Do you acknowledge their burden?
They want you to. Trust me. The joy/suffering reciprocal is a main topic in all support groups. My dear friend is even divorcing Facebook because the constant statuses are making her neon sign cause a hole in the ozone. The jealousy or envy you think they might have…that’s really a deep desire for understanding and intimacy within the context of that particular suffering.
And in your acknowledgement and suffering with them, nothing is greater than pointing them towards the King who can turn the flashing sign into a celebration…for their hearts and yours.