Friday, October 18, 2013
To hope again
Here's something about me: I'm a little weirdo who has, on several occasions, liked a blog so much that I had to go back to the start and read from the beginning. I guess partly it's because I'm nosy, but also partly it's because it is so fascinating to see how people's lives unfold.
I mean, reading biographies is one thing, but it's another to read about someone who is living right this very second, somewhere across the country, and the things they experienced--possibly in the same town you lived in!--just a few short years ago.
And it's like watching your favorite movie because you know how the ending goes; things work out, you know they end up with the cute family, the successful blog, and all that self-assuredness. But the journey, that is fascinating. You quickly learn that everyone has problems, and that what seems on the surface like a perfect, beautiful life (and it is), is the result of concerted effort to make it so, and to appreciate, celebrate, and be grateful for what is given.
Lately I've been reading Natalie's blog, Hey Natalie Jean. For starters, the woman unabashedly loves You've Got Mail and grumpy old men, (though has she discovered Mike Rowe yet?), and peppers her posts with quotes from Little Women, Peter Pan, and Anne of Green Gables. Plus, I have a (probably unhealthy) romantic attachment to the idea of living in New York City, for many reasons that don't need to be discussed here. So naturally I was drawn by my curiosity of how this girl somehow achieved one of my ultimate dreams--living in the city with a sweet husband and adorable little boy. That is her present, but her past, it turns out, is so relatable to me.
From this post, where she admits to having spent some time being sad (literally), and deciding to celebrate and make something of her life, my attention was hooked. I feel that right now. My life is far from perfect, or where I want it to be, or how I think it should have unfolded. I've spent some time wallowing in it, feeling my misfortunes and lingering on the injustices I suffer, and thus forgetting to make the most of what I have. As Natalie puts it, I need to create my life, instead of waiting for it to happen.
I'm oh so grateful to Natalie for being open about her infertility. You see, I don't often write about it, but I am a 28 year old woman, I am LDS, and I am single. This is so hard. I think people get that this is hard, but I don't think very many get how hard. Now obviously I only understand one side of the equation, but I do understand what it's like to not be able to have the husband and the babies I want so very much. And so it has helped so much to read about someone else's struggles and anguish, and determined hope. Like Natalie wrote, how strange it is to think of finding inspiration in a blog. Yet, my goodness, it's exactly what I've needed.
I've thought lately about my lack of faith. I swore I'd never be one of those faithless, bitter girls who stops going to activities or believing she'll ever get married. That's easy to swear when you're 25, with only a failed relationship or two. A few years later and the future seems to stretch out in front of you, empty and lonely and hopeless. But faith is a choice, and I think hope is a choice too. Forgive me if my doctrine is incorrect, because I'm still working on this.
I had the epiphany not so long ago that I really was going about things the wrong way. I thought about how my patriarchal blessing told me I'd be called to serve a mission. I was surprised, sure, but I really can't remember doubting it. I mean, there it was, plain as day! I prayed about it and worked on receiving a confirmation, and learning from the Lord when the right time would be. My mission was everything it was promised to be, and more, because you never really get it until you're there experiencing it.
In contrast, why is it that when I read the line about being sealed and having a family, I am faced with utter doubt and disbelief? How can I accept one promise with such assurance, even before it was fulfilled, but completely reject the other? As I've thought about this for the last while, again, Natalie wrote about something similar (and here).
I have also loved the posts and tidbits about her husband, because these give me hope, too. They help me remember why this wait is worth it. How adorable is this? And this is so tender. I can wait if this is the reward.
Finally, this post gave me so much encouragement. That I too can ask and receive help, and that waiting doesn't mean helplessly standing by. I'm not meant to stand by, I'm meant to take part and work with God.
I'm writing this as much as anything to bookmark for myself the posts that have meant so much to me, but also to share these favorites with you. Probably this was journal material, but then again, these are thoughts I've shared or wanted to share with friends in similar situations.
Like I said at the beginning of this (far too lengthy!) post, it is the sweetest thing to read an old post like this one, and to think to yourself, "Oh Natalie, in just a few short years you'll have exactly that! If you could only imagine that you'll one day have exactly everything you wanted, and more!" And oh, that gives me hope. I like to think God is up there listening to my prayers and thinking, "Oh Megan! In just a few short years you'll have everything you wanted and more!" It gives me more hope than I've felt in a long time.