Let’s go ahead and list some things that we want: I want to not have to worry about gluten, carbs or sugars. I want Cali to live forever (or at least the same amount of time as me). I want to be able to fit into those size 4 jeans that are on clearance at Nordstrom Rack. I want to live in a warm state year round, where my windows can always stay open without the worry about freezing to death or sweating profusely. I want to have a family, one with babies crying in the middle of the night and toddler hand prints marking my windows. I want to have a Starbucks drive thru a block from my house and I want fresh flowers to always grace my kitchen with their presence. Simple enough, right?
Wanting is a perplexing thing. Some things I want are obtainable, and others things seem so impossible that it leaves me frustrated since I simply can‘t wish it into existence. We have been raised in a society where we are told we can “be anything we want to be”. I always thought that statement was stupid, even as a child, knowing that even if I wanted to be an astronaut, putting my mind to it would likely not make it realistic. Well, you know what world, I want to be a mom! Let’s make it happen, snap snap!
But the truth is, even with science and technology what it is, sometimes that wish just isn’t as easy as it seems. In fact, we have been so lucky to have medically tried as much as we have. 6 clomid cycles, 3 (4? 5?) Femara cycles and IUI’s, 4 rounds of IVF, acupuncture and naturopathic appointments … all without insurance coverage? Yuck. I see friends of mine wanting a family so badly, yet the reality of the expenses that come with infertility treatments will forever prevent them from venturing down a more hands-on treatment. Adoption and surrogate costs are astronomically high as well. We are so blessed that we have even been able to try as much as we have.
Well World, a little piece of advice, sometimes you can’t be anything you want to be or do everything you want to do. Let’s be honest, I don’t think these hips of mine (and PCOS pooch) will ever fit into size 4 jeans. I have friends who ache because they thought they would be married by this stage of life or be further in their career or have a family. Wanting and trying just isn’t enough sometimes.
So then what? What happens when our expectations fall short of reality? I have found that when I focus my attention on what I want, my attention is so heightened to what I can’t have that it becomes an obsession. Never before in my life have I wanted to sit down and eat an entire loaf of Wonder Bread until I knew I couldn’t have gluten. Now I dream about it. (Kinda kidding, but not really.)
But what if I start letting go of the pursuit a bit? I am finding that simply loosening the reigns of the aggressive drive is helping me to minimize the adrenaline of the chase. And when that adrenaline goes down a little bit, the obsession lessens and suddenly I can see things a bit more clearly. (And the risk of idolatry lessens – more on that topic on a post from 2012 linked here.)
Don’t get me wrong – I still want (badly) to become a mom and have kids. I don’t think that will ever go away unless God does some major work on my heart, but what I am saying is I shouldn’t be obsessed with chasing that. Because the truth is, right now, our desires aren’t getting us anywhere and I’m tired of feeling drained due to infertility. Granted yes, some days the smallest gesture will still break my heart – seeing a dad wipe off his kid’s chin in the food court or walking past the baby section at Target – but when we step back, Josh and I find ourselves leaving kid-centered events saying “well, that wasn’t so bad!”. And we will still protect our hearts in areas we know that are triggers. It doesn’t make sense to put yourself in a place of hurting if you can avoid it. And other times, we have to suck it up and celebrate with others. I am still allowed to feel deeply and experience a range of emotions but my contentment MUST be rooted in Him above all else.
It’s good to think big and have hopeful expectations. We serve a God who rises up to meet and exceed our expectations. But when what we want becomes an obsession that we just can’t grasp, our happiness gets sucked out of us like water spinning down a bathtub drain.
I know we can find true joy in this waiting time. It is possible to live in a content state when our joy is rooted in HIM and not our circumstances. We can still take advantages of opportunities that come our way in efforts to pursue what we pray for, but we also can savor today for what it’s worth.
Today is the ONLY June 11, 2014 that we will ever have. I shudder at the thought that the days are going by faster than ever and I just don’t want to ever look back and regret that I lost the days in life because I was obsessed with a Want. Yes, there are still days and moments that are hard! This is life. Yes, there will be tears that fall. In the words of my go-to gal Shauna Niequist “…the ability to cry is a sign of health, because it means your body and your soul agree in something, and that what your soul is feeling, your body is responding to.” But when we pay attention, we find moments that are so simple and beautiful that I want to bottle them. Exquisitely colored sunsets. The smell of onions and garlic sautéing on the stove. The sound of my nieces laughing at Cali. The softness of Josh’s hand as it holds mine. The smooth voice of Jason Mraz as the music washes through my speakers. I have missed too many of these moments because I have been focusing on my cycle day, my sadness, my medicinal side effects or frustrations. No more. No more.
Okay, now granted, I know I sound like a broken record. The truth is I slip in and out of moments of strength and determination. But I am becoming more aware of these cycles and the lapses are becoming shorter and shorter. I’m excited to see what’s ahead with the infertility boombox turned down a bit. I have a feeling this summer will be the best one yet.
See you Friday for a new Friday Favorites post! :)