I must say, I have been much happier in my life lately. And by “lately,” I mean for about the past month, maybe two. But this is a big step for me, because I have spent much of the past seven years feeling sad and angry, grieving for lost babies and all the baggage that brings into other parts of my life.
A few weeks ago, I was leaving an event where I was helping to teach people about using essential oils for natural medicine. I love doing this. While driving home, I realized that there was, like, real happiness welling up in my heart. The group of people was positive and fun, I was doing something I love, and the people with whom I teach with are wonderful women. I am not sure what made this epiphany strike, but maybe it was remembering all the times I have driven home on that road at night, deep in thought or deep in grief. I wonder, how many of my days have passed in sorrow? To become truly aware of my happiness at that moment made me thank God. I felt free.
There have been other moments in recent weeks when I became aware that my soul is still in pain. Leafing through a book on parenting small children, reading about the author’s five little ones coming into her kitchen to “help” her cook. A lump forming in my throat as I think upon her five littles, making that huge mess. Thinking how stressed I get about the messes my TWO children make. Not really knowing what that means, if it means anything at all. It definitely meant the book went back on the shelf.
Or last week, watching American Idol auditions in Detroit. The editors spotlighted a cool, smiling, dred-locked man who has four young children and a beautiful wife. They invited the whole family into the audition room and the three judges just came to life interacting with those four young children. J-Lo gushed over the adorable baby. The wife beamed and J-Lo told the husband, “You are a blessed man!” The family was beautiful, and they had a great joy about them. I wished I were in that room, too, playing with those kids! (Funny how they conveniently left out all the parts where meltdowns must have hit while those kids spent all day in a hotel holding room!) And as happy as I was to see a family man getting a ticket to Hollywood, I also teared up and fought back a wave of emotion. Darn it, why is that so powerful? I left the room so my inquisitive 4-year-old wouldn’t start asking questions. J-Lo’s words kept running through my mind: “You are a blessed man.” He IS a blessed man. I am happy for them, with their four beautiful kids! And in my happiness for them, I remember how I wanted a large family, too, but most of mine have died. I have my two blessings and my wonderful husband. And yet I still grieve, and sometimes have to fight back tears when I’m reminded of what I’ve lost.
I have a cloudy lens. Over the years, loss has made it difficult for me to truly see the good things in my life. I mean, I see them, but I don’t see them. It’s like having cataracts… you see, but it’s all cloudy and you don’t really see. My lens is clearer than it was three months ago, but I’m still working on seeing clearly … on being truly thankful.
I suppose it’s all part of healing. It’s not like I haven’t walked the stages of grief before. This time, though, I am mourning the laying down of something I always wanted. It’s more like the death of a dream. I think our pursuit for a larger family is over. I flip-flop sometimes, imagining what it would be like to try to get pregnant again. I remember all the “cons” of that pretty quickly, though, and I feel pretty maxed out with two kids anyway.
And so I work on cleaning up that lens of mine each time – reminding myself of all the reasons it’s good for me to be content with two. Doing my best to give thanks for them. Reflecting upon my happy marriage. Trying to focus on what I’ve been given instead of what’s been taken away. Trying to focus on being a good parent, to the best of my ability. Focusing on healing and freedom in the Lord instead of continuing on a path that just brought more hardship to my life. I AM free. I believe I’ve made choices in the past six months that have led me to a place where I’m happier. Those little choices are something I can control, and I am grateful to have a choice.
What about you? Have you seen yourself making choices that surprise you? Choices that have been difficult to make, but have set you free from pain or bitterness? Share them with us. I am sure many of us could learn from your experience!
May you have a happier, healthier 2014 – wherever your path may lead. And if you tear up in random places, you are not alone!