My students cannot, no matter how hard they try, resist putting a “happy ending” on their essays. They always want to give novels a positive spin—even novels that clearly illustrate a pessimistic view of life and humanity.
For instance, one of my students recently wrote an essay about Of Mice and Men. His thesis was “Through Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck proves that mankind’s idealized dreams are often crushed by their harsh realities.” In his essay, he detailed how (spoiler alert…skip to the next paragraph if you’ve never read this novel) George had a grand dream of owning a farm with his best friend Lennie; however, he couldn’t earn the money to buy the farm because Lennie’s mental disability caused them to lose job after job and kept them running all over the country. Ultimately, he had to shoot Lennie to save him from a vicious and angry mob, and his dream died with Lennie.
At the end of this gloomy essay—in fact as the final, conclusive line—he wrote, “But just because your dreams get crushed, you shouldn’t give up trying; keep trying and someday your dreams will come true.”
Sorry, kid, but I don’t think that was the message of Steinbeck’s book, nor does that fit with the rest of your essay. But I admire your optimism.
I guess I’m like my students. I can’t leave a post like yesterday’s without a happier ending. I have to write a follow-up.
One of my favorite scriptures is Psalms 30:5: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
I often think about that verse when I am going through something difficult. Sometimes the “night” may last more than a night—sometimes it can last for weeks or months or years—but eventually, joy does return.
I didn’t go to school yesterday. I couldn’t. I slept in until 11:30 a.m., woke up with one of those crying headaches, wrote in my journal, thought, prayed, did a little online shopping (retail therapy), went out to dinner with Ryan, and made chocolate chip cookies with one of my best friends.
It turned out to be a pretty good day.
I will admit that being back at school today wasn't very fun; sometimes teenagers are whiny, lazy, and insensitive. But I survived the day. We all have times in life when we just have to power through.
One of the two things that I bought online yesterday was a cute necklace with Ryan’s and my initials. I am going to wear it to remind myself that, no matter how tough life gets, I have Ryan. They say the stress of infertility can destroy a marriage. Ry and I have been doing pretty well, in fact I’d say we’re closer than ever. But Wednesday night, after we got the news of yet another failed adoption, I am ashamed to say that I took my anger out on Ryan. I yelled at him, and he yelled at me back (believe it or not, Ryan can yell); but then we hugged and snuggled in bed, and he played with my hair, which always makes me feel better.
I can’t let anything come between me and my Ry.
I want to thank everyone for supporting and praying for us. After reading yesterday's post, a few people emailed me and said, “I hope I’ve never said anything that made you feel alone!” Don’t worry…even if you did, I don’t remember it. It’s not like I keep a running tally of who said the wrong thing when they were obviously just trying to comfort me. I know that people mean very well when they offer words of solace. It’s just that, if “it will happen when it’s supposed to” or “it’s all in the Lord’s hands,” then why do my next door neighbors who constantly scream the f-word at each other have a baby and we don’t? Was it God’s will for the baby to grow up in that environment? These are the complexities of life that puzzle me.
I don't know what to do next. I don't know if we should continue with adoption and risk continued heartbreak, or if we should take a break for a little while, or if we should try invitro fertilization...if I knew what was "right," I would do it. I pray every night to know what to do, but unfortunately, God doesn't send me lightning bolts. Sometimes I wish He did.
I guess instead He sent me this scripture, which I love:
“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good" (D&C 122:7).
This verse reminds me of this beautiful song; I listened to it today and cried a little.
Whether or not God intends for us to have these difficult experiences, I don't know; but I do know that He can use them for our good (Romans 8:28).
I am confident that Ryan and I will eventually get a baby. I know that this long period of “night” will end, and we will experience “joy as exceeding as was [our] pain.” In the mean time, it is really hard—but we are “hold[ing] on [our] way” and praying that God will be with us.