April is Infertility Awareness Month. 1 in 8 couples experience infertility. During this month we invite you to walk with us along side of those who face fertility grief. Or to claim the story as your own! Please remember that Project Pomegranate’s recently published book – Though the Darkness Gather Round, Devotions about Infertility, Miscarriage, and Infant Loss – is a great resource. Please share it with your congregation!
Infertility is all about the moments that you never expect. It is about the moments when you finally get up the strength to get out of the house and feel “normal,” only to be tripped up at a semi-innocuous house concert. Looking back, I don’t know why this moment stuck out to me so much but I just remember feeling so alone.
Sarah and I were exhausted from the continual cycle of ovulation tracking and the disappointment that follows. We had finally reached the moment where we would be able to start “controlling” our fate a little bit with medical intervention. We were moving forward, and yet, at the same time, I couldn’t have even told you why I so desperately wanted to become a dad. We had been “trying” for so long that my own feelings just seemed buried underneath.
We were just sitting there at a house concert for one of our favorite local musicians, when the artist, Christa Wells, started to explain the song she was about to play. As she shared about a friend who had suffered the death of a child, I felt my throat tighten up. It was kind of an “oh crap” moment because I knew what was coming. I hadn’t planned on completely losing it that night. For over a year our pattern was: survive the week, either watch TV or a movie alone, maybe invite just a few friends over for pizza, and survive another week. We were excited for a different kind of night out that broke us out of the norm and out of our grief. I felt the tears start to well, and I just buried my face in my wife’s shoulder and wept.
As a chaplain, I was so used to being the one that walks alongside those who suffer that I had forgotten how desperately I needed someone to sit with me and hold me, even when the “roof is coming down.” I didn’t know how to ask for help and how to tell my friends that we were burning.
This song reminded me of what I am called to do as a chaplain (which I had been greatly doubting) and reminded me of how desperately I needed people to “come close now.” This song is one of mourning and lament, but it is also a song of hope. I lament because of those people who couldn’t bear to come close to the fire, but find great hope and strength because of those unexpected people who ran into a house that was burning and crumbling all around and simply offered to sit with us for a while.
Listen deeply to these words, and I pray that you find some light in the midst of the darkness.