"...suffering is one of the universal conditions of being alive. We all suffer. We have become terribly vulnerable, not because we suffer, but because we have separated ourselves from each other." -- Rachel Naoimi Remen

Friday, January 31, 2014

All the time

We bonded over the bedside.  A physical therapist walked in on me conversing with a patient in broken Spanish, her native language, and I think that gave her a soft spot in her heart for me.  Sure, it's best to communicate with patients in their own language and I happen to speak enough medical Spanish to get along, but it's rarely appreciated by other staff.  On this fond day of my memory, it was nice to be noticed and it seems like myself and this woman have had a special connection since then.  It made us a little more than work acquaintances. 

Today we ran into each other, after having not seen each other probably for months, and she asked how my baby was.  That happens often, which of course I appreciate, although it also causes me to wonder... does she know he's not a baby anymore?  Do people forget that he is 3 now, or do they think I have a baby too? 

At any rate, this was quickly followed by a, "don't you want to have another?"

"Yes, yes we do.  We have had really bad luck in that department."

She replied, "Well, keep trying... God is good."

I nodded and smiled, "All the time." 

Yes, God is good... all the time.
All. the. time.
God is good.

It's something you've probably heard in church somewhere sometime and I know I've heard it many times before, but I don't know if I've ever said it to someone in conversation and I'm quite certain I've never said it at work. 

Let me be clear: this coworker of mine did not offend me today. 

And yet, I can't get it off my mind.  I was glad I knew what to say back, for once.  (Although I'm fairly confident she didn't get my point.) 
I wished, though, that she had known what to say.  (But I know that's hard, very hard.)

This recurring statement, these repeated attempts at empathy that I continue to experience, cause me to wonder... why.  Why do Christians, why good people who care about us, continue to repeatedly insist that we keep trying.  What is it about trying? 

Just like my sister-in-law isn't less of a women without a man, my husband and I aren't less of a family without 2.5 children.  I am so sick of listening to what the world tells us we need to have.  

[As if elf on the shelf and valentines at preschool weren't bad enough,
I will not be pressured into wanting to try anymore if I don't want to try anymore. 
In fact, I do want to try more.  But only if it's going to be successful,
and if that can't happen then I want to quit trying. 
Quitting trying will not make me less of a woman or wife. 
Quitting trying will not make me less of a Christian.]

I'm a firm believer that miscarriage and infertility are not God's work.  They're a product of our broken and fallen world.  He's not up there smiling down when babies die or celebrating some of my dear friends who never get to see two pink lines.  It was most certainly not His design for our sex lives to revolve around a thermometer. 

We cannot deny our imperfect humanity.  Science, medicine and the disease and despair that come with them are facts of life.  And yet, God is good, all the time. 

God is good, all the time.  He's good when babies die.  He's good when our hopes go unrealized.

I'm not angry when people suggest that we keep trying, I just don't understand it, especially not when they invoke God's name as a reference point for why we shouldn't stop trying. 

Maybe God wants my husband and I to start trying to travel!  Maybe he wants couples all over the world to stop focusing on what they don't have and start focusing on what we do. 

In my opinion, insistence that we keep trying
suggests that God will be good when _xx_ happens. 
No... God is good, all the time. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I can't find in the bible where God tells us he'll give us every one of our personal goals and desires.  When our hope truly is in Him, we should stop trying so hard to accomplish our own agenda.  If there comes a time in our lives when we realize this, then it's ok to toss in the towel.  When our hope truly is in Him, we need to discern what exactly He wants from us and get on with it.  Why are my Christian brothers and sisters trying to tell me otherwise?  Why do they suggest I stay in some rut? 

Friends, if you're not ready to stop trying, then don't.  By all means, keep trying, because God is good.

But if you're not sure you're on the right course.  If your heart doesn't feel full, ask God what He wants to fill it with. 

God is good.  All the time. 
Let's be sure we're talking to him to find out what good He wants for us today. 

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