Monday, January 28, 2008

Let Her Eat Cake

Last week was a bad week. On Monday I had a huge endometriosis flare up that lasted a few days. Wes said perhaps I should go back to the doctor since the flare ups are getting worse and lasting longer. This, of course, means surgery. But because we can't afford surgery, my options then become either bearing with the pain or going back on birth control to help alleviate the pain. Birth control is obviously the choice I don't want being that we want children...but I'm so desperately tired of being in so much pain every single month. So while it was a back and forth of dealing with pain and discussing my disdain for the possibility of returning to birth control, the week crept by until Saturday was here.

There was I was, sitting at my desk working my shift for the Humane Society when a girl who is an employee at the store I work out of comes up to me and says "I'm having a girl!" I respond, completely clueless, "you're having a girl?" Yes, she says, she's five months pregnant and thought everyone knew! Apparently I'm the only one in the store who didn't know. So she's all "yay! I can buy pink things" and all I could squeak out was a "congratulations" for the unwed mother. It certainly didn't help when later that night as I was throwing out the trash, I saw her smoking a cigarette.

Then Sunday happened when during prayer request time in Sunday school, I found out that a couple was pregnant for the third year in a row with their third child. I about lost it and right after prayer I had to make a dash for the bathroom before I started sobbing right in the middle of the lesson. One church sister hugged me right after Sunday school while another one reminded me that talking about things might help make whatever the struggle easier to bear. But how do I tell someone "yeah, someone else is pregnant and I'm not" without coming across like some bitter jerk? So I just remained quiet. Wes came a moment later and simply said, "babies?" to which I nodded yes. He put his arm around me and I buried my head in his neck in an attempt to hide my crying face from the rest of the church. But in my attempts to not draw attention to myself, I guess I wound up drawing attention to myself. Another church sister hugged me long and hard, which was greatly appreciated. Though not completely myself, I was feeling better by the end of church service.

I told Wes that I wish I could just be happy for people but it's so hard. I am happy for them, but at the same time, I'm just so angry. Not at them, it's not their fault that I can't have children. I'm just angry at the situation I find myself in. I'm unable to relate to the young, married women of the church since they either have children or they're about to have children. I feel lonely in the conversations that revolve around kids and while I usually use the time to strike up conversations with the men, I feel lonely in that sense too since several of the men are seminary students and are discussing things that I can't necessarily relate to either...and there is where I feel lost since I've always found it easier to talk to men since the conversations are seldom about kids. So this once talkative woman now finds herself awkwardly silent...completely clueless as to how to converse with people anymore. And to everyone who says that children will come my way...that's pretty easy to say when it's not your tubes being blocked by an incurable disease and you're not sitting there wondering how on earth a country expects people to pay $30,000 in just a few months to be able to give a child a home. I told Wes that maybe for part of his applied ministry class, he could work on a ministry that reaches out to those struggling with infertility...but then I corrected myself since the ministry would only really reach out to me and him in this small church of ours.

But then there are times I don't get myself because certain moments leave me feeling grateful to not have children. I mean, I doubt I'd be able to go to school in the fall and start fulfilling my dream of working with elephants if I was currently pregnant or already had a baby. But then I think to myself that surely I'd be able to do both...right? Ok, let's be honest with myself, I probably wouldn't be able to do both. Which dream do I pursue? Which dream do I let go of? Do I let go of the dream of motherhood and have to explain for the rest of my life why I don't have children? Or do I let go of the dream of working with animals while silently craving that time that "could have been"? Why can't I have my cake and eat it too? Why do I have to choose?

It's my birthday on February 9th. I'll be 27 years old. When I was in my early 20s, I figured I had so much time ahead of me. Now I'm in my late 20s and time is running out for this endo-ridden body. I'm going to get myself a cake for my birthday and eat it. I guess in light of not being able to have that option with life decisions, I can at least do it for my birthday. Though every year passing reminds me more and more of one dream slipping through the cracks, I will do my best to celebrate it. I just find myself at a loss on how I'll do just that.

Photo by Mary King (me)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Twenty Eight Years Old

Actor Heath Ledger died today. Technically yesterday, I suppose, since it's 1am here. It caught me off-guard really, which struck me as odd since I'm not exactly this huge fan of his. I liked him in A Knight's Tale and somewhat enjoyed Casanova...and only recently found out that the hideous picture of The Joker was actually him. And yet I couldn't turn away from news reports and I found myself sad over the news. Possibly because it's a name I know, possibly because I realize that as I get older, I'll recognize more and more names of people who die (when I was younger, I hardly knew any of the names), possibly because of the fact he's leaving behind an 18 month old little girl who will only know her daddy by his movies and interviews...but honestly, it wasn't until Wes said something that I realized why it struck me so much. Heath Ledger was 28 when he died. Why is it that his age is what got to me? And what comment did Wes make that made me realize why his age was the thing that made me sad? Wes said, "he was my age." Wes rarely has anything to say about celebrity deaths. The most he ever talked about one was Steve Irwin. Not that Wes went on about Heath Ledger...that was really all he said on it. I doubt he meant it to be as personal as it sounded, but it's quite something to hear of a person your age makes you think about your own life. What if it were cut short this very instant?

My heart grieved for Ledger's former fiancee, Michelle Williams. I realize that they were no longer romantically linked, but she's still the mother of his child. She is 27 years old, the age I'll be in two and a half weeks. That makes her my age. I'm sure our similarities end there. But I couldn't imagine me, a near 27 year old, hearing about the death of my 28 year old husband...the man I share my life with. What would I do? I know the pat answers about being strong and moving on, blah blah blah. That's a lot easier to say than actually live through. I hated those answers when struggling to deal with the grief over my grandfather's death. But this would be my husband. I realize that he would be in heaven, but there is a real devastation over losing your spouse....the person you've become one with. It's no longer "one"...but tragedy struck and tore it in two. This is part of the reason why I've become so afraid of death.

What saddens me even more is the evidence that Mr. Ledger was not a Christian. We know how this story ends. And there is where the story differs between 28 year old Heath Ledger and 28 year old Wesley King. I thought to myself several times this afternoon and evening, "Heath knows the Truth now, whether or not someone shared it with him." It breaks my heart that there are people who only know the Truth upon death. Wes and I are blessed beyond belief to be saved by the grace of God. We absolutely don't deserve it. But for us there is hope, there is a peace we have...there is life for us. So if I were to receive word that my husband passed away, I know where he'd be. That wouldn't make life on earth without him any easier, but at least there is hope in the midst of devastation rather than a hopeless devastation. It boggles my mind that God would choose to save broken and poor Wes & Mary, rather than rich, famous, and influential Heath Ledger. And it's an eye opener too, because I sometimes sit here frustrated at how easy these celebrities have it...never needing to worry about money, not living paycheck to paycheck, not having to put off taking care of a medical concern because of finances, adoptions are's enough to make me want to cry sometimes. But then something like this happens and I'm reminded that Wes and I have been given something far greater than any of that. Why us? Why did God choose to save and protect us? I don't know. But boy am I glad He did!!

Twenty eight years old. That's my husband's age. That's Wes. Life is so short.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to bed and am going to snuggle up next to my husband. There just doesn't seem enough of a lifetime to do that.

Photo by Mary King (me)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Finding "Home"

Wes and I visited Gainesville, FL last week to tour the school I'll be attending in the fall. It's a congested college town, home to the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College (where I'll be). And while it wasn't this great town filled with lots of stuff to do, nor was it anything close to resembling an actual city, I really did like it. It's kind of a center point for many things, with the Ocean, the Gulf, Jacksonville, and Orlando each a little over an hour away.

Aside from Gainesville, we also took a day trip to St. Augustine, which is along the east coast of Florida. We walked along St. Augustine beach while I dipped my feet into the Atlantic Ocean (seen in the picture). The town was so beautiful and historic, largely untouched by commercialism like so many other popular beach locations in Florida. Yes, there was still some touristy stuff, but it seemed more like the snowbird and local Floridian tourist spot rather than the spring breakers. As we walked along the beach, I was just so content and told Wes how I cannot wait until we have our dog Jiko again and can take her walking along the beach with us (the entire town, including the beach, is extremely pet friendly) while we enjoy crab cakes and lemonade.

Wes and I have desired to move to Florida since we first honeymooned there in 2000. We feel so at home there...the heat, the lush beauty (I love the sight of palm trees) even has a distinct smell to it, most likely coming from the vegetation. Ok ok, and also possibly due to the fact that it's home to Walt Disney World. But seriously, Florida just feels like home to us. So being able to visit where we'd eventually be living was so homey. I have become increasingly excited about our upcoming move which is only a few months away!!

I love that feeling of peace that God gives...the one you get when you know you're at home. Not that Gainesville will be our permanent home (as we will likely move to Pensacola for a couple of years after I finish up at the one school before finally settling into Orlando), but it's just Florida in general. And now I have to wait to go home...and that's the hard part. But it will be worth the wait!!

For more details on our trip to Florida, visit my other blog.

Photo of the Atlantic Ocean by Mary King (me)