I just finished reading “Can I Get an Amen”, by Sarah Healey, which I loved. It made me laugh and cry, and laugh again. What drew me to the book, however, was the teaser for the book, which said that the lead character’s husband left her because she was infertile. It was a story of moving on, or at least that’s what I thought in the beginning. It turned out to be not only about that, but about a woman finding her place in the world, in her family, and with her friends after an infertility diagnosis. It was also about a really messed up family that could be anyone’s! No family is perfect that I know of at least.
I try really hard not to let our inability to have children define my life, and I honestly thought I was over it. Then, about two years ago, someone shredded my sense of self-worth and my knowledge of who I am, and where my place is in the world. It was a situation in which I would normally have fought for myself, but with that one phrase, “You don’t have kids, so you can’t possibly relate to them. You don’t know what you’re doing!” she destroyed me. Prior to that, I had been a Youth Advisor, a Sunday School teacher, a babysitter, a licensed (non-practicing) middle school teacher, and had worked in a day care center as my first job. With one sentence, that was all taken away from me.
I am still trying to find out who I am, and where I belong now.
So, I went to the bookstore, and much to my surprise, one of my very favorite books is on the required reading lists for schools this year — “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. I feel certain that my favorite book by that same author, “Joy in the Morning”, will never be required reading. However, I found that Betty Smith wrote another book, “Maggie-Now” , which is about another woman, in another time, settling for an unconventional marriage, and finding her fit in life.
And suddenly, I realize, that we are all finding our place. No one fits the picture of normal in all aspects of her life, and it doesn’t take a “slice and dice” like I was given at church to change your vision drastically. Things happen that leave holes in our lives all too often. Jobs are lost. Friendships are broken. Marriages begin. Marriages end. Children are born. Children aren’t born. I’m not sure it’s so much a circle of life as a spiral of life.