Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I am going to be totally honest with you.  Sometimes when I read or hear about other people's challenges in life it irritates me.  Most of life's day-to-day problems seem insignificant to me right now. The most selfish part of my soul wants to tell people that they don't understand how hard life can be. I want to say that the challenges they face are child's play and that my pain can easily trump theirs. I realize how unfair that feeling is. 

The view from our backyard.  Worth the wait!

As I've worked through this irritation I have been reminded of my own meltdown moments.  The times when I thought I was facing enormous obstacles, difficult decisions, and uncertain futures.  At the time life felt totally overwhelming.  Most of these memories are full of uncontrollable melodramatic crying. 

In college I remember sobbing in my dad's office when I felt like I should break up with a boy that I thought I really liked (we only dated for three weeks).  A year later I found myself sitting at the bottom of the stairs in my parent's house, with my head on my sister's lap, weeping because I told Jordan it was over (obviously the break-up didn't take).  When we were newlyweds I cried because I thought we would never find a house and we would end up living in my mother-in-law's basement forever (we lived there for just over a year and finally found the perfect house in a great location).  I was devastated when I miscarried my first pregnancy.  And then I cried because it seem to take so long to get pregnant (only 9 months).  When Jonah was born and diagnosed with Treacher-Collins Syndrome I fell apart in the shower because life seemed so unfair.  I was so worried about the challenges my baby would face, and how it would affect our lives (little did we know how much beauty and light he would bring to us).  This little recap makes it seem like I cry a lot...oh well. 

The day Jonah died I learned what it meant to cry. I discovered the true nature of sorrow.  All of life's previous challenges seemed insignificant, like little pebbles compared to the giant boulder I now carry.  Each day I hear myself saying "this is too hard" and "I can't handle this."  But then I remember that I have heard these words come out of my mouth before.  I have doubted my capacity to manage challenges that now seem so simple.  And each trial has been followed by unimaginable blessings of beauty and abundance.  I am still here, I have been strengthened by my trials, and I have had happiness and joy that I never anticipated.

So I want to apologize.  I am sorry for judging your challenges.  I know that life can feel ridiculously hard, no matter what stage you are in.  All of life's small and medium challenges prepare us for the big ones, increase our capacity.  It is all relative.  I will try to remember that you are facing the most difficult trial of your life so far, and there is no need for comparison.  As I reflect I am grateful that my ability to cope has increased, but that knowledge comes with fear of the future.  I wonder what challenges lie ahead, and hope that losing Jonah is not preparation for something harder.  I hope this is as hard as it gets, and at the same time wonder what unknown strength lies within me.   

That which we persist in doing becomes easier - not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.  Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. Your experience has caused me to gain such a stronger appreciation for my life. Thanks for the countless reminders.

  2. It is hard for me to imagine a more difficult trial than the one you are experiencing. I think what is likely so hard about death for those left behind is that there is ordeal resolution in this life. Many other trials will naturally wrap up or come to some conclusive state, but loss of a loved one persists as loss through this life. I am glad to read these words for you because I think it is a natural and normal way to feel. I have seen the phrase "first world problems" tossed around a bit lately, and that aptly categorizes so much of our "trials" and daily frustrations. But losing a loved one, especially a child, is an "all world problem," and by that I mean that all the world would recognize and appreciate the magnitude of such a loss.