So I’ve been working my way through Mel’s fantastic Creme de la Creme of 2008 list, and wow.  Just, wow.  It never ceases to amaze me how many of us there are.  How many people are struggling with infertility.  It’s quite sobering, actually.  Reading some stories makes what I am going through seem like a walk in the park.  For which I don’t know whether I should feel guilty or thankful.  Perhaps both. 

I want to be better about not being completely consumed by self-pity over this.  It can easily take over my mind and heart such that I don’t appreciate the good and perfect things that I experience each day.  Not to take away from the fact that infertility is A Big Deal, but I just don’t want to let it get me down so much that I fail to see the beauty in small moments each day.  Like the chocolate I just ate that M put in my stocking, or my sweet cat that is sitting next to me now.  Or the amazing energy and excitment I felt on Tuesday while standing on the mall lawn in the freezing cold watching our new president be sworn in.  Or that fact that I can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.  Walk.  Have friends.  Read.  Drive.  Vote.  Anyway, I’ve seen on several blogs the Grace in Small Things project, and I think it is good for all of us to remember each little thing that goes perfectly right every day. 

In college, I had a professor that made us write down ten good things that had happened to us every day before class began.  The class was at 8:00 am.  He said that if we couldn’t think of ten good things that had already happened that day, then we needed to change our definition of “good.”  I love that.  How often do I take for granted that I woke up in a warm bed, with the love of my life sleeping next to me, had a hot shower, was healthy enough to drive myself to work, worked at a job that provides for my family, had friends to talk to, had work that challenged me–the list really does go on and on. 

I love this poem by Jane Kenyon.  I have “The Best Day the Worst Day” (by Donald Hall about his life with Jane Kenyon) on my shelf, and maybe I should read that next.  Thanks again to the late Emilie of lemmondrops, for bringing this poem to my attention.

Otherwise
By Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Jane Kenyon was married to the poet Donald Hall. She died of leukemia in 1995 while compiling this collection of poems.

My sufferings are truly minor when compared with others’.  But even if they were not, I hope and pray that I would have the grace and courage to face them without self-pity, with hope and with peace that surpasses understanding.

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