"Life has a way of testing a person's will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once." --Paulo Coelho
I came across this quote today and thought it perfectly summed up Tyler and my infertility journey. And then, thought, "No. it's true of everyone's journey."
For our own little family, there have been times that suffering came because nothing was happening and times when the suffering came because so much was happening at once. It's hard to say which hurts more and, actually, I don't really know that they compare, other than the fact that both the nothing and the everything cause hurt. And that is just as true with everyone's trials.
I've been thinking a lot about this. Thinking a lot about empathy and comparisons. I feel like, we can really get caught up in judging one another's trials. Maybe, we think we shouldn't despair because we don't think have it as bad as someone else. Maybe we think that someone can't be suffering as much as us, because we think what they're going through doesn't compare to our own suffering. But that's just wrong. What my own trials have taught me is that our sufferings are very individual and no one's is worse or easier than another's.
Tyler and I have heard time and time again people downplay their own struggles or problems, because they feel like nothing compares to what we have been through. It makes me more than uncomfortable; it makes me sad that someone is feeling like they cannot justify their own sufferings because they are comparing their trials to mine. We are all different. Our lives and our experiences are different. We shouldn't be comparing with each other.
A particular experience made me realize this more than ever...
I once heard a sweet woman share her journey of marrying young and surprise pregnancies immediately following one after another. She explained how grateful she was for her family, but how this had been a great trial for her and her husband. Embarrassingly, I must admit that my initial response was to feel a little bitter towards this woman. "Oh yeah," I thought, "it must be so hard to have a house full of beautiful children! Try spending month after month crying over negative pregnancy tests or losing 3 pregnancies and burying your son." Sometimes, I'm not too proud of my inner thoughts, you guys. Please forgive me! After that initial thought and reaction, I really considered what this young wife and mother was saying. Sure, she was not experiencing my particular trial, but I tried to put myself in her place. I ached for a family, yes, but would I want to have been married at 18 and be done have 5 kids before I was 30?? Man, just consdering that sounds pretty scary! Of course that would be a trial. Just because it is nearly opposite of mine, doesn't make it any less valid. And I don't think I'd want to trade struggles with her. The more I thought about this, the more my heart swelled with admiration for this brave, wonderful woman and the journey she had been on.
I don't like the saying, "God never gives us more than we can handle." In my experience, and watching others' experiences, I definitely feel like we get more than we can handle sometimes. To each of us, at some point, we are going to face something that feels absolutely overwhelming and it will feel like more than we can handle because we aren't meant to handle things on our own. We need others. We need God. We need the Savior. We need help to handle things, and I think the Lord does give us more than we can handle so we learn how to be served and to seek His help. And, hopefully, we'll be humbled enough to have compassion for others to help when they are given more than they can handle.