In so many conversations, with so many people, so much is left unsaid. More is said in our pauses and eyes than in our actual words.
Saturday morning I was at work (every other Saturday I work 4 hours at the busiest store in the market to provide relief for the regular pharmacist). A woman, probably my age, called in. She doesn't get her medicine there, so I had no history on her or her medications, I didn't even get her name. But what she said, and didn't say was more than enough to know her struggle, as it is mine.
She had recently gotten a shot of a medication (that I worked with a lot at my old job in Bham, so actually knew a lot about it). This medicine helps women struggling with endometriosis, and usually, infertility as a result. She had the shot several months ago and hadn't gotten a period since, even though her doctor had put her on another medication trying to get that started.
She asked "Well, I mean, I know I haven't had a period, but can't you still ovulate even though you haven't had a period? I've taken pregnancy tests, and they're negative, but I mean, I can still be pregnant, right?"
And I started tearing up. I don't think she could tell over the phone. Because I know that hope. I also know the devastating blow my words were about to have. "Dear, I'm so sorry, but..." As I go on to explain the chances that she is pregnant with no period and several negative pregnancy tests are so slim they almost aren't worth talking about. But they are. To her, in this period of never-ending waiting. Waiting for a period, and then for pregnancy. Always slightly out of reach. She was so nice, and thanked me and let me go. As I hung the phone up I knew she would be crying by this point. I do that too, month after month. As I did when trying for Levi (13 months of trying) and Noah (9 months of trying).
We have found a church, the church where we are going to join. But now comes the part of jumping in, getting involved, getting to know people. I went to Sunday School (Matt had to work tonight so he was napping). I am a really awkward person, especially when in social situations by myself. I much prefer to sit on the sidelines while others talk around me. I sat for the hour watching and listening. At the end, when I just felt so alone, so overwhelmed with this task/desire of knowing and being known but not wanting to travel the long, awkward road of getting to that point. When this woman came up to me. During prayer requests she (18 weeks pregnant) had asked for prayer as she was in a wreck with her four other children, totaling their van. So, she's pregnant and has four kids under the age of 5. She has a LOT on her plate. I can't imagine how tired she is, sore, etc.
She came right up to me at the end of the class and introduced herself, and started asking questions. We had a great conversation, but I could tell we were both leaving things unsaid.
She: "Do you have any kids?"
Me: "Yes, we have two boys" (I have another baby, in heaven, but I can't mention him without breaking down to you)
She: "Oh wow, do y'all want to have any more?"
Me: "Yes, we are trying, but it usually takes me awhile to get pregnant" (I started my period this morning, I cried all the way to church. I thought I might have been pregnant for sure. I'm not.)
And so on, and so forth. But she kept talking to me, asking me questions, letting me talk. In that moment, she was a God-send. Noticing me, drawing me out of my wall-flower state, loving me. That meant so much to me, more than she'll ever know.
But as Matt and I struggle with our own struggles, which people don't know about, as we don't all go about wearing signs with our problems written out, how much more is everyone else just like us? Every conversation I have, every question I ask, every patient I counsel. We each have our own parenthesis answers. The things we left unsaid that we just wish we could tell someone.
I've been re-reading "Disciplines of Grace" by Jerry Bridges. And I am praying constantly for grace. Grace towards others. To have my eyes open to these things that are unsaid, these weights people are carrying around that cause them to lash out, be rude, forget to call me back, etc. To love them unconditionally as I am loved unconditionally.
"For just as the sufferings of Christ pour over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Cor 1:5
For as sure as we will suffer, we will be comforted. So much, in fact that this comfort we receive will be so much we will be able to comfort others. That is so beautiful to me. The covenant body of Christ, loving one another, comforting one another. This has been so heavy on my heart, as I miss our church family in Birmingham and long for one here. For people to know me well, and for me to love them, to "do life together."
This song by Sara Groves "Painting Pictures of Egypt" I've been playing over and over daily. It's about the Israelites when they were freed from slavery in Egypt, while wandering in the desert. They were so tired of where they were, so scared of what was to come, they asked to go back to Egypt. Back to slavery.
"I've been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out all it lacks. The future feels so hard, and I want to go back....I don't want to leave here, I don't want to stay. It feels like pinching to me, either way. And the places I long for most are the places where I've been. They are calling out to me, like a long lost friend....The past is so tangible I know it by heart. Familiar things are never easy to discard. I was dying for some freedom, now I hesitate to go. I am caught between the Promise and the things I know..."
When I was in Birmingham I was so ready to go. To move here to Ringgold. And now I'm here, and I just want to go back. But see, Matt and I prayed for 6 years about when/if we should move home. And God opened the doors to come here in a huge, very obvious way. But I keep forgetting that, as I yearn for what I used to know, what was comfortable. So, this song cuts me to the quick. I'm so thankful for how God uses music to minister to our souls.