Monday, January 28, 2013

Consolation / Desolation

I've been thinking a lot about what a friend told me a week or so ago. She said that when she lifts up Mr. M and I in prayer, she has a distinct feeling that this childless time of our life is just a season, and that this season will pass.

Oh, how I hope she's right.

Her words stuck with me because they made me think (obvious alert) about how some times of life are filled with consolation, and some are filled with desolation. I feel pretty lucky (blessed?) that most of my memories fall in the first category. I had a relatively happy childhood, got a good education, have made some amazing friends, found a wonderful husband, have traveled and done some interesting things. Lots of consolation.

But right now, the scale tips not-so-subtly toward desolation.

We've been trying to get pregnant for a year and a half. That's desolation any way you slice it.

My parents are going through some serious troubles. Mr. M's parents are already divorced. Both situations are really tough.

Mr. M just got a serious setback on his PhD work.

I wouldn't describe my job as my dream job. I'm so grateful for it and love my coworkers, but it's not what I want to do for the rest of my life.

And smaller things: our apartment is somewhat cramped, it's blah wintertime, my paycheck is lower than it was last year, our hall light is broken and dangling down from the ceiling in the most ghetto way possible, whine whine whine.

In general, the word I would use to describe how I've felt lately is stagnant. I feel like nothing is happening in my life - nothing I want to happen, anyway. Compared to other times of my life, when I felt happier and like things were more interesting and more vibrant, this has been a tough chunk of time.

Then today, I had lunch with a wonderful friend who was visiting from out of town. I haven't seen her since before she got married in July. Turns out she is expecting a honeymoon baby, due in May. She and her husband are living in her hometown and just bought what sounds like a dream "starter" house. As I was listening to her, I felt the now-familiar green creep of jealousy working its way up from my heart. I'm so happy for her, truly, but between us, I had to walk back to work awfully slowly to quell the sobs that came right on cue.

But it did occur to me that my friend hasn't always had it this good. She's gone through her own times of desolation, one of which was about the same time that I was engaged and getting married - a time of consolation if ever there was one! I wonder how she felt then. Maybe like I feel now.

I told her before we parted that I was struggling, and that I could really use something right happening in my life - some good news for once! I hesitated to bring up my gloominess in the face of all her joy - but I guess that's what good friends are for, right? She was very sympathetic, and agreed that sometimes things are just tough. But then, she said, you turn a corner, often precipitated by a surprise, and whammo, consolation is back. And I know she knows that shift from experience.

I really hope to find that corner soon. I really hope this season of desolation ends. Spring comes every year, right?


  1. It is sometimes so hard, when you want to be thankful for what God has given you but you really want something more/different. Praying that you have consolation soon!

  2. Oh my goodness, the word "stagnant" has been my exact description of our lives the past couple years, so I really understand that feeling. I like your friend's analogy of "turning a corner" to consolation. I also like what the above person said about "wanting to be thankful...but wanting something different", that is so hard. Spring DOES come every year, so we can wait in anticipation of the consolation. :) I will pray for you and all of us who are feeing "stagnant" desolation.

  3. Glad you have a good friend who will listen to you as well.

  4. You know what my priest says about consolations? "Be thankful for them, and don't get attached." Hard advice to swallow, but I think it is really true.

    When things are going all wrong, and you feel that desolation, the Lord is still there; he's still loving you. Keep talking to him.

    I know that when I was feeling such desolation after RG died, the Lord really wanted me to focus on Him, to depend on Him, to re-align my heart toward Him. It is painful purification, but when the spring comes after the winter, it is so so beautiful.

    My prayers are with you, dear.

  5. It is hard not to feel that twinge of jealousy. Even the saints felt it. I think it is a great thing that your friend is trying to buoy you up with the cross you currently carry. And I also think it is great that there is Spring coming, too! You are right ... winter does not last forever!

  6. Thank you all for your kind words and good advice =) I agree - good friends are such a God-send! And yes, desolation has its purpose - a book I'm reading (He Leadeth Me) talks about how the exiles taught the Israelites to depend on God alone. Saying prayers for all of those who feel in exile...