This a post from my hubby Mr. M. He was inspired to write this post for sometime and now he has finally gotten around to doing it. There are two parts. Enjoy!! - Ecce Fiat
I am an adult child of divorce and now I am going through infertility with my wife. Sounds pretty bad, but I promise that this is an Easter story in the end (i.e. a story that shows how out of death can come life). Yes it is true that I have often thought, “Lord, divorce has been bad enough, but why now add on top of that infertility?! Really Lord? Do you just like to burden me with a lot of suffering?!” But the more I reflect upon it in prayer, the more I realize that the suffering of divorce has actually been really helpful for dealing with the suffering of infertility. I know this sounds odd, but it has to do with the fruitfulness of suffering that I have spoken about in an earlier post. But really you may ask, “how can suffering help suffering as the title suggests?” Doesn't it just double your suffering and pain making your life more miserable? Yes, if you haven't been healed and found no meaning or fruitfulness to suffering. No, if you have been healed and have allowed your suffering to be fruitful. In fact, I feel my fruitfulness being doubled through this double suffering as I slowly heal through the pain of infertility. This is why I can say with St. Paul, “I rejoice in the suffering.” But let me explain this mystery by taking you back with me through my life. I promise if you follow me through these two long posts, then I think it will shed some light on how to better appreciate the suffering of infertility even for those who have not experienced divorce.
Let me begin by saying that I believe the suffering of divorce I went through has been far worse than the suffering of infertility. I am not comparing the two objectively for everyone. (I will make no judgment calls there as they are both pretty bad.) I am just comparing them in my life and the recognition of this fact has helped me to cope and to be peaceful with the suffering of infertility. Let me explain my situation a little further. Divorce rips at your identity. Why? Because we are the fruit of the union of our parents, so when that union is messed up so is your identity. Now, of course, we are always also the fruit of God's love – and we are God's beloved children - so that is the basic identity I have to discover past my parent's transgressions that obscured it. In order to have healing I had to discover this deep identity in God and dwell within it for years. But this truth took me several years to discover; for some it takes a lifetime; and sadly some never discover it. Some wander brokenhearted and I pray my story can point toward a healing that can make them whole again. Brokenness isn't the last word on love.
The divorce wrecked me and even prior to the divorce the anger of my parents wrecked me too. These are some of my most vivid childhood memories: I remember several nights when I was young and I was clutching my beloved cat crying and crying and crying because my Mom and Dad were fighting loudly and offensively (primarily all of my father's verbally abusive comments). I remember one night when my Father hit the wall in anger and threw something in the general direction of my Mom too. It didn't hit her and he never did physically abuse her, but it was scary enough that my mom grabbed me with the cat and ran off to grandmother's. The cops were even called. It was a disaster. “Thank God Mom let me take the cat,” I thought to myself during the chaos. The cat's presence always comforted me throughout it all. I will always remember that cat – a big grace from God to a little child going through such stress.
To make matters worse, my parent's separation happened right before I entered high school too. Yeah, great timing folks. A youthful boy hitting puberty all pent up with lots of anger, sexual libido, and sadness over the lost love between his parents is surely going to do destructive things. And I did and I am to blame for it not primarily my parents. It was so easy to pit one parent against another if I didn't get my way and to sneek out of the house to go to parties and/or other things I shouldn't have been doing.
Eventually, I became numb to the belief of love forever. I lost trust in relationships. I doubted God could do anything for relationships as my mother was faithful to God but that did very little for her relationship. Little did I know that years later this faithfulness of my mother would really save me. But at the time I was blind. So I went after pleasure after pleasure – drinking, success at school (I always held a high GPA as a point of pride), popularity, sports, and lots of sexual activity. I was a lost cause and really unhappy because all of these things were escapisms from the pain. I didn't want to deal with everything that was tearing at me as the result of the divorce, but I knew all along that that was the problem. But no one talked about it except with angry rants. There were a lot of angry rants by me and my friends directed toward our parents. But it was pointless and it offered very little healing other than not so secrete knowledge that you were not alone – there were a bunch of kids angry at their parents. Big deal. I was craving healing and all this communal pain to my mind just compounded the problems and made things more miserable.
I knew I was running away from the pain, but I just didn't have the honesty to admit it. One weekend I was brought to an all time low. I just got dumped by another girlfriend. “What did I expect anyway? Wasn't that the way all relationships go?” I thought. But this time it made me particularly mad because I had helped this woman get through a number of tough situations. Her own dad was a drunk, abusive father. Really a much worse situation than mine. I even protected her and her brother one day from such attacks and I thought she needed me so much that there was no way she would leave me. You can see the twisted logic here – what I think psychologists call co-dependent relationships – I thought she wouldn't leave because she needed me for some benefit. Problem with this is that as soon as another person can fill that need just as good as or better than me she was gone. There was no love as the basis of the relationship. We were just two kids using each other for emotional security. So I got dumped even though I had pridefully said to myself that I was useful beyond any chance of breaking up. This made me more upset and made me question everything about love and life. I remember screaming Papa Roach's Broken Home lyrics at the time: “Can't seem to fight these feelings/ I'm caught in the middle of this/ And my wounds are not healing/ I'm stuck in between my parents.” Yeah, I felt like I was just a brokenhearted kid that felt very useless and doomed to repeat his parent's mistakes. It was my junior year of high school right before homecoming too. Yeah that meant I had no date for homecoming either. “Yikes, I'm a real loser now!” I thought to myself. “Useless and alone while everyone else has a date for homecoming.” Funny how such small things, like having a date to homecoming, can take on epic proportions to a lonely, brokenhearted high schooler. Everything is magnified when you are lonely and lost. I was at an all time low. Until . . .