This month begins Year Three.
You’ve heard about people in Year One and Year Two. It’s hard and it’s confusing but it doesn’t seem too bad. Everyone knows someone who has been there. Who it didn’t happen for right away. Who had to try a medication, or adjust their diet. Who went to a few doctors appointments. Who “stopped trying so hard” and it suddenly happened.
You hear that less when people get to Year Three.
Year Three seems to be the year when you start accepting reality. When people stop asking questions and instead of making awkward sexual jokes about trying, just look at you with sympathy-filled eyes. When it starts to sting to hold other people’s babies. When your house starts to feel really big and empty. When you don’t know where to go or what to try anymore. When it hurts to keep praying the Rachel and Sarah and Rebekah and Hannah and Elizabeth prayers. When you start to buy your dog outfits and wrap her Christmas presents. When you begin to feel really old. When you make horrible jokes about how God is punishing you because there doesn’t seem to be a better answer. When somehow it seems to hurt less to be cynical than to be vulnerable.
Year Three sucks.
Honestly, I don’t have much positivity to share in this post. While in general, I’m seeking more joy and hope and positivity in my life, this is reality. I have dark days, and thinking about Year Three feels really dark to me. And while I know that people make it to Year Three and Four and Five and Ten and suddenly something changes, a miracle happens, that just feels so far out of reach.
One of my favorite quotes of late is from Frederick Buechner. In fact, it’s one of the quotes that inspired me to start this blog. He says, “The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all.” And that’s why we exist, isn’t it? That has to be at least part of the reason we go through the crap we do. To encourage one another. To weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. To help others overcome through the word of our testimony.
And that’s why I’m writing this. Not because I want sympathy, not because I want you to understand how I feel, not even as a means of self-therapy. I’m writing this because I know someone out there can relate. Someone has been to Year Three, Year Five, Year Fifteen and they still don’t have answers. Someone knows the ache and the emptiness and the longing that comes with each month. Someone has gone to all the doctors, tried all the alternative methods, prayed all the prayers.
And if you’re that person and you’re reading this, can I just say that I’m really sorry? That I wish that you didn’t have to go through this? That I want a miracle for you?
And can I also tell you that there is still hope? It doesn’t feel like it. I know it doesn’t. A lot of days I sure don’t feel like it.
But there is still hope for us, isn’t there? There’s a reason that we go through these things in our life. And it’s not because we’re being punished or that someone is out to get us or that God is a cosmic kill-joy. I have to believe that it has to do with finding our purpose. I have to believe that “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” I have to believe that through the love of the Father, the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, we are more than conquerors. I have to believe that we can use this adversity to serve and minister to others.
So that’s what I’m learning at the start of Year Three.
It sucks. There is a purpose. I can still have hope.