I had a doctor’s appointment to begin the process of infertility treatment today. Yes world wide web, I’m telling you about our infertility. When people post about infertility it seems too open, and I used to think I would never do that. It’s so intimate, and anyway why don’t we all just talk to our friends instead of publicizing our messiness. Then I was the one experiencing it and realized it’s an issue that not many people can relate to, and then a friend from a distance posted about their experience and I wanted to weep and reach across the internet and say “me too”.
When I told the doctor we had been trying for two years her eyes got big and when waiving me out of the office she squeezed my shoulder and said, “aaww just keep trying” and I almost cried. I don’t know why I almost cried, I know we’ve been trying for two years and I know that I’m sitting in the room where you first hear your baby’s heart beat with your husband while you gush with love and that there I was, sitting with my emptiness, alone, and a whole lot of keeping it together - so her pity shouldn’t have been new to me. She told me to keep trying and I got in my car, put on my sunglasses and cried like the emotional wreck I’m determined not to be.
I got back to my office and went in another room to do my prayers. They felt impersonal. My tiny little melodrama was all that could fit in my mind and I had no space for the God of the Universe.
I prayed them anyways. I prayed things like, “I exalt you my God and King”, and “Hashem supports all the fallen ones and straightens all the bent”. I prayed them without feeling them, like reciting the national anthem they had lost their meaning to me and my life. But I kept praying them, praying them until I understood them a little, and slowly my perspective zoomed out and they evoked a bit of new vision. They started to make a little sense to me and they suddenly seemed real, and important.
When what I wanted to do was pray about my specific needs, what I really needed was to see Him, and prayers that were old and big and repeated for generations helped me do that. The pain didn’t and won’t go away, but I saw it for what it was and it became less overwhelming, it zoomed me out and gave me some space. The emptiness became a little less sharp in light of the struggles of the world and the grace of God.
So I had in that moment the opportunity to embrace thinking differently, to choose gratitude in light of the vastness of life and of God. I actually wrote down a list of all the beautiful snap shots that make up my life, as if I were some sweet journaler type. It worked, it helped me see my proper place and like a blow to the chest of sadness, the gratitude did what it does so well and broke apart the hurt so I could remember the joy.
I think that’s the beauty of guided prayers, it leads our hearts in the darkness. It helps us gain perspective and commands our souls to see life and God as they should see it, and all that the pain we feel so close to in perspective, can finally have some distance.