Tuesday morning I pulled myself out of bed and into the shower. Michael had driven to the chapel to cover our adoration slot – 8 to 9 am – and since we had only one car to get us both to work, I had to be ready to go when he got back. I stepped out of the shower and felt the tears coming, pushing themselves up from my chest until I slumped my shoulders and gave in, hugging myself and sinking onto the top of the toilet, not even toweling my hair. The water from it streamed down my back, and normally I hate that, but I was oblivious. This was a storm of tears. These tears would not stop coming no matter how many deep, slow breaths I took.
Somehow I unearthed jeans and a t-shirt and pulled them on, irrationally determined to be ready to go to work even though there was no way I could go like this. I found my Bible and opened it to the book of Job, to God’s answer to Job’s lament. It helped some, helped fill up a little bit of those empty places inside of me. But the tears kept coming, and when Michael came home I was curled up on the couch, staring out the window and sobbing.
He held me and we prayed together and I fell asleep on that couch, exhausted from the storm. Neither of us went to work that day. When I woke from my nap we went to Noodles and Company for lunch and ate outside, where my sunglasses hid the tears that kept threatening my cheeks from the relative safety of my eyes. The rest of the day blurred by: a movie, grocery shopping with my sister, a game of dominoes. There may have been food in there, although I don’t remember being particularly interested in it. Tears kept coming whenever I let them.
The hardest thing about Tuesday, for me and for my poor husband, was that I couldn’t name exactly what was wrong. Generally when I’m upset, I ponder until I can pinpoint the problem, and then we can do something about it, or discuss it, or pray that we will be able to endure it peacefully. But on Tuesday everything just felt big and heavy and sad – so overwhelming that I was at a loss to find any solution. I could hardly think.
I’d planned not to work on Wednesday, to take the time for prayer and reflection. It was a surprisingly good day. I went to noon Mass at my alma mater, taking some time in the chapel beforehand, writing in my prayer journal. I felt peace stealing in very slowly, clearing my head, clearing my soul. I could think again, and think I did – while puttering about my house, while playing Text Twist (current high score: 807,080 and that game’s still going). I thought a lot that day, I felt like myself again.
The dealership dropped off our new car on Wednesday. Michael and I had an errand to run, and beforehand we took our new ride to dinner at Arby’s. Over greasy but delicious food I told him what I’d realized that day.
Infertility is something uncontrollable. There are fertility treatments, sure, but those don’t guarantee conception. Nothing guarantees conception. Adoption gives more certainty of having a child at the end of the ordeal, and we can decide to adopt, but there are still many, many factors outside our control. For someone like me, who suffers from perfectionism, not having the ability to control this part of my life is very, very hard. Over the past months I’ve been working so hard to come to peace with this and to trust God. That’s a good thing, but unfortunately I’d also started to treat other parts of my life as if they were like infertility – in a certain sense, outside my control. And in some of those other areas, that’s simply not true.
I haven’t been talking about my job much these past months, partly because it’s boring to talk about, and partly because: do I really need something else to complain about here? But without going into too much detail, I can tell you that it was dragging me down. For countless reasons, in countless ways. I worked hard not to bring my personal life to work, but it had become impossible for me to avoid bringing my work life home, it upset me that much. It was awful. But I had somehow convinced myself that it was absolutely necessary to keep this job (for several reasons, not the least of them being that we were using a large percentage of the money I earned for our adoption fund) and so I felt trapped.
Now, just four days past that mindset, I can see how nutty I was being. On Wednesday I couldn’t quite see, but I realized something during my reflection that day. I’d been suffering through each week at my job with the hope that in another year or so I’d be able to quit and life would be better, but shouldn’t I work on making life bearable now? Of course! Being childless is hard enough – why let other things that are actually within my control make me more miserable?
We decided that it would be a good idea for me to quit my job. I was surprised at how relieved I felt after making the decision. I hadn’t realized how much it was dragging me down. I handed in my resignation in a brief but comfortable meeting with my boss. I think he’d been expecting it. It’s a good job, it’s just not the right job for me right now. It doesn’t fit.
I’ve been feeling a lot better since I became unemployed. I’ve still got reflections about what caused Tuesday’s meltdown, and about depression and about where my life is right now. Reflections are always forthcoming. But for now, I’m tired, so I’m going to bed. I just wanted to let you all know that I’m fine, that I’m feeling better, that life goes on. One foot in front of the other always seems to do the trick, and even though on Tuesday I felt like I could never be relieved of that deep sadness, I found that I could. And I was. Thank heaven for that.