Click the link above to read his article first.
Nate Pyle is a man and a pastor, two qualifiers that surprised me in reading his thoughts/experience on infertility. It’s not often you hear about the male perspective on the subject. This article was refreshing to me on several levels. One, it reminds me that men suffer too from infertility, directly and indirectly. Two, he gives me pause on my relationship with God vs. The Church for support which don’t always jive in my mind’s eye. Thirdly, he recognizes that infertility struggles come with two counterparts: hope and other feelings. Other feelings including discouragement, frustration, resentment/jealousy and despair but after each of those hope comes again.
My husband is the most supportive man and will do ANYTHING I need through this process of IVF and adoption. Helping me helps him and my suffering causes him pain. He is an eternal optimist and a devout Catholic, he prays for me constantly and, I’m sure, for the baby he is certain will arrive. On Sundays he readies himself for church and he offers for me to join, though by now he is used to my shrugging reply. Going to church is a comfort for him, it gives him strength and hope. Sometimes I feel like because it does not give me the same feelings he thinks I’m ungodly and a bad Christian. What Nate wrote about the church being ” a good place to find support, but it isn’t always a tower of refuge” rings true for me. We have all of our friends and family sending us constant prayers, even prayers coming from people who I’ve never seen set foot in a church but count just the same to me. Their prayers do not fall on deaf ears. I am so thankful for their well wishes, concern and upwardly requests to higher powers. Attending a church service and communing with the general “Christian” populous does not give me the same warm fuzzies and sense of understanding or commonality. In many ways it can feel quite alienating.
“The American church is one place in our culture where marriage and kids is an expectation. Singles are constantly met with questions about when they will get married, and unnecessarily pitied or prayed for when a potential spouse isn’t in the picture. Young marrieds are bombarded about when they will start having kids, as if their marriage doesn’t really matter until a child validates it.”
I don’t need to go to church to be guilt tripped or to be pitied. My failing is that I know going to church is to give God thanks and should only be about God and not the rest of the judgmental and flawed congregation who attend it. People will always ask assuming and ignorant questions inside and outside of church but somehow when they come from straight-faced Christians it fills me with anger. Again, my issue, not theirs but these are occasions I just assume avoid. Some may find this terribly ironic given that I so openly talk about these issues on my blog. Somehow it is different though. I can type and you can listen. You can respond of course and that is ever-so-exciting on this blog. I can respond or I can delete. It’s kind of awesome. I feel no guilt deleting the thousands of robot comments, well actually WordPress does that for me…super awesome. This is my kind of place whereas in church someone will take you from left field and throw a curve ball at your chest and while you are trying to catch your breath, you just nod along and continue with the game. You never want to be a bad sport in church.
Going back to Nate’s article I find it reassuring somehow that even a pastor feels some contempt for the church body’s attitude. I think I would even enjoy attending his services. In the end I suppose it’s important to find the places you are comfortable sharing your story, your truth, your human condition. There are so many (too many) places where people can’t share who they are, explain without recourse why they hurt and how they feel. I am so lucky to be surrounded by those who can simply let me say what needs to come out. They can accept it is what is and don’t even necessarily have to put a band-aid on it. When God speaks to me he is telling me that he is sorry I am hurting but there is need to feel things intensely. There is need for struggles and there is need for great loss. There is need to feel these things in order to hope, in order to feel joy more immensely and love more completely. I’m listening too when I’m not lost in the weeds or playing defense in the game.