I found out something surprising about myself, and it's only Day 1.
I read about this challenge yesterday and I was inspired. Click on the link above to go and see the full blog posts from White House Black Shutters. As lent approaches, or for most it is already here, there will be Facebook posts flooded with sacrificial fasting. Some give up sugar, or soda, or fast food. Some give up spending, or cable, or internet. While I'm not Catholic, and therefore lent doesn't mean the same to me as others, I do like to participate in it. Fasting is a part of my personal walk with God and from time to time I will fast different things. In January this past year, I fasted FB and found out some things about myself in the process. Another blog post for another time, I'm sure.
I read about this challenge yesterday and felt inspired to spend 2 hours cleaning out the toy room. I printed out the worksheet on the blog page last night and my first attempt was written in pen. BIG MISTAKE!! I went through, expecting each room to take a day, until I focused yesterday on one room. I realized I would need maybe two or more days to go through and purge the truck load of toys we currently have. I reprinted the worksheet and then filled it out in pencil. Lesson learned.
As I was going through toys yesterday, I realized how much the kids had. I became disgusted with myself for buying them so much. How can I talk about living on less, when I have filled their toy room with things? What was my reasoning? Why would I do this? Then I realized something about myself, that surprised me as to why we had this crazy ridiculous amount of toys. It struck me so fully that I had to stop cleaning.
When we were going through fertility treatments to have a second baby, I refused the get rid of things. Baby toys, rattles and the like became sacred to me, a thousand tiny idols that I wanted near me just in case. "If I throw them out or sell them, it means I'm giving up. It means I am not trusting." This became my battle cry. Not trust in Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding, but let me pile our toy room with stuff, line our shelves with stuffies and Barbies and trucks, so that God will know I'm serious about another kid. As if some how this meant I was more serious than the daily prayers I sent up, or the tears I cried, or the thoughts I focused on or the bible verses I memorized. This, TOYS, made me serious about my miracle. Do I fault those who buy clothes or bassinets in great hopes of a baby? Of course not. I bought a white bassinet when we were going through treatments and 3 years later, I laid my son down in it on his first night home. I sobbed the "ugly cry" as I laid him down, knowing that I had bought this in anticipation of this moment. It was a miracle come full circle. But toys? Buying three drum sets to prove I was serious? Obviously God needed three, because one wouldn't cut it. I just had to buy every single Little People play set Target and Toys R Us had, because this proved I was worthy of child. I need that extra xylophone or cooking set, because good mothers had them. "I'm a good mom God, please grant me a child!" Halfway through cleaning, when this realization came upon me, I had to laugh at myself.
Look I get it, I truly do. When you are reeling from your second miscarriage, when the doctor tells you there is nothing more he can do, when you don't have the money to adopt, clinging to something like a third drum set or a stuffed toy that says Baby on it, is what we do. Those of us who suffer this way, cling to anything that may bring us luck or favor. We want a baby so badly, that it doesn't seem strange at the time. That is until you are cleaning out your toy room and the realization of what you did without knowing it comes.
Then you laugh.
Because it is funny.
Because it is ridiculous and you know it.
Because you have come out on the other side stronger.
I will always carry with me the remembrance of my desperation in those days. I will always be empathetic to those struggling with infertility. There is no wrong way to go through the journey, there is only your way. You do what you have to, you survive how you need to, so if that means three drum sets, 14 stuffies with the word Baby on them, and plethora of assorted baby rattles, then so be. I needed those things to get through to the next day, the next ultrasound, the next doctor's visit, the next blood work. Now though, as with all fasting, comes an awakening. I need to get them out, to purge them and to trust God with other things. This is how we grow spiritually when we fast.
It's strange to think that I would be here, be in this position to actually laugh at my own silliness. I now look at the trash bags of things with new eyes. I understand myself better because of this first day of lent. It is surprising to me, that a challenge such as this, would help me to understand a part of myself I thought I had fully understood. I see a level, a layer to myself that I didn't know had existed before. It's kinda funny to think that going through a toy room would bring this level of awareness to the fore front, but it has.
And I praise God for that.
**** I am not laughing at, or downplaying anyone going through this now. If you are in throws of infertility, let me say, I applaud your strength, I can sympathize with your struggles and I fully offer my door to stay open if you ever want to talk. 1 in 7 couples in the US will go through this heartbreaking journey, just know, that you aren't going through it alone.