On a day when Ovagirl gets not good, not bad, not sure news, Persephone has wonderful news. Both events follow by two days the news that Susan's fourth IVF was a bust. LEB just heard that her pregnancy may, after all, be viable, and Kate #2's sneak peak looks good, so I'm hoping that the luck will hold through for Heleen and MM in about 12 and 10 days' time. Thinking about this, about the fact that in the midst of someone's best day of their life, someone else is having their worst day, I started to think again about your responses to my post a while back about wanting to see another upturn in the fortunes of the infertility blog space. I went and did a bit of research on Boethius to see what the wheel idea really meant. I found this:
"It's my belief that history is a wheel. 'Inconstancy is my very essence,' says the wheel. Rise up on my spokes if you like, but don't complain when you're cast back down into the depths. Good time pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it's also our hope. The worst of time, like the best, are always passing away." -- The Consolations of Philosophy, by Boethius*
Anyway, I'm taking issue here with my friend Mr Boethius. Without having read him properly, for which I apologise but you know, it's late, and I have to go to work tomorrow and earn the big bucks, and I got up really early this morning, and I have to stab myself in the stomach every morning right now, and, and...
Sorry lost the plot a bit. Back to Mr Boethius. Pinched from here:
It proclaims that there is order in the universe and that a wise and benevolent God is in charge. We earthbound men and women are limited in wisdom and vision. If we could but see the full truth, we would know that there is order in what looks like chaos, that things have a way of working out for the best, and that all stories have encouraging endings.
I can see why the early Christians liked him so much. After all, doesn't this sound awfully like: All things work together for good for those who love G-d? Which, if you read that link, is really about explaining how everything will be ok in the end - in heaven. This sentiment, and the Boethian one expressed above, only make sense if you are viewing life from an eternal perspective. Because we all know, and we've all written, about how the perspective that all our experiences mean something, is pretty hard to bear when you've just had your 9th miscarriage, or the child you thought you were adopting has been snatched from your grasp, or you've finally realised that you will never have biological children, or the father you never really knew has just died. Telling any of us at that point, hell, telling any of us on the day we start to bleed, again, or the day we pee on the 2,000,000th peestick only to see acres of white open space, is not going to cut it. It does not help in that instance to be reminded that in the end we will see that all this happened for a reason, or that in the end, our fortune's wheel will turn up again. It may not turn up for some of us - at least on this issue that we are all struggling with - within our current life span. So if you don't believe in eternity, what then?
The wheel concept does grab some people - or at least, that part of it that says in the end, you'll get what you need, just maybe not how you thought you needed it. My client who went through infertility, who now has a son (conceived between IVF cycles) and a daughter, adopted after THREE adoptions fell through, he's clear that this was the family he was meant to have. If those other IVF cycles had worked, if those other adoptions had come through, his life would be different. And he cannot imagine his family being any better than it is.
But really, doesn't that say more about our incredible resilience as humans? Our ability to learn and adapt. I know (in my arrogance) that my client would have been different, but probably equally delighted, if one of the IVF cycles had worked. He would not have known his son, so there would be no need to regret not knowing him.
We will constantly, most of us, look to make the best of a situation. We will learn to adapt to the shit that life throws at us. So while it's clear that my client's Fortune's wheel turned up, it could have turned up earlier or later and he would have learnt to love in that environment. By hook or by crook, he and his wife were going to be parents. Their life would have been easier if it had happened with less pain. But it didn't, and he's happy, no delighted, with the family that they have.
I'm left a bit lost. I wanted to end this on an up note, and I'm ending it instead in mid air. I cannot bring myself to buy wholeheartedly into this G-d who knows what will happen to us, and lets it happen anyway. Because somehow in the end that's better for us, we just can't see it yet. That paternalistic world view just doesn't wash with me. Instead I think that we just have to keep trying. G-d isn't playing dice with the universe. The universe isn't playing dice with us. Some of us are just shit out of luck. For some of us that luck will turn, and for others it will take a long long time of loss for us to come out the other side, in a different shape than when we started, and see how we want to shape what we have left.
I want this to be ok for me, and for all of you. I know for some of us what we want right now won't happen. And that hurts. I think we'll replace it with another want, another way of loving. And in the end that will be ok. It will hurt, but it will be ok. I'm with Mr T.S. Eliot. It's not that the wheel will turn, it's that life will be different. It will look different, but it will be home.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one
* Feel free to research further (although wikipedia wasn't that helpful in this instance, and their entry was precisely the same as answers.com, which was clearly pinched from Brown.edu (see link above) which does actually correctly reference the original author - does that happen often?)