Word of the Week

How I Got Through Dark Times

These feel like dark times, don't they?

I feel like the world in which I called to minister changed dramatically post 11/8. 

No matter who you voted for President. No matter if you were happy with the results. No matter if you were deeply troubled. No matter what. The world felt different. The way we related to one felt harsher.

Going on Facebook felt like a battleground. Opening up twitter felt like war. Opening up your mouth at work about your feelings felt close to impossible.

"You voted for ___? Really? How could you?" has become a point of conversation among us. Sometimes we just don't want to know the answers.

I've heard how family members have stopped talking to family members.

I've wept over stories like this one as acts of bullying has increased.

I've talked with friends about how they are now deeply afraid for their internationally adopted children's citizenship status.

I've ached with some of our babysitters about how their family member worry they might be asked to leave the country soon or not have access to healthcare anymore.

I've heard from pastor friends all over the country who are now getting frequent calls about whether or not their congregation will be a safe space of refuge if situations call for it.

These are dark times for those of us who are so passionate about inclusion, multiculturalism, and uplifting the cause of the marginalized.

These are dark times for those of us who want harmony, peace, and good feelings throughout our land.

These are dark times for those of who plan to sit next week at Thanksgiving tables alongside folks who are hostile toward any viewpoint that isn't theirs.

So with this brand new day in America, how are we going to get through it?

This week, my book, Birthed: Finding Grace Through Infertility is launching over at Chalice Press. 

When people ask me what's it's about, I say it's a story of how I got through a dark time in my own life.

I say it's a memoir of how I got from point A to point B when the worst case scenario happened to me in my dream of motherhood.

I say it's my offering to others walking in similar shoes of grief, pain and loss, infertile or not.

birthed-elizabeth-haganI learned so much from our long season of infertility. I believe I gained some wisdom that I could have gotten in no other season of life. At the very least, I gained some survival tips.

Here are three I'd like to share for those of you despairing today:

  1. Find your tribe.  Find your support network and stick close to them. None of us can do this work alone  In Birthed, 5 friends play a central role in moving my healing along. I couldn't have made it toward joy without them. So, in the words of Brene Brown cling to those who put marbles in your jar instead of taking them from you. Don't let your tribe go.
  2. Take a Time Out.  It's ok to say no. Sometimes life demands that we do the bare minimum. Sometimes we must skip overachieving on a work project or happy hour with friends. Sometimes the best gift we can give the world is our silence. Birthed tells the story of how I sat in the dirt and re-organized rocks for weeks after an intense time of loss. I was all the better for saying yes to the time out my soul needed. You will be too.
  3. Befriend Someone You Disagree With. I know this might be the toughest suggestion. But this is what I know: some of our best teachers can live on "the other side of the fence." They were for me during the time I wrote Birthed. Though these teachers didn't see eye to eye theologically on all things, I got schooled in a richer love from their presence in my life. Their stories overflowed with wisdom I needed to see the bigger picture of my own sadness.

These suggestions might just be drops in the bucket. But somehow, someway you and I have to move from where we are to somewhere better.