Wednesday, October 12, 2011

{on asking "why me?"}

I was listening to NPR while sitting in my car in the back of the Target parking lot, as I often do on my lunch break (it's so relaxing to me) when a phrase caught me by surprise.

The guest, David Rakoff was talking to Terry Gross about his cancer. His doctors told him that the cancer — a sarcoma in his neck — was caused by earlier radiation treatments he received for a bout with lymphoma in his 20s. When Terry asked him if he ever asked "Why me..." this was his reply....

"Writer Melissa Bank said it best: 'The only proper answer to 'Why me?' is 'Why not you?' The universe is anarchic and doesn't care about us and unfortunately, there's no greater rhyme or reason as to why it would be me. And since there is no answer as to why me, it's not a question I feel really entitled to ask. And in so many other ways, I'm so far ahead of the game. I have access to great medical care. My general baseline health, aside from the general unpleasantness of the cancer, is great. And it's great because I'm privileged to have great health. And I live in a country where I'm not making sneakers for a living and I don't live near a toxic waste dump. You can't win all the contests and then lose at one contest and say 'Why am I not winning this contest as well?' It's random. So truthfully, again, do I wish it weren't me? Absolutely. I still can't make that logistic jump to thinking there's a reason why it shouldn't be me."

His comment totally caught me off guard. For the longest time as I've struggled with infertility, I've thought a million times, "Why me?" But seriously, why not me? It's true- the universe is anarchic and there is no greater rhyme or reason as to why it would be me. I'm a religious, faithful person, which to be honest, sometimes makes it easier to ask "why me"?  If God does love me, why would he deny me the one thing I want the most? I've let myself get consumed with that thought more times than I'd like to admit, and it's so consuming that at times, I've almost drowned in it. Becoming bitter and envious over something you don't have is a very easy thing to do and it's something I struggle with every day. Every day I pray for understanding and guidance. I have often wondered why it's been so difficult to get pregant, but when I'm really at peace with it and with myself, I can get past the "why me" part.

I have to remind myself that God does love me. Not getting pregnant is not his way of punishing me. It's just the way things are. Bad things happen every day to everyone, and rather than dwell on the negative, I'm learning to focus on the positive. I want a baby so bad. I want to be pregnant. But I have to realize that while I can only do so much that's in my control, the rest is up to Him. I've also realized that there are things I can control. I might not ever get pregnant, but that doesn't mean I can't be a mom and raise children. I have a lot to be grateful for. My sweet husband, my family and supportive friends, my job, house and car, modern technology, and pants without holes. ;)

So why not me? I wish this was something I could just say, "I'm okay with it", and breathe a sigh of relief. If only it were that easy, right? But for now, I'm accepting it and knowing that thing will work out how they're supposed to.


Jill said...

I love this. So true. It is something I don't think you can ever get over, but the lessons learned through that horrific trial can be completely life changing. Great perspective Shannon. You are going to be one amazing momma one day. Can't wait for that. I'm praying for ya girl.

BECKY said...

Incredible quote and so true.
It's amazing how when I think about my trials, I look at someone else's life and realize something they're going through and am grateful that I don't have that challenge.
It's amazing to me that if we open our eyes, we find that none of us get off easy in this life. We all get an equal dose of crap, just in a different variety.
I often think about infertility and wonder why God would have so many of us suffer from that, especially when it is the most righteous desire of our hearts. The only answer I've been able to come up with so far is we need to learn to empathy, but still, there must be a more important reason than that. It's definitely one I'm going to ask him!
Best wishes to all of us who are in this stage of life wondering why we must go through what we must. I hope we can all have the needed faith to say "thy will be done."

Allie Waite said...

When I went through my testing for MS (a year ago-ish) I remember having the same thought as David Rakoff. Initially my reaction was "Why me?" but the second that thought entered my mind I felt so selfish because if not me then someone else. Would I really rather wish this on another person? I remember feeling oddly strong and prepared, like I could handle it whatever the outcome was. I think this was because 3 years before I had gone through a very hard trial in which I spent every day thinking "Why me? It's not fair. No one understands the pain I'm going through." After months of doing that I began to realize things could be a LOT worse. And that God gives us challenges for reasons. In retrospect I learned so much about myself and the person I wanted to be from that trial, which I think is why it was much easier for me to handle the next. Plus, I didn't end up having MS! So I guess the point is to say sometimes Heavenly Father gives us challenges and we want to question why me? but we don't always know the outcome and the things we need to learn from these experiences. And those are my thoughts in a novel haha.

pollydove said...

I am so sad that you are having to deal with infertility Shannon! I can only imagine how frustrating that is. I learned a long time ago now to ask "why me?" Whenever I think my trials are hard and I have hated having to go through some of the things I have, there undoubtedly is ALWAYS someone (even close to me) that has it SO much worse than I do ... someone who I would never want to change places with or trade trials with. It may sound a little trite, but that is what I sometimes focus on to help me get through difficult trials.

One Fish said...

Pain stayed so long I said to him today,
"I will not have you with me any more."
I stamped my foot and said, "Be on your way."
And paused there, startled as the look he wore,
"I, who have been your friend," he said to me,
"I, who have been your teacher---all you know
Of understanding love, of sympathy,
And patience, I have taught you. Shall I go?"
He spoke the truth, this strange unwelcome guest;
I watched him leave, and knew that he was wise,
He left a heart grown tender in my breast,
He left a far, clear vision in my eyes.
I dried my tears, and lifted up a song---
Even for one who'd tortured me so long.

Written By,
Spencer W. Kimball

The Marquardt Family said...

Love you girl. Keep the faith

Evette Mendisabal said...

Hi Shannon,
I would love to get together for brunch. I sent a message to your mom on fb a while ago and told her to let me know when she had a spare Saturday morning that I'd love to meet you and get together with her again. I'll try an find you on FB and maybe we can sort something out via private message?

Katie and Josh Fairbanks said...

Shan, I have asked myself this same question and have been where you are. It is not an easy thing to go through, and a lot of people do not understand. I pray that things will work out the way they are suppose to, and I will pray for you to have peace in your heart. I do know that Heavenly Father DOES love YOU, and that someday, somehow, you will be a mother to a very lucky child! Hang in there girl! :)

Breezy said...

You will find your own way.. and the journey may not always be easy but it is always worth it!
You are an amazing young woman..


Breezy said...

You will find your own way.. it may not always be easy but it is always worth it.
You are an amazing young woman!

Handyman Video said...

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How to start a painting business said...

I really like this. It opened my mind. Thanks!

sharon said...

Shannon, you are so inspirational! When Larry had prostate cancer, people would be sad and say why? I would think why not? I don't think God 'gives' us challenges like illness, we have human bodies that aren't perfect and things happen. I think God blesses us when we choose how to deal with a problem. When we turn to Him and stay positive, we grow and are happier so the challenge seems easier. blah, blah, blah - thanks for letting me put in my 2 cents worth. Hang in there! Stay positive...