I have a confession. I'm a really bad blogger. Like, the worst.
Five years ago I started a "blog". I'm doing air quotes because I wasn't ever consistent.
I mainly started it so that two of my friends would stop harassing me. I'd told them about my life long dream of becoming a writer. Most likely they were tired of listening to me whine. (Fact: many writers spend much more time telling other people they're writers than actually writing.)
My first post was approximately one paragraph about how I'd procrastinated with writing but, no more! Things were going to be different! This was the official launch of my literary career.
I lied. It was my only post that year. In fact, I didn't update my blog again for two full years.
When I did, something surprising happened. My essay went (what I called at that time) "viral". That's a bit of a stretch, but it did garner just under 20,000 hits. Which, for someone with two posts and three readers (My two best friends and my husband.) is a big deal!
There had been a terrible tragedy in our town. A young mother accidentally left her baby in the car and the little girl died. The public responded with an onslaught of criticism and judgement. (Ah, the good old internet, right?)
The general consensus was, "What kind of mother would do that?" I remember reading those comments and shaking all over trying to imagine the horrific pain that woman must be feeling. As a frazzled first time mom myself, I knew how easily I could have made the same mistake. I hastily published an essay entitled I Am That Kind of Mother in which I voiced my support of the grieving mom. I shared it on my Facebook page and, because it was the hot topic of the day, I had a pretty good run.
Was it excellent writing? Meh. Not really. But it made an impact. I said what numerous others were thinking, but kept to themselves in fear of judgement.
It's scary to go first, but it's also powerful. When you are brave with your story, it frees others to tell theirs.
Watching my words spread into our community was exhilarating. And it motivated me to write more.
Over the next few years I added a handful of essays. I talked about adoption, infertility and the funny nuances of new-mom life. I was erratic at best and if you are one of the faithful few that has followed me since my "fancy pants" days, you deserve some kind of loyalty award.
Despite its cringeworthy name and terrible design, something surprising happened.
People started reading my blog.
I got emails and texts and social media shares. Some people asked to meet face to face and talk, while others sent anonymous messages. So many women told me about their own struggles with infertility, their experience with adoption or memories from their new-mom years. Although they each connected to different parts of the story, their response was always quite similar.
Over and over I began to hear, "Me too."
I wrote about the loneliness of infertility.
I wrote about the challenges of adoption.
One day I was feeling especially brave and wrote about my struggle with depression.
"Me too." "Me too!" "ME TOO!"
And more often than not, people followed up their "Me too." with "I felt like I was the only one."
If I had to explain in a single idea why I write, it's that. Because, I've learned over these past years it isn't the hardships in life that break us. It's facing them alone.
I've wanted to have a "real blog" and write consistently for several years. But every time I thought about trying to fill in the back story of the last eight years, I'd get completely overwhelmed and shut down. (Have you ever seen the clip of those fainting goats? Like that.)
I was talking to my friend Betty last week and she said, "You are trying to write differently than the way your brain works. When I think of your brain, I think of spaghetti. Everything touches everything and it all goes together. Write that way instead. Tell it out of order."
I might have been offended that she called my brains spaghetti if she weren't absolutely right.
So I'm just gonna start. I'll fill you in on the back story as time goes by, but I'm going to jump right into the here and now as well. It may be jumbled and seemingly unrelated at first, but hang in there while all the noodles connect.
You should know, though, I don't know how this story ends.
You'll be watching it play out live and that feels really scary. What I'd like to do is wait until I know the outcome, tie up all the loose ends and present you with a polished narrative. All the rough edges smoothed away. But instead, I'm going to summon up every ounce of courage I can muster and invite you to come along.
This isn't just a blog about infertility and adoption. It's about relationships and hope and what to do with dreams deferred. Ultimately it's about the never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever goodness of God. (Thank you Jesus Storybook Bible for that perfect phrase.)
I'm glad you're here and I promise to show up and write this time.