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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bitter or Better?

I hope this isn't a useless plug, but I just watched this documentary called The Lottery of Birth on Hulu and I recommend that every single person watch it. And that every single person NEVER stop questioning.

There is a question that has been a constant in my life especially these past 2 years. Am I being bitter or better? I confess that there are moments I have been bitter, but when I step back and try to get a bigger perspective I pray that I will be better overall for the experiences afforded our family.

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Now let us begin."
 -Mother Teresa

WARNING: The next 3 paragraphs are full of complaints and selfish attitude. I suggest if you don't want to hear it just skip over to the better part. I apologize in advance.
These are the following reasons that at some points in our journey I have justified (P.S. Justification is the evil form of sanctification- so this is the little devil on AJ's shoulder) being bitter. The treatments we have paid tons of $$$ for have made my husband completely sterile. If we want more children of our own we would have to pay tens of thousands of more dollars to try and may or may not be successful. The evil circle of modern medication = more and more money for them. If we are successful, will daddy be around for his children? 

For the last two years friends and family nearly always ask, "How is Marshall?" I rarely get asked, "How are you?" anymore. I haven't been able to pursue the Masters I hoped for and am instead working part-time to pay off medical bills. Bitter that Marshall lost his full tuition scholarship and half a semester of work due to a leukemia relapse. Bitter that the plans we made when we got married are on hold to fight a deathly disease (but hey who's plans actually do stay the same after they get married right?). Bitter that Marshall can't be outside a certain mile radius of his treatment center.  I think overall I feel we have lost a certain amount of freedom to travel where we want, to have kids when we want, and to study when we want. 

I missed out on so many early moments of my son's life. Bitter that it is so hard to make future plans without the constant nagging that another relapse may occur where we would have to drop our entire lives again. Would he live through ANOTHER harsh treatment plan?

Well if you lasted through that negative part, let me account for every aspect above and tell you now why they have made me better. I imagine this is the angel on my other shoulder.

I appreciate the one child I have now more than ever and can relate a little more to people who struggle with infertility. I now have the opportunity to adopt different ethnicities like I always wanted (HELLO- do you remember Kez's birth!?) if IVF doesn't work.

The phrase, "A Window To His Love" that my mother-in-law used with me one day has so much greater meaning in my life. When we forget about ourselves even a little and think of others, we become a little more like Our Savior. I remember my senior year of seminary singing that song with Shelley, Jamie, and Natalie. "Until only He can be seen and I become a window to His love". Maybe people do only ask about Marshall but I hope I have become a little more transparent in the process.
Through my part-time job I have met some truly magnificent people (and hopefully even kept up my Portuguese a little). People that do not get angry. Ever. People that are laid back and fun (mostly Brazilians) and who have worked with me so well through our crazy schedule of treatment in Texas and constant doctor visits, etc.

I have been able to spend MUCH more time with this positive dude I married. Dear Retirement, We are ready for ya! Love, The Jensens.

I've learned that some of the events, trips, and things that consume most of our thoughts and lives to keep us "busy" are really, really not as important to us as other things are. Time spent with those you love and in the scriptures or inspiring books carry much less remorse. I also realize that Kez would not be the wonderful boy he is becoming if it hadn't been for each of the people who have so graciously taken him under their wing. I am so grateful for them and each of them have some credit invested in his strength.

Lastly, it really is better to not focus so much on the future. Live the present moment you have now wherever you are in the world and whatever point you are in your life the best that you can! “You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” ― John GreenLooking for Alaska 

Instead of focusing on what we WILL be doing, focus on what we ARE doing. We can each make a better difference in our situation, our community, our local surroundings. Every where we go is the home of someone somewhere. The more we travel, the less likely we are to call one place home and invest in making our little space on earth a better space for the weary traveler to enter.