Finding My Place
I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time and it’s been more difficult than it usually is for me. Normally, the inspiration honestly just comes. I like to think it’s because someone out there needs to hear what I’m saying. Perhaps the reason this one has been a struggle is because I’m the one that needs to hear what I’m saying this time.
It’s been a rough year. It’s been a year full of changes and I don’t do well with change. I’ve been struggling quietly for a few months and I wanted to fix it. I figured it was some stupid mid life crisis, right? I mean, I’m 36. Isn’t it time for one of those? I just keep feeling like I’m a Hamilton lyric. And by that…I mean this- “In the eye of a hurricane, there is quiet, For just a moment, a yellow sky.” That’s it. I just feel like I’m stuck and that everything is swirling around me. And I just couldn’t pinpoint what was going on. I couldn’t make sense of why this was happening. I have never once struggled with my faith, with my life, with my path. It was hard..and painful at times, but I could always make sense of things- until now. And while I’m in the midst of this hurricane, I see things moving on, I see people moving on- and I’m just STUCK. And I hate being stuck. And then, as I usually do, I found some inspiration in a song. Hilary Weeks wrote a new song called “Faith in the Middle” and it has a lyric that says “when you question or doubt more than a little, that’s when you’re gonna need faith in the middle.” So, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been, as Elder Holland advises, holding on to what I do know and to the faith I do have until more knowledge comes. But I still couldn’t figure out what the problem was.
Tonight, I was at a dance practice for the youth in my stake who are participating in the Idaho Falls Temple Cultural Celebration. We started by sitting in chairs and practicing a few songs that we’re singing. After that, the kids moved the chairs and started to get into rows for the dances. Now, anyone who has dealt with teenagers understands that trying to get them into 6 straight rows is like herding a litter of kittens. Most of the kids were ready and in their rows and the instructor began the first dance. About a minute in, a little deacon that I absolutely adore came in from getting a drink and couldn’t figure out what row he was supposed to be in. He came over to me with a concerned and slightly panicked look on his face and said “Sister Jennings, I don’t know where I belong. I don’t fit anywhere.” I helped him find a spot. After watching for a moment, I realized he couldn’t see the instructor, so I went and moved him to a different place. I then went back to my place on the sidelines and thought about what he had said.
And I realized something.
I don’t know where I belong. I don’t fit anywhere.
This seems especially fitting this week- a week when we rightfully honor mothers.
People often tell me that all women are born with the “mothering” gene and I don’t disagree with that. We are all capable of teaching and nurturing and loving children. People tell me that all women are mothers in some way, that we all contribute to mothering and raising children, that I’ve had an effect on their children, that I’m essential to their child’s growth or existence or something. And yet, when they talk about motherhood or recognize all the mothers or give gifts to all the mothers, why do I feel like I don’t fit?
I don’t fit in with the young mothers- with their cute, pregnant bellies and families full of toddlers. I don’t fit in with the women my age- with their preteens, carpools, sports practice and dance classes. I don’t fit in with the women just older than me with their children leaving for college and I don’t really fit in with the women whose children are grown and who are entering the empty nest stage of life. I don’t fit in with the single women and I don’t fit in with the young married and yet to have babies women. I don’t really belong in Relief Society and I no longer belong in primary and I feel really old in young womens.
See what I mean? I don’t fit anywhere. And sometimes, that gets awfully hard and terribly lonely.
And it brings me back to that little deacon.
He wandered aimlessly for a moment, confused, lost and unsure. And then…he found someone he trusted, that he knew loved him and would help him, to assist him in finding his place in that crowded, smelly cultural hall.
What happens if I, Katie Jennings, find someone who I know loves me and will always help me to find my place in this world? Do I trust that person to put me in the right places? Do I stay where they put me and live in the moment? Do I learn from the place that they put me? Or- do I wander aimlessly- lost and unsure? Do I grumble about where I am placed? Do I do the minimum amount of work required from the place that this trusted friend puts me? Do I look for reasons to hate my spot?
You know, now that I think about it, I did turn to that person once upon a time. I turned to my Heavenly Father. I asked Him to help me find my spot. And He did. And then, He saw that I had learned enough in that spot, so He moved me to a different spot so I could learn something new. And He will put me in many other places so I can learn many other things. If I trust Him and trust that the place that He puts me is for my best interest- what will I gain? If I move to that spot unwillingly and unhappily- what am I giving up?
It’s the same with this whole childless and infertility roller coaster that we’re on. And it really comes right down to this. Do we trust our Heavenly Father to put us in the BEST place for us? Do we trust Him to put us where He needs us? Are we still going to have work to do when we get to that spot? Is it the perfect spot for us? Is it the place that we fit?
I never wanted to fit into this spot, but regardless of what I want, this is MY spot. I fit in the childless community. I fit with other daughters of God. I fit with certain women. I fit in with covenant keeping women. I fit in with women who know. I fit in with women who are in their rightful and needful place. I fit with women who need a friend. I fit with women who need each other. I fit in. I fit here. Right where I am. I am the little yellow puzzle piece right in the middle that pulls everything together.
Each of us is needed, whether we can give birth or not. Each of us is so important to our Father’s intricate plan for His children. Each of us is a precious puzzle piece to Him. And as corny as it sounds, this makes me think of a favorite Dr. Seuss line. “Today You are You, that is truer than true, There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Heavenly Father made each of us with a specific purpose in mind. And for me…and maybe for you, that purpose is not to be a mother. BUT. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t worth it, or that you aren’t good enough or righteous enough or perfect enough or whatever qualifier you have placed on motherhood. It means that your puzzle piece is different than anyone else’s- but it’s a necessary puzzle piece and it’s SO needed to complete that puzzle.