Sunday, October 18, 2009


I am reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being right now. I almost put it down after the first page because its just SO not the kind of literature I can concentrate on right now. But I pushed onward (besides, it has a really cool title). Then a paragraph in the second chapter stood out to me:

"The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?"

And I was like, I get it. I totally get it. Its one of the many conflicting battles that rages within me. Sometimes I feel so angry and jealous towards those who still get to reside in beautiful, shiny bubbles...they still get to see the world through rosy-iridescent walls where things make sense and life is good. I use to live in a pretty bubble, too, if only for a short time. And had Gavin lived, I would've been one of those people who get up at Fast & Testimony meeting at church on Sunday and tearfully exclaims, "I know everything is true, and all my prayers are answered, and everything is great, great and HAPPY, and my life is amazing, 'cause I am so blessed, like SERIOUSLY, so blessed." I would never have given a second thought to how soul-crushing those words can be to those whose lives have been reduced to "but if not..."

I would never have known what I know now. I would never have known how black the darkness can be. I would never have known how far down, down can be. I would never have known what abandonment feels like. I would never have known what its like to lose all knowledge, then all faith, and even all hope. I would never pause like I do now, to really, truly look at someone and wonder what hidden wounds they harbor. I would never know what its like to really, truly love someone that I just met, simply because we both know.

But is it worth it? Is it worth it to have your bubble popped, your life absolutely shattered, and your whole soul broken and beaten into the earth? Is it worth it to lose all beauty and hope to understand uglyness and despair? Is it worth it to have that knowledge, that understanding? Because there is no other way to gain that only comes through your own personal suffering. And once your bubble is popped, you can't go back. You can't think, feel, believe all the things you used to before, even when thats all you really want because it would just be so much easier. Things just don't make sense like they used to through those rosy walls. So would you rather live a life where your actions are insignificant, but blissful...lightness? Or would you rather live a "real", raw, painful existence down in the dirt...weight? The Garden of Eden or The Fallen Earth?

I know what I want.

I want to be back in my damn bubble.

At least, most of the time I think I do. But then I am confronted with the unbearable lightness of being in others around me, and I have second thoughts. Am I grateful for this knowledge? I don't really think so...not yet anyway. I'm still wondering why I am apparently destined for lifelong defeat (sorry if that comes across as dramatic, but thats I how I truly feel sometimes). But when I read that paragraph, I thought...maybe there is something in all this.

Maybe there is some hope after all. Maybe someday I'll be grateful for this knowledge. Maybe someday I will say, yes, I would rather be down here in the dirt than up in a bubble. Maybe someday I will notice beauty down here that can't be observed from up there. Maybe someday I will find that in the dirt down here, flowers have bloomed from all the tears I have cried.


Matt & Staci said...

I love you Bethany! Wish I could say more, but I just want you to know I wish I could take your pain away, but I can' I want you to know that I love you!

larsen family said...

For me also, maybe someday!

Thinking of you.

Love Ya,

Diana said...

I hear you! I've often wondered what good it does me to have a higher knowledge of certain realities, especially when that knowledge can create more loneliness and heartache for me because so few understand it! But, I guess all we have at this point is a hope that someday, things will be all right and our hearts will be healed!
(from the angel blog)

nancy said...

thus the expression, "ignorance is bliss." yes, i too would rather be ignorant...have no knowledge ...than to have this pain. unfortunately there IS no other way. no one would intentionally choose this in order to have more empathy and awareness, but it is what it is. a diamond is made only under intense pressure. of course we would all choose to stay a lump of coal (i would) but no one gives us that choice. still, i believe that even though we leave our eden and enter the lone and dreary world, we can and will be able to find joy. someone who has never needed...really needed the Savior, can't possibly appreciated His Atonement the way the penitent can. one who has never lived in darkness can't appreciate the beauty of the sunrise (Son Rise?) the way the other can. i don't blame those who take things for granted...we all do until they are taken from us, it's human nature. but for those of us who have landed face down in the dirt, there is hope in seeing that little green shoot fighting it's way out of the ground and into the sunlight. xo.

Miss Molly said...

I've REALLY been struggling with people who live in a bubble. I daresay that I hate them. That's the hard irony (one of the many) that I hate about this trial--learning to FORGIVE on top of everything else.

Andrea said...

Thank you Bethany for sharing each and every thought. I needed to hear this. I've struggled and continue to struggle with the "bubble". Ignorance is bliss and I wish I was ignorant. Wish I didn't have to know about this pain, heartache and all the many things that comes with this dang grief. Thanks again for sharing. I think you are amazing.

Melody B. said...

Beautifully stated by Nancy. At some point, through a substantial amount of time to help heal, you are able to sit up, then get up, then walk and eventually run again. We may not fly effortlessly like we used to in our bubbles, but now we are more grounded. Have you seen Wicked yet? in the words of Elphaba..."we can't all travel by bubble!"

Eldredge Family said...

Thank you for this post. I lost my 8 month old Son Sage, to accidentally suffocating with the blanket in his crib. You try so hard to explain to people what this feels like and most just can not even comprehend. I think you did a great job. I have been reading your blog for about a month or so. Thanks for sharing your feelings. I know I am not alone in the trenches. I am so sorry for the loss of your little guy Gavin he is adorable.

Janell said...

This was a beautiful post, Bethany. It seems painfully unfair that greater perspective, empathy, knowledge, etc. have to come through the kind of grief you have suffered. I wish you could have your bubble back too. Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts.

Inside my heart said...

I miss my bubble too. Thank you for sharing this analogy. Today is my sons 1 1/2 year anniversary of his stillbirth. It hurts at times, but that is because my love for him is eternal. Thank you for sharing your sweet Gavin.

Emily Ruth said...