|Esther's second birthday party last October, seven months' pregnant with Ingy.|
If all people knew of me was what I posted on Facebook and Instagram, they would think my life was idealic: all of the glam of travel while dredging the sweetness of life in the New England countryside in an antique post-and-beam farmlette with three beautiful children, a handsome husband, an au pair, a bunny, with a stimulating part-time profession I can do from home.
All of the above is true, and I gain great joy from the many, many blessings of my life. Yet as my handsome husband says, "no one's life sucks on Facebook." Ha! And too true, and true of myself.
We post the happy on social media. Yes, many of us get downright personal, and I have done that here and in my book, many times. But rarely do we ever get really personal, and share the dark and ugly of our lives. It simply doesn't get enough likes.
Though I honor the sacred opening of the soul - and reserve the right to do that as I feel so moved - it is also difficult and perhaps not always appropriate to do so in a very public space. Now is not the time for me to bare my soul in this, my personalized public space. But I can say something about the "sorrow that the eye can't see" in my life.
First, it exists. I am no stranger to pain. It has and continues to flow powerfully and deeply in my life. Behind the beauty of my life I choose to depict on social media, there is deep pain and heart-breaking sadness.
Yet this pain with which I am all too familiar has taught me a few things. To cherish the sweet and joyous part of life - to even celebrate it on social media. Perhaps, as a wise prophet and friend has said, my joy is in direct proportion to my pain.
Too, joy and pain may not be mutually exclusive. I haven't yet fully digested the concept, but a special witness of Christ recently expressed the concept that we can find joy in sorrow.
What I do know is that I ache more deeply for others' pain because I know it myself. To sense when others are running through troubled waters themselves. I am also less apt to believe social media's portrayal of lives that seem free from life's challenges, and joy in others' happy moments because I know that this happiness is all that keeps us from tumbling into despair.
I am also grateful for my pain - my struggles brought about by my own and others' choices - because it has broken my own heart, and made me willing to go where I otherwise might not be willing to go, to be taught and tutored in the ways in which I need to repent and change. I am newly aware of my weakness, and renewed in my faith in Christ and his ability to change me. More, I know of my own helplessness to change, to be and do what I know I ought, but hopeful in knowing that if I rely solely on the merits of Christ to make me equal to my weakness, I can be made new and better than I am today - permanently.
I guess, to put it simply, because I know pain, I know Christ. I know what it is like to be weak, and I know what it is like to be made strong. I know he has the power to heal, to change, to comfort, to succor, and to create joy in my life.
The more I live, the more convinced I become of the frailty of man. Yet this frailty strengthens my faith and dependence on Him who was never weak. I know I can change and become better "through Christ which strengtheneth me."