There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it. ~George Bernard Shaw
I'm not entirely sure what I think of this quote, besides that it is deeply thought-provoking. I haven't lost many of "my heart's desires", but I have lost a few. Some of the strongest desires were during my high school and college years - to get married, have lots of kids, and stay at home with them.
I got married at just barely 21, and that desire realized has been an incredible source of joy to me.
But shortly after that, I had a miscarriage. And then I couldn't get pregnant for another year. I cried often and deeply that year, wondering if my next two dreams were impossible. Nearly every other girl I knew during those years had a nearly honeymoon baby, and then more. I realize now that wasn't necessarily the norm, outside our quite conservative church, but it made my heart ache even more. Though perfectly healthy, my two girls have always seemed a bit more miraculous to me because of those first two years, small miracles against brief infertility.
What next? Many kids. I grew up in adoration of my best friend's family of 10 kids. I wanted 4, 5 or 6. I'd still like three or four. But the demands of school for my husband, among plenty of other things, have slowed that dream.
Staying at home? Out of necessity, I initially found myself back in the work force just after my first daughter was born. Out of both near necessity and great enjoyment and passion for education, I have not left since.
My heart still aches at times for the fleeting dreams. But what if life went just according to my plans, mostly just a dream come true? Would it have been tragic in its own way, depriving me of the chance to fully appreciate the husband, children, and hours at home that I do have? Might I be caught in my fulfilling, self-satisfied world, rarely glimpsing the possibility or pain of those whose babies never came, who couldn't afford to keep even one, who single-handedly supported and mothered their families?
I pray for a heart of always increasing gratitude, whether my desires are gained or lost. Because a life without gratitude might be the greatest tragedy of all.