“I can’t tell where we are /There’s no guiding star”
(lyrics from “Where am I in the Story” by Naomi Less)
For many of us, the fertility journey is filled with moments in which we are no longer able to discern where we are along the path. Are we almost done with this struggle, or do we have years to go, and challenge after challenge to endure? This feeling is at the root of the song “Where am I in the Story,” written by Naomi Less for the upcoming performance “TRYmester: Jewish Fertility Journeys Out Loud.”
As Naomi sang the lyrics from this song during Uprooted’s session at URJ Biennial 2017, she said “I can’t tell where we are, there’s no guiding star.” Not knowing where to turn for guidance or support is akin to being lost in the dark -held hostage by the loneliness and isolation of the experience.
Chanuka comes during the darkest part of the year to add light and to fight that darkness and isolation. Where will that light come from for those who are struggling to grow their families? We were blessed to witness some of that light at the URJ Biennial. As we delved into the topic of fertility journeys, sharing excerpts from personal narratives, raising questions about inclusivity, and grappling with language that embodies sensitivity, we saw the light. That light came from the participants in the room who asked questions about how they as rabbis or community leaders can be there for those struggling. They wanted to know how to respond when someone shares their fertility struggles with them, and how they could foster greater compassion and support in their communities.
As they brainstormed together and shared with visions of inclusivity, we saw some of them take a silver star and place it on their nametag, signaling that they too had a personal fertility journey. Isolation was shattered and through the cracks came light.
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
No matter where we are along our fertility journey, may we be blessed this Chanuka to experience the embrace of someone whose love and support bring greater life into our life.