I awoke, reached toward the nightstand to check the clock, and oddly, staring back at me was a positive test. I was dreaming…literally, this was a dream, but in the dream the pregnancy test read, “I’m pregnant.” Rather odd that a pregnancy test would speak in first person, but whatever, this is a dream.
I was overcome with joy. Absolute joy. I was elated, overwhelmed with excitement, and filled with gratitude. It’s happening. It’s really happening! The emotions felt SO real.
Then a seed of doubt entered my mind. Wait, is this test mine? I didn’t remember taking the test, but if it wasn’t mine, then why was it sitting on my nightstand? In the dream I was living with a roommate in an old, shabby apartment. Again odd, but dreams ya know? She arrived home. I asked her about the pregnancy test, still hoping it was mine. She nonchalantly glanced over at the stick and told me it was her’s, a false positive, but her’s nonetheless.
My heart sank.
Sank and sank and sank. I felt loss over what I never really had. It hurt so much. It was too good to be true, I thought. And the emotions felt so real. Then I awoke.
I looked around the room. It was Saturday and the sun was starting to peek through the curtains. I got up to use the bathroom, feeling foggy and burdened by the dream. Dreams don’t often bring me to tears. I can recall only one other that did. The loss I felt from the dream was so real that I just sat there and cried…crawled back into bed and cried…and finally fell back asleep hoping to dream of something much kinder.
This is my second post about….stuff. I see a theme where I begin with a sad story that involves me crying a lot. I don’t actually cry all that much. I would say I’m an average crier…and this assessment of myself is completely subjective, but on the whole I am an average, possibly ugly, crier.
I’ve been reflecting on the scripture that says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn” Romans 12:15. This is messy stuff people – well, at least it is for me. When I’m surrounded by much rejoicing over the very thing which I am continuing to receive a no for, how do I rejoice? How do I truly rejoice in my heart?
We all need others to share in our joys and share in our sorrows. When I am experiencing a lot of joy in my life, sometimes it’s difficult to share in another’s sorrow because that means I’ll have to feel what they feel and selfishly, I may not want too. Yet, when it is my sorrow, I want it to be seen, heard, and understood. Likewise, when I am in a sorrowful place, sometimes I struggle to share in another’s joy, especially when it is joy over the very thing I want. You get this. I know you do. We have all been there in one scenario or another.
And there seems to be a fine line between a childish response and that of maturity – at least for me. In the messiness of all the joys and sorrows that are intertwined in our many relationships and interactions each day, navigating emotions can be a challenge in certain seasons. On one hand, I could childishly throw a fit in my heart and stomp off to another place in my mind cause I’m just plain madsad (my new word) that you got your yes and I got another no. I’m not mad at you – I’m mad that it wasn’t also me. On another hand, I think my sadness is understandable and I think my need to retreat in some form may be healthy. Sadness over hope deferred, yes. Sadness from a pity party with tea and crumpets, no. Sadness cushioned with faith and gratitude toward the Father, yes. Sadness blanketed with bitterness, no.
I wonder what Jesus did when he was madsad? If he ever was madsad, I imagine he retreated into the woods, into the quiet places, and spoke with the Father…and perhaps it was a bit like a musical too….he probably sang to the animals, and because he is Jesus, the animals all sang back and they had a lovely time worshipping the Father together… 😉
To truly rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn seems to require a dying to self. Set self aside, and what self does or doesn’t want to feel, and meet each person in the place they are –in joy or in sorrow. What a gift – to meet them there and love them well. If we all did that for one another, I think a lot of beautiful things would happen.
When I was engaged and planning a wedding, two of my five bridesmaids were single. I knew how much these two amazing women desired to be married and to see yet another engagement was difficult. Being in the wedding, they couldn’t exactly avoid all the wedded bliss and pompoms and la di da-ing as I skipped on cloud nine. Being best friends with me meant they had work to do – chop chop. Yet, not once did they complain or throw a fit or get their panties in a wad ;). And I was a terrible brideszilla. Actually, no, not true at all. I was la di da-ing with pompoms on cloud nine, remember? But really, in all seriousness, they were incredible. They helped, planned, partied, and supported me all the way through it. How thankful I am that they chose to rejoice with me even though part of them was sad over their hope deferred. Looking back now, I see that I could have sought to meet them in their mourning too, and perhaps blessed them.
It was somewhere around our 11th month of trying to conceive that I went to a new chiropractor. She is known in Dallas for preparing the body for conceiving, preparing for labor, and recovering after labor, amongst many other things. As I sat on her adjustment table for my first appointment, she asked me why I had come to her. I told her about our desires to start a family and the longer than wanted wait. She looked at me with compassion. She didn’t offer advice, or a cliché phrase about it happening at the right time, or a reminder to be thankful for this time without kids cause they leek and are sticky. She met with me in my frustration, my stress, my uncertainty, and showed empathy. “How stressful this journey can become…”, she said. “It can be so hard to walk this road…”, she said. Her eyes met mine with understanding. I began to tear up. I felt slightly embarrassed as I had just met this woman, but her genuine empathy spoke volumes. After the appointment, I felt so refreshed.
In my sorrow, can I celebrate your joy? Yes. By faith, yes.
When I have received the dreaded no each cycle, my flesh says that this isn’t fair; it’s not ok; it’s not right. However, my spirit by faith believes in the goodness and mercy of the Lord and accepts that his no is indeed the BEST answer today. His no is soaked with mercy and tenderness and purpose. When I remain in that place…that place of faith, I have accessed peace and in little ways felt more able to rejoice with someone else’s yes. I’m learning. Growing.
We will continue to contend for the yes . This gets hard at times. I hesitate to hope. I become afraid of dreaming. Perpetual disappointment is hard. And here we are – two more months have passed since I first blogged about this stuff, and it grows tiresome. I call it stuff because I’ve decided I don’t want to call it infertility. Supposedly you are considered infertile if you haven’t gotten pregnant after a year of trying. I never want to accept that label, even temporarily. What we believe is what we become, for better or worse. Seeing myself as infertile could have a significant impact on this holistic body of mine. I need prayers that I will stay positive.
We will continue to contend for the yes even if the yes comes through a different means than originally planned. We have just barely scratched the surface when it comes to of talking about adoption. Adoption is such a beautiful way to grow a family. My heart has felt moved at times towards this means of having children, but I become fearful…mostly of the monetary cost. It feels overwhelming. And again, I’m afraid of dreaming. I hesitate to hope. Yet, scripture says that with God all things are possible. Fear is the opposite of faith. If he authors a story of adoption for us, he will script every detail to get us there.
“He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” says Ephesians 3:20. He has already set his ink to paper for our story and if I know only one thing, it is that my faith pleases Him as we live out the story. He is the author and perfecter of my faith. In the no, may I have faith; faith that brings peace, faith that helps me rejoice with others, faith that says, “come on, let’s do this.”