When thinking about my hopes for having a child, I have been reminding myself that despite my past track record, circumstances can change at any moment...for the better. This reminder was reinforced by a conversation that I had with my husband earlier this week.
As the familiar scenery of our neighborhood passed by on our post-dinner walk, he reminisced about a sunny Saturday afternoon in early October, 1993 that remains in sharp focus in his memory. He was sitting in the stands at a college football game with his female cousin when his mind started swirling about the state of his young life. The game and the raucous cheering of the crowd surrounding him had faded into the background as his thoughts turned inward.
He was 25 and had graduated from law school the previous spring, but was still unemployed and had no good leads despite a thorough and dedicated job search. He had taken the Bar Exam the previous August, but had not yet been notified of whether he had passed or failed it. He had less than $100 in his bank account. He was living in his childhood bedroom at his mom and dad's house. He did not own a car and was driving one of his dad's old cast-offs. He had drifted away from his church and, to a large extent, his faith. He had no girlfriend and no prospects. The realization of the cumulative sum of all these facts hit him like a ton of bricks that day in the bleachers.
He felt like a failure, and he could see no imminent way out. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. Panic swelled up in his throat. His normally ruddy Irish complexion blanched, and his anxious thoughts must have been evident on his face because his cousin turned to him and asked, "Hey, what's wrong? Are you okay?"
Although he didn't know it at the time, his life was about to change dramatically. Good surprises were right around the corner; they were so close that he could practically reach out and touch them, but he just couldn't see them yet.
Within three months after the day of that football game, he had a secure job as an attorney, his bank account was on its way to being replenished, he had been notified of passing the Bar Exam, he had started dating me and secretly had the gut feeling that we eventually would get married, and he was out of his childhood bedroom and living self-sufficiently in a nice townhouse apartment with one of his best friends. Having his own car and, infinitely more importantly, the rekindling of his faith took a while longer, but those things also came to pass within the next few years.
I've been thinking about my husband's inability to see light at the end of the tunnel back on that day at the football game, and my own frequent inability to see light at the end of this tunnel of recurrent miscarriages. I think it is all too easy, in the midst of upsets and disappointments concerning matters that are near and dear to our hearts, to develop and nourish a spirit of fear. It becomes easy to be flinchy about the future--to have the expectation of impending doom and to continually wait for the other shoe to drop. This spirit of fear can spread from one area of life until it colors our entire perspective.
I know that this spirit of fear does not come from God and it is not his will for me. More and more, I have been trying to banish it by trusting God, not trusting him to grant all my wishes and to give me happy circumstances, but trusting him to give me the strength to survive and grow from the difficult circumstances and experiences.
However, upon reflection, I think that I need to go a little farther. I already know that things can change overnight for the worse, but I need to remember that they also can change overnight for the better. I need to be bold: I need to nourish hope--hope in the possibility that something good could be awaiting me in the near future. With God, all things are possible. He is not only my rock in hard times, but also a father who delights in giving his children good gifts.
Good surprises could be just around the corner, not yet in my vision, but almost close enough to touch.