I do not wait well. That is a giant understatement. Most people who know me would assume that I don’t worry all that much, but I am a closet worrier. While I may never speak most of what runs through my head, my inner dialogue on waiting days is enough to turn any sane person into a paranoid schizophrenic patient. People who can worry out loud at least have the courage to express the seedling of doubt that caused the worry in the first place. I, on the other hand, let it run free until I feel stretched beyond my tensile strength. At multiple points throughout any given waiting period, I have to force myself to sit still and repeat out loud that God is in control, not me, and there is nothing I can do while I wait but trust him. Sounds easy enough, right?
On Thursday this week, we go to our first visit with the fertility specialist. Having done more research than any well-adjusted individual ever should, I doubt there will be many surprises at this first visit. I have no idea exactly what will happen, but I expect it to be like any first consultation. The new doctor will look at our records and see what’s been done to date, and then he will present the options and that will determine the new plan of attack. What can there possibly be to worry about until we know what the options are? Let’s see… What if he says nothing can be done? What if he finds something almost impossible to fix? What if our odds of success aren’t any better under his care? What if our insurance won’t cover this? And maybe the most terrifying, what if he’s confident he can help us? Am I really ready to try again? That last question is more fairly stated as, am I really ready to hope against all odds and then have that hope smashed to pieces – again?
What can I possibly do about any of those things by worrying? Absolutely nothing. Worry is clearly the expression of the fear of the unknown. Spiritually speaking, it is unbelief. Above all, I believe that God is in control; whether or not children are in his plan for us falls under that control. We may not ever have children, which is something I can accept as beyond my control. I firmly believe that I will have a successful pregnancy if that’s what God wants; my particular unbelief lies in the experience of repeated loss. I know every day what it feels like to live the story of the father begging Jesus to heal his son. There had been repeated attempts by people in his village and by the disciples to heal him, and then Jesus showed up and asked the father if he believed his son could be healed. The father’s response: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9: 14-29)
In any given situation, God can intervene; things can go the way that we hope they will. It’s easy to believe then. What we do when God says no is not so easy. Sometimes, we just have to wait for the right time. Sometimes, we have to change our plans and hopes completely. It’s hard enough to change your own heart – changing the hopes that our friends and families have for us is monumentally difficult. They tend to be the voices advocating for the wild pursuit of a single outcome, and in my life, they have a harder time letting go of the baby dream than I do. It shouldn’t really even be my job – to change someone else’s dream for me – but it becomes just another piece of the giant boat you attempt to turn with the tiny rudder that faith provides. I worry more when I’m thinking about what everyone else wants from me.
I’d say about a quarter of my worrying over this week’s appointment is not being able to answer all of my questions right now (I really hate waiting). The other 75% is worrying that the outcome will be a positive step forward. It’s unlikely to be determined in a single visit on Thursday, but trying to conceive again means hoping for a positive outcome. If that’s not the direction I’m supposed to be going, it will be another body blow, if not a knock-out. Am I supposed to hope for something that I’m not supposed to have? And, if this works, what was the point of all of that pain? What did I do to deserve this? Those are the real questions underlying the worry. That last one is nothing but selfish indulgence, and I know it, but I am currently helpless to get rid of that particular unbelief. Thursday is only two more days, and then I’ll have something new to worry about.