I was ill a few weeks ago and went to Patient First. They treated me and asked me to come in for a follow-up visit the next day. Gary went with me and we sat in that tiny room with a ugly curtain for quite awhile while they waited on lab results.
The young physician's assistant finally came into the room and went over my chart and lab work and said he was pleased with my progress. It seemed the antibiotics were working and in a few days I should be feeling much better. Then he asked me a rather personal question. “When was your last period?” Seriously, this man looked like he was 14 years old. Even with facial hair. And I’m going to discuss my period with him. “My last period… Um…why it was… come to think of it…I’m late about 6 weeks. But, you know, I think I am possibly going through… you know… the change.”
“Menopause," he says. "Yeah. That’s probably it.” All ready to wrap up the appointment, he closes the folder, and I timidly stop him and say, “You know…would it be smart to just check?" I felt embarrassed even asking.
“If you’re pregnant?" he asked. "Sure we can do that. We already have a sample, so let me put that order in, and it should take about 10 minutes to get an answer for you." Then the teen doctor left us in the room.
For the next few minutes, Gary and I got lost. Deliriously, deliciously lost. Lost in thoughts I dared not entertain before. Like opening a door just a crack that you were fairly certain was bolted shut. And for the next few minutes, it was possible. For the next few minutes, I felt different. Softer. More feminine somehow. It’s hard to explain but I was transformed in my mind to being one of them: those child-bearing beauties, with babies on their hips and stained shirts. Those glorious women with everything in their purse from pacifiers to peanut butter crackers…women as competent at running life on sticky notes as they are at fixing sticky faces with saliva.
Gary and I, married just over 2 years and each in our 50’s had never had these thoughts - together. He had his children, and they’re wonderful and I am just glad to be a part of their lives. But we hadn’t imagined this. All of a sudden we were consumed with strange thoughts of names and nurseries…musings of how jealous the dog would be. We “Googled” strange statistics like, how old was the oldest woman ever to give birth? Telling Bible stories of unlikely births, imagining Sarah in her 90’s and how cute she must’ve looked in her maternity robe. Oh, the thoughts that flooded us. Thoughts so thick with longing you could almost smell the baby powder. I had lost hope that I would ever be a mom a long time ago but here was this hope being resurrected out of nowhere! And we enjoyed it.
Life has a way of dealing crushing blows to our dreams and we deal with it in all kinds of ways. Pretending we didn’t want it that much, becoming bitter, recalculating and embracing new dreams, but me? I had become afraid of dreaming, afraid to let my mind and heart wander the roads of those distant wishes and prayers. Silently self-protecting so I would never be so disappointed again.
I don’t want to live like that.
I didn’t realize how much I was living beneath the hope that is held out for me every single day. Avoiding the land mines of the past and putting such boundaries on the future, anticipation was a lost art.
To be fully present is to enjoy the moments God gives you where hope is resurrected and all things are possible. It’s like saying I don’t know how this ends, but I am all in right now and I will go there…really go there in my mind and experience the fullness of this God-soaked suspense. What was the alternative? Just go on like nothing was different, like nothing new was possible? Think the same thoughts we’ve always thought? If hope is a muscle, I need to work it out from time to time. That means indulging in a gift of possibility that’s right before me and allowing my heart to grow through it.
The youngster in the lab coat finally came back in and told us that I was in fact, not pregnant. But it was a really fun ten minutes.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.