But then I thought: "Wait a second. Meeting him earlier would mean never living in Denver..." I lived in Denver for a year after college, working as a full-time volunteer and living in community. It was an incredibly enriching, formative experience. Would I really give that up...? Wipe that out of my history forever...?
And then I got to thinking: What would I give up? What part of my past would I say "goodbye" to, if it would help me get where I want to be now?
And I thought of the other great sorrow I've gone through: a bad breakup, after four years of dating, in college. I'll spare you the details – but it was bad. I thought we would get married, but I graduated college single and without a clear direction. So would I "give up" and get rid of that horrible breakup – all the tears, the insecurities, the heartache?
Well...it's not that easy. What if I would have married him...I would have never gone to Denver, never gone to graduate school afterwards, never met this friend and that friend and my maid of honor and of course, Mr. M! Even thinking about that possibility made me choke up! I can't imagine life without so many people that I've met since college, since my life took a turn I didn't expect.
So then what? I guess I can't have all of these people I love without going through the breakup?
Wierd! I felt like I was in that movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." It's as trippy as it sounds, but such a fascinating idea: after a breakup, a woman uses a new an untested technology to erase all memories of her former boyfriend. But...halfway through the process she realizes that maybe she's decided to give up too much...realizing that the bad and good are so intricately interwoven...I don't want to give away the ending, but I recommend the movie!
|Fun fact about the movie: it stars Jim Carrey in a non-funny role.|
And yet...I picture the day, with much trepidation because it is so awfully tender, and might never happen...when (if) I look my son or daughter in the face for the first time...and I know in an instant, without any doubt, that it was you I was waiting for all this time.
I can only imagine this now, and maybe the reality would be quite different (or maybe it will never happen)...but something deep within thinks that when I look at my child, feel their tiny fingers in mine and breathe in their newborn scent, if someone asked me, "Would you get rid of all of those months/years of infertility, all the tears, all the longing, all the heartache...? With the small, small catch that you can't have this child..." I'd clutch my baby fiercely to me and accept each and every tear, every day and hour of longing, for your sake.
It reminds me of that scene from C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, which I'm too lazy to find right now...right after "the patient" dies...he sees a form, a face, hears a voice, and says "Ah ha! So it was you all the time! All those times I felt someone near...all those times I thought I wasn't quite alone...it was you!"
[I have the retro version...very marked up and highlighted...and falling apart.]
So much of life is a mystery...so much is happening that we can't see with our little puny human eyes...
I'm not saying that I'd like to live through every difficult experience again. And there are some experiences that are just so bad that no one should have to go through them, ever. And yet...and yet...everything is so mixed up together. "Lose the bad...but lose the good along with it..." Not really a choice I'd want to embrace. Thank God it's not a choice we have! We're stuck in time, and can only move forward.
Will I get my "ah-ha!" moment this side of heaven? I have no idea. Jesus, help me trust that you can bring good out of even this, that someday, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not for years and years, I'll be able to look back and say "yes, You were there. I didn't see you, I doubted your presence, but You were there."