I’m sitting on my couch late tonight and wondering what my body is saying to me. If this symptom or that symptom is good or bad. I thought, rather niavely, that this crippling fear would disintegrate once I was pregnant, and yet here I am pregnant and desperately afraid. I thought I learned that harsh truth that control is an illusion, didn’t I already master the art of releasing expectations? Didn’t I learn that I can’t live in fear but must accept whatever reality there is in front of me and find joy in it? No my dears, I did not. Instead my fear has dominated me so all I want to do is lay down and think about said fear. I don’t know why, maybe I’m hoping I can solve the unknowable that fear is born out of by taking copious mental notes of each symptom that might present itself in my body.
Here’s something that will surprise you though, I pray all the time. I pray that the Lord would have mercy on us and keep this baby alive and healthy, and when fear overwhelms me I tell God, “she was always yours anyways, I give her back to you”. I call the baby a she, I don’t know why. We tested with an at-home pregnancy test a few days before my blood test. When I told Trever we both cried for a minute and then shock set in. A couple of days later while at work I got the call that my hormones were looking good. In fact I was sitting on the very staircase where I received the devastating call about our cause of infertility just one year ago. I went into an empty office and finally sobbed. How do you say thank you for something like that? Whatever my smart little head thinks about miracles I don’t care, I believe this baby was a gift from God and I’m going to live in light of that.
Trever and I went to visit a church last Sunday. I stood in the pews enjoying the anonymity and I couldn’t tell you what the sermon was about. I couldn’t tell you what songs we sang. But I stood under the white cathedral with tears sneaking out of my tightly shut eyes. I had a conversation with a friend the night before who was exploring atheism. I encouraged her in her pursuits to find out what she truly believes and shared in the deep need to explore all those beliefs we’ve never examined but guided our lives by. I left though, and felt relieved that I wasn’t where she was at anymore. I felt the greatest relief that I didn’t have to live like we were all just molecules and atoms and instead can live life in light of hope. Thank God I can believe.
So then there I was, I stood in church on Sunday and remembered when I was a small child and eager to believe, dancing with colorful flags at the front of our tented church and singing with deep passion and belief in the supernatural. I remembered myself in an old college classroom beginning to study theology and feeling like I had been fooled by false emotion in my childhood and choosing instead to pursue God intellectually. Then I remember sobbing in my car because I didn’t think I could believe anymore and deeply afraid there wasn’t a God. I remember standing in the back of a church service grieved by my unbelief and the overwhelming and dark sense of hopelessness I felt. I remember getting angry with Trever and everyone around me including God because nothing made any sense. I remember studying with a Rabbi in hopes to understand God in his Old Testament ways and trying to see his supposed goodness. I remember standing in a cathedral in Ravello in silence and lighting a candle because I didn’t know how to pray but felt peace in the tradition and finding a glimmer of belief. Then I remember my heart breaking so deeply from grief that all my anger and confusion dissipated and all I knew what to do was curl up in a ball in my bed and pray through my sobs.
Then there I was. Standing in a church believing. Standing in a church with my baby’s heart beating within me. Standing in a church before a God who let me wander. Standing in a church before a God who let me come back. Standing in church before a God who is.
Oh the Grace. Oh the Mercy.