Now that you’ve clicked below the fold, let me ruin it for you: no, we don’t have a baby yet. Just keep reading. It should be worth your trouble.
Our relative inactivity on this site to the contrary, yes, we’re still very much alive and kicking. Just really, really busy. But in spite of all that is going on in our lives at the moment, I would be very remiss if I didn’t share some of the tender mercies Shirly and I received over the weekend.
Lately our faith has been flagging, but things really came to a head on Friday evening. In the temple, no less. After seventeen years of trying and failing to conceive, of seeking again and again (and again) to adopt without success, of watching couples younger than us bear children, and yet more children…
…there comes a point at which one just runs out of gas. How much longer, we asked, can we realistically expect that we will be chosen for adoption, much less conceive naturally?
Our wonderful bishop sent me a text message on Saturday morning. He had seen me at the temple, saw that I was a bit down. “Is everything okay?” No, Bishop, it isn’t. I called and briefly explained what was happening. He said he would pray about things and determine how to proceed with contacting Shirly.
Shortly thereafter, Shirly had a good phone call with another sister from the ward who has had her own struggles with infertility. Ah, thought I, that’s the bishop at work, calling in reinforcements! Not so. I found out later that the bishop prayed about it, and got the distinct response: stand down, do nothing. Turned out that the sister in question called Shirly on her own responding to a voice mail from the day before. And this particular sister could relate to Shirly’s predicament on a level that she needed. Tender mercy number one.
And yet, we went to church on Sunday with heavy hearts. Spiritually, I think we were both just drained. I sat and prayed: please, Father, bless my little lady, who has been so very obedient and faithful, with the blessing of posterity.
Right then, Shirly got a tap on the shoulder. A family two pews behind us, unbidden, passed their six-week-old daughter to Shirly, who held and fed and cradled and loved on her. Hence, the picture at the beginning of this blog post.
Later, this from the baby daddy.
It was the balm in Gilead that Shirly really needed. Tender mercy number two. And yet, the Lord wasn’t quite finished.
For reasons I don’t fully grasp, kids like me. It was that way before my mission, and it’s that way now, maybe more than ever. (I don’t know if this is necessarily the case with adults.) After church, I was in the hallway with my fellow Sunbeam teacher. As I was standing there, a family in the ward whose daughter was in my nursery last year happened by. The daughter walked up, looked up at me a bit tentatively. I held out my hands, offering to pick her up. She responded in kind. I picked her up, greeted her.
“Give me a hug?” She responded, putting her head on my shoulder.
Right at that moment, a second girl from my nursery last year walked up and flashed me a big grin. I held out my free arm and scooped her up. Again, a gentle hug. There I stood for a moment or two, holding those two two-year-olds, them loving on me.
Sometimes you need some serious revelation, some concrete answers to prayer. On other occasions, you need something a bit more fundamental: reassurance from the Lord that you are not forgotten. Once in a while, a hug from God is all you really want. On this day, Shirly and I both got a couple.