Friday, October 07, 2005

Another Day, Another Doctor

Tracey's Lamentation

In the Previous Post, I commented about observations I made in the waiting room of the doctor's office.

The next day, I found my self at my Rheumatologist's office. I was there right on time, and was ushered back to an examination room withnin about 5-10 minutes. However, the wait in the exam room was about 45 minutes. There were no people to observe there, I was by myself. However I brought my trusty palm pilot with me to take notes of my visit with the doctor, and to help pass the time while I was waiting.

In my blog reading, I have learned how to use RSS feeds. Basically, you can subscribe to a blog, and when it is updated, the new posting is fed to your computer. From these RSS feeds I can copy and paste blog postings into a word document, and then load them on my palm pilot. That way, when I have a few minutes to spare, even if I am away from a computer, I can keep up with the blogs that I like to read.

One blog that I have been reading for nearly a year now is called Worship Naked. Its a funny name, but its author, Tracey, is an excellent writer. She has some classic stories that she has written over the last year. Some posts are downright hilarious, while others are more stirring and thoughtful.

Tracey is a Christian woman who is trying to live her life the best she can. Her greatest wish, for many years now, is to have a child of her own. Unfortunately, that blessing has not come to her and her husband, despite all of their prayers, the prayers of others, and medical treatments. Still she keeps her faith in God, and strives to do the best she can, even though the great longing of her heart remains yet unfulfilled.

The other day, Tracey was responding to a blogger's "meme". My dictionary defines meme as: "A cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes." In the blogging world, a meme is usually a list of questions one would answer about one's self. Then usually it is passed on, or "tagged" to several other their blogger friends for their response. Over time, memes tend to change over the generations, like the genetic model in the definition. Blogger memes are often times very entertaining. They also provide a way for people to share something about themselves with one another.

I was touched as I read the meme from Tracey's blog, this meme in particular asked what you were doing 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago, and so forth. The question about what was going on in your life 5 years ago was particularly poignant. She discussed some of the issues and feelings that she has had regarding the the struggles she has had with childlessness.

Here is an excerpt:

Five Years Ago:
Oh, five years ago. Must I remember? Looking back, the whole Y2K thing would have been preferable to the year that was for us.

Having undergone past fertility treatments, we began a new series, certain that these, after all, would work. They did not. Each month felt like a death that kept on dying. Hope and crushing, hope and crushing. I don't even know the person I was then. I felt utterly lost to myself. My family never spoke of it to me; to them, it was too shameful to mention, so they simply didn't. And the heavy, lingering sorrow that had stolen my hopes seemed to have taken my voice with it. I could not bring it up. I could not give voice to the shame, breathe out what was being carefully ignored. Its inexplicable, really, this dynamic. And its unhealthy, but its there. My Beloved and I were bereft and crazy and hopeless.

In the midst of these failed treatments, my sister got pregnant. She had two boys already and had always longed for a girl. So had I, secretly.

And ... a girl it was.

I remember the day my sister called to tell me the news. I heard her voice on the machine and somehow, I knew exactly why she was calling, knew exactly what she was going to say, and I could not bring myself to pick up the phone. I stood inches from it, with my hand dutifully out, but paused in midair. From where I was, far from her, I could see her joy; I could see it. The very air swirled pink and perfect with the news of a girl. And I, with my selfish sorrow and small heart, sunk to the floor and cried and cried, the ugly cry that no onebut God ever sees you cry.

Around this time, my longtime bachelor brother finally got engaged. There were echoing choruses of Hallelujah! all around at this news. Even I managed that one. My family fairly exploded with the sheer elation of it all. It was like six months of Christmas where every gift is perfect; six months of birthday parties with everyone you like and no one you don't.

But My Beloved and I still went, quietly, to our treatments. And still, quietly, they failed. I was breaking in two from the overwhelming weight of joy and sorrow.

One day that year, my dad called to invite me to lunch. We met at Marie Callendars because he likes Marie Callendars and when he's at Marie Callendars, he likes to order soup.
As we chitchatted about this and that, I was growing more and more nervous. He was working up to say something, I could tell, but I hadn't the faintest idea what it would be. Hes not the demonstrative type. Emotions are private, you see.

He cleared his throat several times, in that compulsive way he has. I knew then he was nervous, too. Finally, he looked at me with those dark, blue-grey eyes and said this:
I know your brother's and sister's happiness must be breaking your heart.

I couldn't breathe. I had ordered soup, too, in silent solidarity, and I saw my tears dropping onto its surface. Then with a choked voice Id never quite heard before, he whispered:
I'm so sorry, honey.

And I was gone. Tears streamed onto the table; heads around us turned. I was quiet, but I was just gone. My father, who had never, ever spoken to me about it, understood.
He understood.

And he had said all he could. I was no longer invisible; I was seen. I felt warm and alive and understood by someone I was sure did not, could not, understand.

I know they were just two sentences spoken softly over bowls of steaming soup, but they were among the best things my dad has ever said to me.
I was less broken for hearing them.

As I sat there, alone, in the examination room at the rheumatologist's office, I was greatly moved by Tracey's words. I have known some childless couples. In fact, I work with a man who with his wife, were unable to ever have children. He is about to retire in a few months. Being there alone, in the quiet, gave me the opportunity to really think and feel what she and her husband must be going through.

Even though I have known some childless couples in my life, I had never really seen their plight in quite the way that Tracey Expresses it. I couldn't help but offer a prayer in her behalf. I was greatly touched and moved by her story. You can read the rest of Tracey's meme answer here and here.

In each of the vignettes of people I have observed in the last two days, I was touched and moved in some way. Sometimes with good examples and inspiring people. Others moved me by the various circumstances and struggles they were facing in life. In each of their cases, I felt empathy toward them, and offered prayers in each of their behalf.

Even though I spent a lot of time waiting for doctors, and lab technicians, I ended up making good use of the time. In a very small way, I got to see insights into the lives of four people. I saw their struggles, and their pain.

How must the Lord feel, as he looks upon all of us, throughout the whole world. In each of our lives are struggles. They may be physical struggles, health challenges, difficulties of aging, or perhaps struggles with addiction. There are spiritual struggles too. We know God hears our prayers. Sometimes they are not answered in the way we would like them to be. We have to learn to trust in Him, and know that His will is what will be best for us -- even when we can't understand all the reasons why right now. As I felt compassion for these people, in my own small little heart, imagine the infinite love and compassion that the Lord feels for each one of us. The compassion that he has to the extent that he took upon himself all our pains and sorrows, all our sins and sicknesses -- all that he might know how to succor us in our times of pain and loneliness. And to open the pathway that we might be saved and live with him in the eternities, if we will follow Him.

Know that he is there, and that he loves us, and he wants to heal us. He will not abandon us. He is our Lord, our Savior, and our Kind, Wise Heavenly Friend.

1 comment:

worshipnaked said...

David, This post was lovely and thank you for the links and excerpt. It's true -- our small human compassion is only a sliver of God's divine compassion. It's mind-boggling and humbling, isn't it?