“Man plans and God laughs.”
That was what a mentor of mine once said to me. I remember being a little surprised by his statement because he was an atheist, but I agreed that in some ways he did have a point. We plan and plan and plan our lives but we forget that nothing is guaranteed, not even tomorrow.
This week, I’ve learned all too well what my mentor meant - though I doubt that God is as sadistic as the adage implies. If anything, I think it’s more of a chuckle than thunderous amusement.
When I was very young, an endocrinologist told me that I would have to have a baby very young if I ever wanted to be a mother. I couldn’t have been much more than 10 years old and my parents had taken me to see him only because I was very short for my age – something I never really grew out of, no pun intended. It was an irresponsible statement to make to someone so young and impressionable and not one I fully understand even to this day. Needless to say, I grew up with the irrational fear that I’d never be able to have children. It was almost as though my fears spoke it into being true.
After much speculation and several years of treatment for endometriosis - something the vast array of doctors I saw were not even positive I had, I decided I’d had enough. There was no real evidence then that suggested that what that callous physician had said would come true. Yet, that (combined with large doses of hormones I received and several unrelated surgeries on my spine I underwent) did not stop me from tumbling into a pit of depression so deep that I’d only recently managed to climb out of. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust God. It was that I didn’t understand why His reasoning would be so contrary to what I deemed, “common sense.” I’ve always believed that I would make a great mother…
“My daddy is going to marry N and they’re going to have a baby and I’m going to have a sister,” V announced to a perfect stranger at the bus stop a week or so ago. I looked down at her and pressed my lips together and nodded. “Or a brotherrrr,” she sighed.
She couldn’t have known why my face had changed the way it did. She couldn’t have suspected that I had just found out days earlier that evidence had finally surfaced to support the case the vast array of doctors had made. For three weeks after the tests (which the technician clued me in to without the doctor present), I was filled with fear that everything I thought I’d overcome was coming back to haunt me. But the doctor never called to give me the results. No news is always good news, I reasoned. Finally, I called and scheduled an appointment, determined to hear an explanation of the results from someone authorized to tell me. That appointment was this morning.
The whole train ride, I felt really proud of myself for brushing off my fears. The doctor would have called if something was wrong. The technician must have misinterpreted what she saw. I was going to have a beautiful family with M and V would be thrilled. God wasn’t really going to allow this to happen to me after everything that’s happened and I had been foolish to worry. That was the lesson I was going to learn.
I guess that’s why I was surprised when the doctor confirmed my wildest fears and left me in an even more certain limbo than I’d ever been before. Although she officially diagnosed me, she explained that it would be years before I’d be able to have the necessary surgeries to determine whether or not I’d be able to have children. I’d have to be married and trying to get pregnant for at least a year before the insurance would pay for it, she explained - noting that I was just starting law school in a month and a half and explaining that given that, it would be at least 4 years before I’d be eligible for the necessary tests. That would leave me a year away from 30 before I’d even have certainty – and who’s to say I ever will? I am grateful my faith is strong.
With all the recent planning for my future: my career, my wedding, my life, I had forgotten that no matter how much control I think I have, some things are out of reach and nothing is guaranteed. Some things have to be left up to God. And while there is comfort in that, there is still fear. I don’t want to become bitter or resentful. I don't want to be angry at God. In this case, it seems that what I want is beside the point.
“My times are in Your hands…”