No matter how many times I have tried to explain this, the words haven’t come out of my mouth or onto screen on the same plane as my feelings. Something tells me to leave it alone. Something else–something akin to Yoda’s “Force” tells me to forge ahead.
Today I’m listening to Yoda.
If you heard President Dieter F. Uchtdorf ‘s talk, Forget Me Not at the General Relief Society meeting, you understand how much I love that man! After he finished speaking I wished every woman on the planet could hear his funny and sweet words. But it was his segment on Willy Wonka’s hidden prize of the Golden Ticket that motivates this post. Specifically this statement,
“People all over the world desperately yearn to find a Golden Ticket. Some feel that their entire future happiness depends on whether or not a Golden Ticket falls into their hands. In their anxiousness, people tend to forget the simple joy they used to find in a candy bar. The candy bar becomes a useless disappointment if it does not contain a Golden Ticket.”
Having children is my Golden Ticket.
During the 13 years since infertility and Endometriosis were diagnosed, I have asked many questions: How do I have faith like Hannah and the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment? Where is Heavenly Father in my life? What is the purpose of my life if not to be a mother? Where do I fit in in this family dominant culture? Is this really what I signed up for? And, how can I be happy with this life?
All of the answers came in their own time. It’s interesting though, that I was still getting answers to those questions after I learned how to enjoy the candy bar of life. It was at the age of 25 when my pain was most acute. It had a lot to do with comparing my “weaknesses to others’ strengths” (Pres. Uchtdorf, see above talk) and feeling bitter at times.
Around that time I was attuned to mothers who whined about their kids, or pregnant women who complained about being sick, or pregnant teenagers doing stupid things to their bodies. There was a revolving door of question after question about mine and my husband’s efforts to conceive. I cringed at Mother’s Day sacrament meeting talks. When someone in Fast and Testimony Meeting would stand after their baby’s Priesthood blessing and say, “I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father found me worthy to be a parent”, I felt sorry for their ignorance. And, as I held babies, feeling the sweet pureness of their spirits, I would sometimes shed a tear in an unobserved corner and wonder if their parents really understood the fullness of such a blessing in their lives.
The same questions came in a whole different package when I found myself divorced at age 30. Infertility wasn’t the main factor of divorce between me and my ex-husband, but it played a large role to that end. That’s why sometime afterward I started feeling ruled by the fear of not getting a second chance at eternal marriage and having children. So I asked for a priesthood blessing from my home teacher. Through that blessing, the Lord promised me that I would be healed. As my home teacher and his companion were about to leave my apartment, the companion said to me, “How will you know when you are healed?” I thought that was such a silly question. I told him, “Well, I’ll just know…because…I’ll be healed.” I held back the “duh!”
As time went on and I met My Al, felt his love and faith and acceptance, my expectation of a miracle from my own body was renewed. So when I began to get sick again with Endometriosis, I really questioned my Heavenly Father about that priesthood blessing. I thought I was supposed to be healed! Then one day, while reading the scriptures, the powerful thought came to me: It isn’t my body that will be healed; it’s my heart!
It was only then that I realized– the 25 year old in me was still expecting that Golden Ticket.
My body was meant to be a tool in helping me to trust in the atonement of Jesus Christ. This meant I had to really be okay with not having children from my own womb and let go of any bitterness, no matter how slight. Even after all the crummy medical stuff and all that crummy part about getting confused with another couple at the adoption agency and all that crummy divorce stuff, I was still holding on to something that wasn’t meant to be. I am–as are all the women like me–loved by a Heavenly Father just as much as all those teens, and all those “worthy” parents, and all those ‘never been divorced’ people, and all those fertile people are. I don’t yet have a perfected faith in the Lord, but in this one thing, I feel whole.
It’s been over a year since this blessing of healing was fulfilled and I have felt perfectly content about a life without children. Uh, you might say I was getting too comfortable with it because the other day, Yoda showed up again (of course I mean the wonderful and wise Holy Spirit; I’ve always loved that metahpor). He had a new kind of pep talk about a new kind of miracle. With that pesky Golden Ticket out of the way there was no arguing with Him. He assured me and My Al that it’s okay that we have no idea how adoption will come about while we are here in Germany, but we know it’s time to put ourselves on the trail.
In the mean time, I will do my best to savor this candy bar. It was expensive.