I’ve been relatively quiet when it comes to our struggles with conceiving. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because my struggle is quite different from Alaina’s struggle.
I grew up in a totally different world from Alaina. I grew up with a particular and specific belief, understanding that God is sovereign and He does what He wants regardless what I want and what I feel… that in the end, everything is ok and it is exactly how it should be. There are no accidents. God isn’t surprised. God is very much active, and sometimes his activity is deliberately nothing. So just go and live your life in faith trusting that God is in control. God blesses who He decides to bless, and He ignores when He wants because He is God. That’s the God we don’t like… the God that says no… and He sometimes says no for no apparent reason. He sometimes, seemingly, just leaves us hanging. But that’s the God I grew up knowing!
And then I had parents that loved me so much and they balanced my life. They took care of my every need, and gave me some of my wants, denying others. I remember my dad saying all the time…. “It’s ok son” over and over and over again no matter what the circumstances were. I wanted to go over Aunt T’s house, and they wouldn’t let me… “It’s ok son.” I hurt myself… “It’s ok son.” I get in trouble for lying or being disobedient… “It’s ok son.” He would give me the worst whooping of my life (it was always the worst whooping of my life) and when he finished… “It’s ok son.” Notice the same tone no matter what was going on… very still, loving, consistent, sometimes empathetic but never wavering; confident in words, thoughts, and deeds. I also need to point out that my mother was always the most loving, the most nurturing, and the most spoiling. I trusted that I could run to them even if they were upset with me. I mean… who else would I run to?
My parents took care of me, and they spoiled me some. But I also had to endure struggles… lots of struggles they could have easily handled but never took off my plate. I conquered some battles and I needed to be rescued from others. Growing up, my parents showed and taught me, by word and action, a picture of God’s character (wow… I just realized the profound gravity of that statement). Together, my parents showed me who God was.
Then at 12 years old, my dad passed away. As devastating of a moment that was, what is interesting to point out that while mourning the loss of my father, I never once questioned God. It NEVER crossed my mind. If you know me, you’d know that I’m not the super-spiritual kinda-guy who always “blesses God” with sunshine up my butt. So believe me when I say I never thought in a negative light about why God would allow my dad to die. You see, it was so engrained in ever-so-deliberate and subtle ways that no matter what I going through in life, “It’s ok.” Why? Because my parents showed me God… and it wasn’t even a fire and brimstone, read your bible everyday, preach and teach and speak only the Bible (a little over the top and unreal life to me). It was practical. It was in how they related to one another and thereby my brother and me. It was talking and showing love. It was speaking, sharing, and modeling God in action that spoke and sunk into my innermost being… that part you can’t fake when life tests you. And at 12 years old I knew it was ok, and it was ok because of who God has shown himself to be.
I to-this-day believe that to be true but I had no idea just how foreign that concept is to so many people. Is it really ok? I mean sure people say it but when the rubber meets the road, its not necessarily lived out. See, the question to me is what do we really believe…………….. about God, about life, about everything? I’m not discounting feelings and circumstances. I’m pointing out responses to communicate what we truly believe.
Alaina and I have been through plenty of trying times together. Although none have been more public than our fertility issues, the challenge I believe we face is how much do we trust God… and Alaina has been having this public conversation with us – myself and you who read her blog – for quite some time now.
Now before I go any further… I’d like to put out a disclaimer. I am not Alaina. I am not a woman. I am not tied to child birth like she is. I want kids, of course I do… but I don’t have a nurturing spirit about this issue. I believe Alaina is suppose to be the nurturer. But as for me when I think of kids, I think of hospital bills, extra food on the table, buying clothes every two weeks, a bigger house ($$$), a bigger car ($$$), no more vacation time for me and/or Alaina, baby sitters, someone waking me up at 7a on Saturday morning when I’m dog tired, college funds, extra work, extra cleaning, not getting any sleep at night, keeping this knuckle head out of jail, keeping my baby girl off the pole… my son- the Morehouse Man or my daddy’s girl- the Spelman Woman, etc (I could really go on forever). I think of what I have to do to provide for a family, not the cutesy stuff. Why? Because God made me to be the provider. I think of ALL the work. That’s what I’m suppose to think about. That is what’s real to me, and that’s how God made me/men… so back back… be easy.
So what is my struggle? It’s not me being scared or lazy about the aforementioned responsibilities. All of that is merely the reality of a path every father treads. Have you ever helplessly watched someone bare so much pain that it made you angry? Have you ever been so powerless to make things ok? How do you cope with not having control of a situation that everyone seems to have control of? See the truth of the matter is, Alaina and I are not divine. We can’t will a life into existence and life appears no matter how much Alaina naturally and legitimately desires to nurture life. There is only one giver and sustainer of life and it’s not us. Coping with THAT is a mutha….
My greatest struggle is getting us not to struggle because that struggle is a testament of what we REALLY believe. To me, we shouldn’t be struggling because we don’t give life. Do we really trust God with life? Do we trust Him enough to live FAITHFULLY no matter what our circumstances are? And the true answer is, no we don’t… but we are in the process of becoming.
Today is the 17th anniversary of my dad’s death. On this day, from the grave I can still hear my dad saying it’s ok. I have to choose to trust, just as I once so blindly did as a child… it’s ok. I have to believe that it’s not this pie in the sky, unrealistic, fairy tale, my grandmother’s “God is always on time,” kinda belief. But I’m trusting the Creator and sustainer of life to choose whatever and whenever….
Fatherhood is precious, but faithfulness is priceless. Thanks daddy for the reminder. Love you always… 9/14/94.
– Thomas “T.C.”