As National Fertility Awareness Week nears its conclusion, we’re pleased to be able to bring you this guest post from our friend Mark. His story comes very much from the messy middle of a journey with infertility…
Someone wise once said to me – and I paraphrase because it’s been a while – ‘We are all like jars of water, with a layer of mud lying at the bottom. When we get a knock, that resting dirt gets shaken up and makes a mess’.
This comes to me as I sit for my annual check up with my haematologist. Usually a fairly quick affair but I’ve noticed a lump I want her to check. Fairly sure it’s nothing but you never know. And I really do never know.
This comes after having just exchanged contracts to sell our house. Not move to a new one – that’s not sorted yet. Rentals: great. A jump into the unknown.
Seemed like a great idea at the time. We would move to a place a bit bigger. Or one that could become a bit bigger. Where we could adopt a sibling group, if we are allowed to adopt, when the embargo on family planning concludes in a year and a half. We have to both be cancer free for a certain number of years before we approach the lovely smiley lady from the adoption agency again. She had made it clear that couples in our ‘situation’ were more likely to be successful if we looked at sibling groups that are harder to place. That meant more bedrooms. So we’d get the house thing sorted in the meantime.
I should rewind. My wife and I have both had treatment for cancer – me, once and she, a few times. The result of incredible care from the heroic NHS has meant we are both alive, back at work, reasonably healthy and unable to have children. It’s a situation I never expected: I always thought our difficulties would stem from me over-spending or my wife over-working. But you never know.
So the check-up is shaking my jar. The house move, the cancer, the infertility. Mud – everywhere. A snow globe directed by J.J. Abrams. And it’s all I can do not to shout ‘It’s not fair!’ at the first person who looks like a smug dad. Or the ones who complain about parenthood… Or the ones who don’t take that job seriously… Or abuse that privilege…
But where does this deep bitterness get me? Carrying around repressed anger like a layer of sludge isn’t healthy.
I meet to pray with a friend every once in a while and he shared some thoughts he’d been mulling: Just follow Jesus. Strip away the bumpf and just follow Him. The people who did just that didn’t walk an easy life. They didn’t get things the way they wanted. They never knew.
But they did have a hope.
Now I don’t profess to be very successful at hope – but as I follow Jesus it seems to stick to me, with me. Hope pulls me out of the mire and drags me on into this unknown. But it’s more than just future-focused. It shines light on the dark areas of my past and I see how God has been with me. And when I let it, hope can brighten my today too. The muddied waters can be partially cleansed, filtered, restored.
Who knows where we’ll end up living. Who knows if we’ll be able to adopt. Who knows what the consultant is about to say about that diddy lump.
I have a hope that He does.