I am not a blogger.
(Wow, the myriad of responses you folks are likely having.. “Well, duh!” Or, “Umm, this is a blog, right?”
My wife is a blogger. Good one, too.
She wrote this. Go read it. No, seriously, go read it; the rest of this won’t make sense otherwise.
I get a kick out of reading her blog in part because I get to see what leads up to the posts, usually. And as I’ve said before, she is incredibly kind to me in that she doesn’t show people the nasty, oafish, moron that I often am. [That would be because he isn’t.–ed.]
That’s my job, as you’ll see in the following:
I break my wife’s heart every time we find out we’re expecting, and it’s because of my lack of faith. Stay with me on this.
Here’s how it works: she finds out she’s pregnant. She tells me. I respond very, very badly.
Don’t misunderstand me. I have four going on five children, and I love them all dearly, I enjoy them being in my life, I’m proud of them, and I have not one single regret.
However, when she tells me, my first thought, God forgive me, is never, “Yay! Another one of these gorgeous little people, full of laughter and hugs, tears and ouchies, curiosity and questions, messes and mayhem, growth and surprise to brighten my life, grow my heart, hold my hand, and, one day, notice I’m gone.” I wish that were my first response; it is most certainly my last.
However, I am ashamed to admit, my first response has always been, “But what if…”
That trailing ellipsis contains all of my fear, my self doubt, and my lack of faith. All of it comes to a head at lightening speed, and the thing I can’t bring myself to say, except here, this one time, is “.. what if I fail them, the way my father failed me?”
The man who fathered me left when I was an infant. He was not a good person then, and his actions, despite my never even knowing him, have sent my life in the wrong direction so many times. I blamed myself for never having known him, and I allowed that guilt to seep into my life so deeply that I never believed I was able to succeed, and I fulfilled my own prophecy through inaction, laziness, regret. It destroyed my educational career, and I feel that it is purely the grace of a loving God that has put me into the position I’m in today.
My fear and doubt culminate in that one moment, and as I spin into scenarios of my children huddled around a trashcan fire, homeless and hungry because I have again failed myself, failed them, I see her face fall because she thinks that it’s her; that I don’t want another child, don’t want another life to shepherd, and at that moment, I’m incapable of telling her that I feel that this life she’s growing is the best thing I think we can do for this world; that we can make the world better by filling it with as good a group of people as we can shape; that I love her and this new life, and that I am proud of her.
I want to tell her these things, but all I can do is frown as that fear, that lack of faith in the love our God has for us grips me.
In my better moments, I can’t help but know better; didn’t I just tell you that it was God who put me where I am? That God that has intervened over and over again in my life; our lives, and made his patience and mercy known to us, over and over again? I am truly blessed, both in what I’ve been given, and how clearly He has shown his hand. Someday I’ll tell you about it.
Yet in this, I still struggle. And that brings me, finally around to how this has even the first thing to do with her post.
We have talked about this before, she and I. (You would kind of expect that, wouldn’t you? Despite random strangers comments to the contrary, I do know what causes these little people..)
I have tried to sit the fence; saying that God blessed us to be fruitful and multiply, sure, but did not say, “.. multiply as often as possible.” I wanted to believe that, you see, so that I could stop breaking her heart, stop being afraid, stop accepting the incredible blessing that God has seen fit to give me.
Silly, isn’t it?
Pray for me, folks. Let me remember, the next time she comes to me (if she does) with her eyes downcast, afraid of what I’m about to say, help me remember that in raising this new life, I will model the behavior of my Father, not my father, and that it is through his providence that my family will flourish, not mine. If I can do that, then at that one crucial, irretrievable moment, I can show her how much joy she and He give me.
I can’t tell you how much pain I’ve seen in the faces of some of the men I respect most in my life, who have come to me, tears in their eyes, and told tell me of the regret they feel for having mutilated themselves (sorry, proper name is vasectomy), and how much they wish they could undo it. Or about couples I have known, good, loving people, who could not have children of their own, and how much that inability cost them. I can’t tell you these things, and if you can’t understand them, can’t empathize, then I pray that you never do.
Do I really have to tell you what side of the fence I’m on?
This post is linked up at Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling’s Big Family Friday.