I told my wife yesterday that if I didn’t already believe in God, I would at least believe in the existence of a higher power, maybe even a sinister deity, simply on the basis of when the infertility bug has hit us. We’ve been walloped with far too many infertility woes, which have inconveniently interrupted critical life events with pintpoint accuracy. At least for me, statistically improbability leaves bad luck in the lurch and forces me wrestle with the gods of fate, or in my case, the God of the Bible.
Yesterday morning God provided me with yet another inconvenient infertility hiccup that makes me even more of a believer.
I am a minister, and perhaps one of my most important responsibilities is to give a Sunday morning sermon. Even though we’ve been in Madrid almost 3 years, my Spanish lags behind a bit, and so I’ve only just recently launched out with the preaching piece to my ministry. However, now that I am settling in, my evaluations in the first few messages will dictate future responsibilities. In other words, this sermon was important. The last thing I needed was, well, exactly what happened.
So yesterday morning I was set to give the homily at 11:45. At 11:30, my wife scoots by on the way to the restroom. Five minutes later, she slips back in front of me into her seat, shifting her head to the side so as to avoid eye contact. When I finally curl around her bangs and gaze a half second in her eyes, I know instantaneously what’s happened. “Oh God, her period started. This is way too early!” Early as it was, I know how to read my wife and I knew that I was right.
So two minutes before I step up to a podium in an attempt out a rousing message on human depravity, I am expending all emotional energy on trying to ease my own sadness and my poor wife’s disappointment over failed embryo transfer #3. Unfortunately, I know my sermon isn’t going to be good enough to distract either of us from this.
The sad thing is my consolation doesn’t mean that much right now anyway. This is our third and possibly final embryo transfer, because the funds for more transfers are about as depleted as our hopes.
But alas, the show must go on; just like it had to go on when our first miscarriage overlapped with my graduation from graduate school; just like it had to when our second miscarriage blindsided us the very day we were appointed by the church to come to Spain; just like it had to go on when our third miscarriage arrived on the heels of sacrificing everything, saying goodbye to friends and family, and landing in Spain (two weeks in!); just like it had to go on when our fourth miscarriage occurred in the throws of culture shock and sucked the final glimmer of hope from my wife’s eyes for ever having biological children; just like it had to go on when the first two failed embryo transfers caused us to age 5 years in a six month span.
Instead of believing in a sinister god or some other foolishness, I’d prefer to just ask the real God a few questions right now. For example,
“What profit is there in taking my hopes and dreams,
in my descending into the depths of emotional pain?
Can an absolutely devastated man and woman really praise you?
Can they declare your loyalty?”
I give credit to David for helping me formulate this particular query. I figure since God is big enough to choreograph this living hell that my wife and I like to call infertility, He’s big enough to take in the question.