Friday, September 07, 2007

At the table

When Chowder and I first got engaged, I had a dream. In the dream, Chowder and I were sitting at a dinner table. He was at one end and I was at the other. A little boy was sitting in the chair next to me and then there were six empty chairs. I knew that the little boy was Skaterboy and that this was our family-to-be. It filled me with a great deal of excitement and joy. We didn't know how God planned to fill the chairs and we were open to his possibility. Even when I was going through years of infertility treatments, I never doubted that the chairs would be filled. I just doubted that they would be filled by children carried and birthed by me. In the dream, the absence of the children at the table never elicited feelings of panic, it was more this feeling like they were out playing or they were at school and just hadn't gotten home yet.

We are a family that sits down to the table regularly. We eat almost all of our lunches and dinners together at the table. But during our infertility struggles, dinner tables began to frustrate me. We had a table that sat six. And every night we would sit around it and I would look at those empty chairs and my heart would hurt. It got to the point after one of miscarriages that I had to move three of the chairs (3 miscarriages) down to the basement so that I wouldn't have the constant reminder. And then I just abandoned eating at the table all together.

As the years have gone by, the dream has visited me once every few months. Slowly the chairs have filled and the dream again filled me with peace and joy. My table that seats six is full and Ladybug hangs at one of the corners. But, last month the dream was different. For the first time, the quiet assurance of the dream was replaced by a feeling of dread. Instead of knowing that the two little ones would be along shortly, I knew deep in my heart that they were...missing. And I woke up feeling desperate and afraid.

I suddenly felt this need to get pregnant right away. I have to get these two little ones to the table before it is too late! I want to just get my table filled and then I can sit down to eat and my life can go on. It is completely irrational and impossible to explain to Chowder, so I just didn't say anything at all. Instead I pulled into myself and clung to the children and filled with resentment toward poor innocent Chowder who had no idea what was going on.

I went to our pastoral counselor's appointment alone that week and tried to explain as best as I could what was going on in me. And he asked the most important thing that could have been asked, "Why are you doubting that God will fulfill his plan for your family? Hasn't he filled five of the chairs already?"

*deep breath* Well, hasn't he? Hasn't he been faithful? I am such an Israelite...whining. After I have been freed from slavery, after a huge column of flame has led my way in the desert, after all my needs have been provided.

Still, I doubt.
Still, I nag.
Still, I want to take control myself and do it my way. You know, the right way.

And what then of all the dinners that I'm not enjoying because I'm consumed by this panic? What about the conversations and the sharing that go on at my table everyday?

It's time to trust. And time to be filled with peace and joy, again. God is faithful. I am the one who is not.


Jenni said...

Trust. What a concept.

The thing about pulling inward and feeling resentment towards Chowder was so true in my own life (only not towards Chowder; that would be just weird) that I'm afraid it made me giggle.