Bryan and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary in May. And apart a few months at the very beginning of our marriage (when we used NFP to postpone a pregnancy), we've been open to life the entire time. We have never ever had a surprise pregnancy or even an occasion for me to buy a pregnancy test (I'm talking other than after embryo transfers). Things are just like clockwork for me.
And yet I still occasionally dream of one day getting a positive test.
Hope does not ebb and flow like it used too. I don't dissolve into a heap of tears with every cycle day one like I used to years ago. I'm not expecting us to get pregnant. A natural conception would truly be an act of God.
Regardless of how impossible that may seem to the human brain, my heart still has a place for hope. To be honest, my recent daydreaming kind of caught me off guard. I didn't expect to still yearn for what should be viewed as an impossible feat. It put me in a odd place, experiencing hope yet not feeling any bitterness or disappointment when cycle day one rolled around once again. It was, in a sense, a child-like hope.
I was sharing our "how we met" story with a woman at church. She had a good laugh at the origins of our relationship and pointed out how clearly God has had a plan set aside for us. Yes, so what if Bryan had planned on being a priest from when he was five until he was eighteen. God clearly had other plans for him and made those plans abundantly clear. Army life in all its trials and tribulations seems like a breeze compared to the unemployment and despair experienced early in our marriage. God set a path before us and made it abundantly clear. Isn't it funny how hindsight works?
My college class's tenth reunion is coming up and it's made me think. Is this where I expected myself to be? No, not really. I think the only thing that would not surprise twenty-one year old me is the identity of my spouse. And since we got married six days after graduation, that's kind of a gimme. Despite the differences between my dreams and my reality, I can clearly see the hand of God on me, on us. The heights of joy are only made more powerful by the preceding plummets of turmoil and stress and pain. Ultimately I wouldn't change anything.
"When we dictate interiorly the conditions of our happiness, our very dreams become an enemy. We assume that we have a right to have things go the way we planned and when they don't, we feel that life is cheating us: "I was looking forward to this so much, and now I feel let down."
"In such instances, I try to recall the title of C. S. Lewis' book, Surprised by Joy, and I try to let myself be surprised by joy. I think you'll find that the deepest and most beautiful moments in life won't necessarily be those you've planned, but those which are unexpectedly showered upon you like mysterious gifts." Alice von Hildebrand, By Love Refined