A Longing Fulfilled Is the Tree of Life

PraiseGod-300x225I read a poem titled Dreaming by Barbara Crowe on a blog I discovered today. I had to share because it reminded me of the hope my husband and I felt as we were planning our little family. We would talk late into the night about the children we would have someday. What would we name them? What would they look like? What traits would they have? It was our favorite topic of conversation.

We were so full of hope only to be continually let down. After a year of trying on our own we sought help. We went through dozens of unsuccessful fertility treatments and were finally left with the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.” There was no medical reason we could not have children. We were heartbroken.

There were so many people in this world that didn’t want to be parents and yet had no difficulty conceiving. There were also many who didn’t deserve to be parents, neglecting, abusing, or even worse, killing the sweet little life that was entrusted to them. We wanted children. We would be loving parents. We would never harm them. We would give them a wonderful life. Why couldn’t God see that?

Despondent, we gave up and resigned ourselves to a life without children. Six months later I became pregnant without the assistance of fertility medicine. We had a little boy and I will never forget the moment they placed him on my chest. His lips were so red they appeared to be stained with lipstick. A milky white substance covered his body and his dark hair was matted against his head. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

“If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in this frame.”

He was a fairy tale come true. He was, and still is, my perfect little boy.

The words written on a card from a friend summed up my feelings perfectly. I believe it’s a Japanese proverb and the words have stayed with me since:

“Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.”

A year later, we wanted to give him a sibling but suffered the same agonizing process as we had before. Years of fertility treatments with no results. Presented with the option of more aggressive treatments, we opted instead to be thankful for the blessing of the one child we had. Nine months later my daughter was born.

She wasn’t the little “Snow White” I expected. She was a bluish-grey and my heart hammered in my chest as I said, “Something’s wrong with her!”

I held my breath and prayed for her life as they whisked her to a table and cleared her lungs. When she was able to breathe on her own I finally exhaled.

The extended family in the waiting room was anxious to hear the gender of the baby, but my husband just shook his head and brought my son in the room instead. He was four and a half years old at the time. We had talked about giving him a baby brother or sister since he was old enough to understand the words. It hit me then, that he’d waited most of his life for this moment. He had spent the last nine months watching my belly grow with amazement, talking to it, singing to it, and rubbing it affectionately. He had wanted a baby brother…until just two weeks before. He changed his mind. He wanted a baby sister instead.

He stood next to her bed and my husband said, “Meet your baby sister.” He looked up at my husband and grinned. Then he hesitantly put his hand toward her to touch her. In that instant she reached up and grabbed his little finger. Newborn babies aren’t supposed to be able to do that are they? It was a sign that this moment was extraordinary. My son caught his breath, turned to look at me and said, “Oh Mama, I love our little baby so much!”

I was overwhelmed with emotion, as I am now, retelling this story. I was a witness as my son experienced love at first sight and I said, “I know exactly how you feel, Buddy.”

Both times my husband and I tried to take matters into our own hands, to control the creation of life, only to be thwarted again and again and again. It turns out that some things cannot be planned or rushed. They happen in their own time and only with hindsight will you understand why. It took over three years of trying for both of my children to be born and it turns out that God needed all that time just to make them. They are that special. They love to hear that, by the way 🙂

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15 thoughts on “A Longing Fulfilled Is the Tree of Life”

  1. Such a beautiful story, Melissa! It made me cry just thinking about all you went through. But now you have your beautiful children and you know what a blessing they are. Every day with our children is miraculous in itself. Every parent in the world should consider themselves blessed beyond belief. No doubt that I do.

    1. Thank you. Interesting that you used the word patience. I’ve said that God speaks to me in bumper stickers (LOL) and this is one of the responses I received 🙂

  2. Thanks Andrea. It’s said that certain people come into your life for a reason and I am ALWAYS reminded of that when I think of you. You helped me through some really tough times and I’m so thankful for that!

    1. I miss you friend. While poking around your site, I thought of all the happy times, the struggles, laughs and trials. One of the times that came to my mind first was the day you came into my office and said “they are going to fire me today want to go to lunch?” We went to lunch where the “secret” meeting was going on. The looks on the VP and CEO’s faces were priceless. Laughable. Also laughable was when my boss told me I was not to have lunch with you ever again because I didn’t know what was going on; but we would go to lunch everyday anyway! GOOD TIMES! I know at the time it didn’t seem like a good time, but looking back good prevailed over evil! I love it when that happens.

      1. Ha! I’d forgotten what a relaxed attitude I had about it. I guess in my mind if I was going to be fired, then I’d rather it be for doing the right thing than not.

        I remember that day and how fate put us there. I had no idea I was the topic of conversation until I saw their reaction. Then fate stepped in again when the parent company prevented the termination. It’s amazing how information can be twisted and the perceptions of people can be manipulated. That’s the real evil. The CEO thought I wanted his job which couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I was nowhere near qualified, nor did I want it. There were many times I didn’t want the VP Finance/CFO title either. It was that position which ultimately put me in an awkward situation. As the head of compliance I’m sure you recall the mantra of our business was always full disclosure, full disclosure! Why would we treat the parent company any differently?

        I do believe that the CEO finally came to understand/appreciate my actions or maybe regret what had happened. When CS acquired the company he was the one responsible for getting me my next job.

        And you, my friend, stuck by me through all of that, regardless of what others like your boss had told you. I’ll always be grateful for your loyalty and the courage it took to do that.

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