TRAGIC JOY

 

Yesterday I saw a photo of my wife just after she had undergone surgery. She was leaning on my shoulder as I helped her walk back from the bathroom to her hospital bed. I leaned into the photo. She was grimacing in excruciating pain.

As I stared at the image, all the emotions of her recent surgery rushed back to me. They struck me. They caught me off guard and I began to weep.

I remember waiting for 13 hours while she was in the operating room. It was much longer than Doctor Tan said it would be. Fear gripped me.

“Is she okay?”
“Why is it taking so long?”
“Is she still alive?”

I was transported 5 months back in time. Everything was intensely crystal. I time traveled to that exact moment. I smelled that pungent hospital scent. I heard echoes of nurses in the hallway outside her hospital room.

Here I was, staring at the photo, while my wife sat next to me. “It’s okay now,” she whispered. I was whisked back to the present moment. “I’m okay now.”

But she was more than okay. She was 3 months pregnant with the child we had prayed and waited for for more than 8 years. For nearly a decade she had been unable to conceive because of her crippling endometriosis. I looked at her belly. A bump was growing. A new life was being formed. A miracle was happening right before my eyes. Life had taken a sudden turn for the better.

The tragedy of years of infertility was fading away.

“You have stage 4 endometriosis,” they said.
“You will never have a child,” they said.
“Your wife’s surgery is potentially fatal,” they reminded me.

I clearly remembered the details of the accumulation of time, but joy began to replace tragedy. A smile curled around my lips as tears streaked down my cheeks.

“It’s okay now,” she whispered, and I kissed her belly.

I thought of the bigness of God. I was amazed and confused at how he sees across the span of time.

I thought, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Peace filled my heart. The sense of tragedy did not sting as much as it had before.

The seed was quiet for a long time, buried and unnoticed. It died. But then the kernel split, and a green stem burst out. It found its way to the surface of the earth, and pushed its way through the crust. It closed its tiny eyes and bathed in the sunlight.

Time stopped.
Or maybe time began then.
Or maybe time was irrelevant.

Life is a mix of tragedy and joy. Every good story needs both parts.

It is the ebb and flow.
It is the fall and rise.
It is the climactic value we so appreciate about a good story.

Like when my mother cried as I left home to become a missionary to China.
Like the long river walk that I took when I found out my parents were getting divorced.
Like when our truck almost slipped off the cliff on our mission trip to the China/Myanmar border.
Like when the monthly boxes of failed pregnancy tests were strewn on the garbage cans of our memories.

Until that last pregnancy test, when 2 beautiful red bars appeared out of nowhere!

I pray that in the midst of the tragic moments, I would be able to see the beauty of every season. I pray that I would believe a little more that God’s got the whole world in his hands, and he knows what’s best for me.

After all, my wife’s miraculous pregnancy—and our little bundle of joy on the way—would not be the incredible narrative that it is without the backstory.

Find out what happens next at Everything Is New.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

10 Comments

  1. In the movie “Shadowlands” with Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis, his wife Joy says (in preparation for her future death by cancer) something akin to “the pain then is part of the joy now.” It gave me chills to realize the same line pertained to you, but with the storyline reversed, as you look back on the pain of years past and prepare to welcome your miracle child. Rich blessings to you, my friends, as you heal from the tragedy, and revel in the joy of anticipation.

    Reply
  2. Naomi

     /  06/21/2012

    Very well written! 🙂 we pray with you and share your joy. God bless you and Ate Lorna! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Thank you! I really need to see The Shadowlands. Not sure if I ever have.

    Reply
  4. I read this link through my sister’s facebook page. (Stephanie Sawyer). I too,have been blessed by grief. Many may not understand what that means at this moment, but eventually everyone is given the opportunity to experience deep grief. When you learn to embrace the deep and life changing lessons that grief brings with it, you find that this embrace comes with an incredible gift from God… the gift of understanding TRUE JOY through God’s Grace. Our moments of triumph and victory through God’s grace, after a moment of tragedy, are brighter and more magnificent & are valued through new eyes that have glimpsed the Eternal. Thank you for sharing this moment from your life. Through God’s grace we can all “re:invent memories” of pain & sorrow. As we learn these amazing lessons by glimpsing the Eternal, we find that we too can “count it all joy…” We also realize the timeless, living, breathing, truthfulness of the Word of God; we find that in our own lives “there is season for everything.” May God continue to bless you, your wife and your now growing family.

    Reply
  5. Wow! God is so good! I know this because He has brought us all through such sad circumstances. My birth Mom passed away while having me; and my Dad passed away in the Vietnam War. I was then an orphan. Praise God! I was adopted by a wonderful, Christian, American family and brought to the US by Christian missionaries! I have had many people pass away in my life; however I can still see the sunshine every day! I am now married w/ an adorable son! Thank you, God! God’s blessings to you and yours always! 🙂

    Reply
    • Your story is amazing P.J. Thanks for sharing. Yes, all the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came to be. Exciting to see each others’ stories unfold…

      Reply
  1. david + lorna bundle of joy » Nez Cruz
  2. NINE YEARS AND COUNTING « re:INVENTING MEMORIES
  3. EVERYTHING IS NEW « re:INVENTING MEMORIES
  4. Everything Is New | David Joannes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: