have you ever seen one of those cars that looks like it got hit in a bumper sticker drive by? they are typically older cars that haven't been washed in while, you wonder how the driver can even see out of the rear window, and most of the time the bumper stickers are all in one general theme such as environmental, social, or jesusical. on my way to work last week i saw one such vehicle, plastered in political bumper stickers. most of them were oversimplified propaganda, which i have found most bumper stickers tend to be, but one of them caught my eye. it read: "vote your hopes, not your fears."
as a deeply ingrained cynic, it is natural for me to distance myself from hope, always quick to see the glass as half empty, even if it is mostly full. it is a defense mechanism to be sure, but sometimes it messes with things, not the least of which my heart, aching to believe in the good, but at the same time afraid of being disappointed and hurt.
for some reason, it has been far easier for me to avoid my cynicism and fears during annie's pregnancy, generally believing that somehow things are going to be all right. part of me wonders if i am still in the denial phase of the grieving process, but the larger part of me realizes that i can't even think about worst case right now, or else i won't even be able to function.
last friday we went to the doctor to check on isaac's growth, to further rule out the possibility of one of those nasty chromosomal issues. on the upside, he is a hefty two and a half pounds already, and we got to spend more time with ann, the woman who was so supportive when we first found out about the palate possibility. on the other hand, annie's amniotic fluid level is "on the upper end of normal". there are several possible explanations:
- it may be, and as far as i am concerned is, nothing. just a normal part of pregnancy, of the rhythm she is on.
- it may be gestational diabetes. while they cannot explain it, sometimes pregnant women get diabetes, even if they do not normally have it. elevated fluid levels are sometimes associated with this diagnosis.
- it may be related to his cleft, as in one of the many unknown conditions that cannot be conclusively determined using sonograms. not likely, but even the possibility is a little scary.
in the mean time, annie was already scheduled to take her diabetes test the next morning, and i, like a supportive husband, went to mexico. i honestly thought about not going, i offered to stay, but she wanted me to go. i felt like to stay would have been living my fears, and 350 of my closest friends and i were headed down to tijuana to build houses, an activity i had really enjoyed the year before.
the weekend was great, fatiguing but great, yet it proved harder to be away from annie than i had thought it would be. my prayers and thoughts were with her often, and i was so grateful for the fact that we are surrounded by so many family and friends. saturday night around a campfire i was close to tears as i told my brother derek that although i know i can never keep isaac safe enough, it is hard to let go of the desire for control.
monday afternoon as we officially handed the new house over the the family, my friend drew read a verse from romans that i had heard many times before in english. it was the theme verse for the weekend, about how suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character and character, hope. slightly appropriate for our current situation both personally and corporately.
hearing it in spanish, the next phrase struck me hard "...esperanza no nos defrauda...(hope does not defraud us)."
hope does not defraud us. hope does not shortchange us. hope does not cheat us. hope does not rip us off. i tried to be careful not to get roofing tar on my face as i wiped the tears that had suddenly appeared.
something so familiar had become new simply hearing it in another language. it was like a cover song which adds to your appreciation of the original, b/c hearing the same song in a different voice brings new understanding, emphasis and meaning, in the same way stories become more magical, and jokes (usually) become funnier with every retelling.
i hesitate to assign too much meaning to our particular situation b/c i feel like it would be at least slightly manipulative and premature, but i am grateful to have a new picture of hope, and another chance to live into the expanded understanding.