The Gifts We Didn't Ask For


Last Thursday morning found me shirt-up in the ultrasound chair, oohing and aahing over every adorable hand placement; Eric marveling right beside me.  Finally the moment of truth came:

It's a boy!

A boy.

Our third boy.  

It took about 24 hours of letting myself go through an uncomfortable and undesirable emotional process before I was able to truly rejoice over the news.  Even writing that sentence, I was tempted to begin it with, "I'm sorry to say".  But the truth is, I'm not sorry.  I am a human being with very real feelings and emotional experiences, and I refuse to believe any spiritual principle that says the repression or denial of those things is more beneficial to my baby than is the working through them in honesty.

So, shoving back old memories of being told that disappointment in gender could lead to a spirit of rejection in my child, I chose instead to remind myself of what I believe now:  that I want to be a whole person, that God wants me to be a whole person, that this child needs me to be a whole person, and that whole people allow themselves to work through their feelings.  

Peace came, of course it did, as I knew it would.  And I can now honestly say I'm getting excited about the very loud, very chaotic mental image that the prospect of life with three boys elicits.  I've already taken to calling them my wolf pack, and I imagine the phrase might stick.

As I waded through my puddle of emotions all day long, the words that kept running through my mind were, 

"we don't get to choose the gifts we're given".  

Sometimes it's like pulling teeth, trying to hear God's voice.  And sometimes it is so, so easy.

We don't get to choose the gifts we're given, any more than we get to choose our sufferings.  If we were given that power, we would never willingly choose the things that would truly change us, humble us, humanize us.  

Just as with suffering, we look at the gifts of others and we project ourselves onto their position.  Life must be so easy for them, having everything I want.  They don't even know how good they have it. Their burdens would be so much easier for me to shoulder than my own.  Their gifts are more desirable.

They have a girl and I don't.
       We wanted a boy with all our hearts.
I would give anything to have another child.
       I could have finally done xyz had I not gotten pregnant.
They are rich and never have to worry about how to pay the bills.
       I would give my bank account away if we could just have the marriage they have.
I can't handle my mother in law living with us.
       What I wouldn't give to have family close by.
Leaders get all of the accolades; I'm not a leader, so my contributions are ignored.
       Leadership is going to kill me. I wish I were wired differently.

On and on and on we go, round and round like an insane amusement park ride.  It's going to break down any second and the carni looks suspiciously like the guy from that one Wanted Ad, but we keep getting back on for more anyway.

It's not the things we plan or the gifts we ask for that turn out to be the most beautiful- it's the ones we didn't ask for.  If motherhood has taught me anything so far, it has been that.  And so, gladly, I open my hands and stretch out my heart for this little boy inside of me.  With eager arms and loving song I will prepare the way for him.  I will bid him come, come with the will of the Father in heaven, and be the good gift that he is destined to be.  I await you, little one, ready and willing to accept the gift I didn't ask for.  The one I know I need.

Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, 'what have you done with your life?' & though there are many moments I think I'll remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

(Brian Andreas, Storypeople)