I'm a big fan of Rob Bell's work. I went to an event of his called "How to be Here" this past spring and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life (forgive me if I have told this story before, I need to hear it from myself today). Not because I got to meet this amazing person whom I admire and respect, though that was cool, but because I had the courage to speak in front of this group of 100+ strangers and tell my story. Granted, it was among half sobs, and with nerves and adrenaline coursing through my body. I remember saying: "After having gone through years of failed treatment, my husband and I have decided to live childless. And we are ok with that decision. But [in your book] you are talking about how to manage your energy when you have a lot going on, but what I am struggling with is what to do with all the energy I have and no where to put it. I was going to be a mom, and now we have this ... space... and I am terrified of it, and don't know what to do with it."
I remember him complimenting my purple hair, and then telling me he was sorry. He also said, I have this prayer that I say when I feel lost and in need of guidance, I say "Show Me." That's it, that's the prayer. And then he looked at me, his eyes filled with compassion and said "You will have MANY 'children.'"
Afterward during the break and for the rest of the event, I was approached by many people, older couples, and women who went through a similar situation and decided to live childless. I remember the older woman with tears brimming in her eyes that took my hands and said "me too." And I hugged her and said thank you. And the older gentleman who told me he and his wife have lived childless for 40 years after failed treatments and they got on with their lives and they are happy. He said "you can be happy." I believe him.
I recently been hearing in my head Rob Bell's sentence "You will have many 'children.'" I put it in quotations because I know that he didn't mean literal children, he's not a prophet that is foreseeing the future, or an angel of the Lord making me a promise. I know he means projects and people that I will pour love over and love as my own. But until recently I think I have been feeling like it HAS to be children. Since I don't have my own, and I wanted my own for so long, my responsibility is to devote my extra energy in other children, children in need. But that's the funny thing about these paths that the Lord has made for us, we tend to think that we know what the Lord wants us to do, instead of listening to what he really wants us to do. A lot of times what I think is the Lord's demands of me, are really society's pressure on my situation. I know today that it's not. How I know, I'm not sure, it's one of those trans-rational things in my subconscience or what have you that tell me that I am projecting my own guilt and feeling the pressure of society as a childless woman and thinking that I still have a responsibility to children in need. Perhaps one day I will do something to help those children, but that is not quite what I am feeling is my purpose. I can't force myself to want to open an orphanage, or foster children, or go into teaching to fill the void my childlessness has left me. It's just not there.
My passion continues to lie in patient care, in utilizing science for the betterment of medicine, making sure the right medicine gets to the right people, that the right information gets to the right patients.
Someone I love is imminently dying of cancer right now, because we haven't figured out how to cure her cancer, how to stop it from spreading....
"My children" may not be children that I care for directly... they may be young and old, and everything in between. People's lives that I want to help make better by throwing in all my love and passion into my belief in science and humanity. That is what rings true in my heart today.