I freely admit I’m the type of person who perversely takes pride in not being offended. I love those Facebook posts that tell you to keep on scrolling if something bothers you. I genuinely enjoying hearing opinions and ideas that run contrary to my own and I have relationships with people whose values and lifestyles are dramatically different from mine. I hear people say things all the time that rub me wrong, and the awful little voice in my head (the voice I wish I could disown) wants to scream, “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!” But I do manage to swallow that and let those comments pass me by. We’re all adults here. We can all get along, right? It’s not that hard.
But I guess something always comes along that gets you. Eventually someone hits a nerve that’s personal enough to make you feel like you took a hot poker to the eye. It happened to me today, and I found myself thinking there should be a law against saying something so offensive.
Big news: I’m pregnant. It was a total shock, and honestly, I still feel like it’s a weird dream even though I’m 15 weeks now. Miranda and Evelyn are 14 and 7 respectively, and I’m 41. I thought I was long past the chapter in my life that included babies, unless it was future grand babies! I’m quite sure God knows all the other things that were already going on in my life, but I have repeatedly asked Him what He was thinking, because this is really bad timing. Nonetheless, I keep coming back to Psalm 127:3, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” I’m trying to quiet the “what ifs”, the worries and the why’s, and just dwell on that. Simple truth.
This morning I had a routine checkup at the OB. There are four doctors in the practice, and I saw a new one today. Everything has been going fine, and my blood pressure and the baby’s heartbeat are all exactly what they should be. But this doctor was very invested in enumerating every single possible risk factor associated with my age. She said you’re considered high risk at 35, but being over 40 makes me “elderly, practically in a group all by myself.”
Now just let that sink in. Isn’t that what every already nervous, expectant mother wants to hear?
Being pregnant, my brain is moving slowly, and it got stuck right there. She called me elderly…she called me elderly…I lost total track of what else she was saying, felt my hands crunching up the wax paper covering the exam table, watched her lips move but couldn’t hear her words.
But again, simple truth. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them…repay no one evil for evil…If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all,” Romans 12:14-18.
I waited – I assume I just kept breathing – and let it all pass. After a little while she was on to aspirin and preeclampsia, and a witty little anecdote about delivering her youngest child herself because she lived in a rural area (like me!) and no doctor could get to the hospital quickly enough.
I can’t say that I feel any better about the visit now than I did this morning. But I know that I can choose how I respond. So yes, I wanted and needed to write it down and get it out, but I do not have to dwell on it. I don’t have to repeat this story at a dinner party a year from now and I don’t have to tell my tale of woe whenever this doctor’s name comes up. I have a friend who likes her very much, and I don’t have to bring this up with her or try to convince her to change her opinion.
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” Philippians 4:8. Writing all of this down – sharing it with you all – is my way of keeping myself accountable to do that.
I have to choose to turn my eyes away from my perceived offense and toward the miracle of this unexpected new life and the adventure that’s already started.
I WILL CHOOSE to look past the imperfections, flaws, and screw ups of life to the beauty that is always, always there behind it. I will often fail, but I’ll keep trying.