Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12th

I feel like I have just gotten off a wild carousel ride. I'm still in my pajamas, wandering around the house, listening to the crickets call. They hide in the striped morning shadows and sing.

Everything is wet outside, because we've had storm after storm after storm move through. Today there's hardly a cloud in the sky and by afternoon, it will be hot and steamy outside.

Let's see.

So, on Friday we met our home study agent at the house. When we were chatting, she learned we were heading up to a resort north of Atlanta and excitedly explained that she lived twenty minutes away from there.

If, she explained, we could finish up our questionnaires, we could meet her at her house and do the final visit there, thus saving time and money.

We were leaving on Sunday morning. So, on Saturday night we sat down and forced ourselves to finish up the paperwork.

That particular piece of paperwork is about six pages long on its own, and asks every question imaginable about who you are and what went into making you who you are.

It's exhausting. When I finished it, I had a pounding headache and put myself to bed, after packing for the trip.

In the morning, we drove up through Atlanta in the rain. Our GPS took us on torturous little side routes like pop quizzes on urban driving-

Surprise! Can you handle getting off, and then right back on, this particular interstate highway in the middle of the city in the rain?

Oh really? How about this one?

How about a toll road when you have no change? Ha! Haha!

That sort of thing just makes Keith angry and when he gets angry, he gets even more determined to crush all resistance and accomplish his mission in the face of overwhelming odds. He is an army of one.

So that GPS was playing with the wrong person, I tell you what. It didn't stand a chance.

 We found our way to her house, which was gorgeous, huge and frankly, intimidating. There's nothing quite like going up to what amounts to a stranger's gorgeous family home, to talk with her about how your infertility makes you feel, what your childhood was like and why your current marriage won't end in divorce.

It made me feel small, insignificant and second rate. I felt scattered, ragged around the edges and of patch work quality.

She interviewed me first. We talked for over an hour. I couldn't tell if I was pathetic or intimidating. I know those are strange choices, but I suppose it depends on what part of my story one is looking at: the before or the after.

I initially present as a meek woman. I frequently feel powerless. On the other hand, I get the impression that I have an overwhelming personality.

My life has taken me through experiences most people don't wish even to imagine- several of them, in fact. I think, in some ways, I'm a jarring person to know.

Anyway, that was the impression that I received from her. Sometimes she pitied me, sometimes she was afraid of me. Sometimes she wanted me to get to the point, already.

She ended up talking a great deal about herself, possibly because I have a certain quality of listening, one that is respectful, curious and, as much as consciously possible, without judgement.

So she brought up Jesus. I don't think she meant to. She was talking about imparting religious and ethical values to children.

She said that she was just learning how to have a personal relationship with God, because she had been raised in a rigid religious setting that didn't allow for it, but that her children were having a different and better experience in the church they attend now.

As soon as she started talking about this, I could feel my face light up. So did hers; her face was full of light. She shyly pointed upward and talked about how she is both learning for herself and teaching her children that Jesus is up in heaven, and that He has done good things for us, and that we should do good things for Him.

Two things struck me, immediately. One was the sympathetic joy and love for Jesus that I feel in the presence of anyone that knows Him and second, was that her understanding of Him was still so under girded by the restrictions of religious guilt.

I didn't have a chance to respond, because I could see that she had surprised herself by saying that. She quickly switched the subject, pulling the discussion back to more neutral, impersonal ground.

I didn't feel any compulsion to force the subject back to Jesus; I had no doubt that He would continue leading her and her family into the knowledge of who He is. It was a pleasure just having Him come up in the conversation.

I grow increasingly convinced that what is most useful to others is not our personal solutions, but to provide a quiet, listening space where they can actually hear themselves.

All in all, it was an interesting interview. It's taken me several days to process everything that came up for me during it. Keith's was much shorter.

There was no question that she felt we would be excellent parents. I felt joyfully released as we drove further on down the road to the resort.

Now, all we have left to do is finish up all the paperwork odds and ends, and we will hopefully have a completed homestudy in a month or so.