How does Your Garden Grow?

Black Hole, part 7

A year ago I could not have imagined this vista, it’s barren cliffs and wispy grey skies. The quiet is astounding. Though there are no clouds a storm is about to break, the kind with lightning flashing in the skies but no rain. Rain signals growth, triggers seeds to sprout and reach for sun. But there will be no wet drops pummeling the earth in this storm. Only the howling cry of a life not conceived.

It is time for my husband and I to talk about life without children. Just us, to have and to hold, in weakness and in strength. It’s a conversation we have been avoiding month by month. There’s always something else to worry about at work or home. We have plans to go away for a weekend, to our favorite city, and let go. We just might cry.

Life feels a bit surreal when the thing you thought would never come to pass ambles into view. It’s as though the world flattens, or constricts one’s depth of field. Imaginations are less full, slightly duller, though not so much as to draw a complete blank. There just always seems to be something amiss and, like those hidden images puzzles in Ranger Rick, it’s hard to know if you’ve circled everything. Meanwhile, others lives around yours take some very different paths and some wind out of view entirely. You can’t relate to much of what’s going on around you because stories revolve around children.

Twice I went to strangers for prayer. The first experience was confirmation that strangers can be untrustworthy when it comes to praying about infertility. The second left me humbled with gratitude. I suppose if nothing else, I should praise God for balance. What haunts me is that I hadn’t expected to hear a church leader (whom I’ve never met) pray over the crowd for God to fill us with life, particularly we who have been barren. I felt exposed yet somehow relieved when we were invited to receive prayer with others. That was six months ago, after two years of waiting, wondering.


There’s a garden shop near my work, and I remember thinking that if I don’t have to trail after small feet or drive anyone to soccer practice or attend any school plays, I would like to cultivate a garden. Of course, that was when I didn’t really take that threat seriously. Now, as the days lengthen along with the months and years, I find myself considering soil textures. Perhaps I could learn something new about God through seeds, death and soil.

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