When I was trying to choose a word for 2022, I confess that anticipation didn’t make the list. It’s cousin, expectancy, did. (For the record, I ended up choosing aware and I’ll explain it another time.)
Anticipation (today’s prompt word) walks a little too closely with anxiety. To anticipate what’s coming next may feel thrilling, but it may also shift into dread.
I nixed expectancy for similar reasons. Expectancy sounded too much like expectation — and you and I both know that expectations from others can feel like a heavy thumb pressing down on us.
But, you know, I have been an expectant mother nine times over (if you count my one miscarriage) and that kind of expectancy is pretty wonderful. Each time, though, I remember in the early days holding the secret close and not telling anyone because I needed to get used to the idea of my life changing — again. I’ve loved being a mom. I truly have.
About that miscarriage, he or she would have been child #2. I hadn’t even told my husband about the positive pregnancy test. He was going away to a class and was going to be gone for a week or more. I wanted to think of a special way to break the news. I remember spending that short period of time whispering secrets to the little person inside me, with my hand on my abdomen, while I lay in bed at night alone. My first son was sleeping in the next room and he had already been such a joy.
Anyway, the night before Bud was to come home, I started bleeding. This was back before cell phones and I think he was already at the airport for his first flight. I had no way to reach him. I called my closest friend and she came to take care of my son while I went to the hospital.
I was alone when they did the ultrasound and then the laparoscopy. I was alone when they gave me the news — an ectopic pregnancy. Honestly, it was probably one of the loneliest times in my life.
But I had a son who needed me and a husband, home again, who had picked up a virus somewhere in his travels and wasn’t feeling well.
You know how we women do it. We get up and we start the next day and the next day and the next day. We make breakfast and do laundry. We change diapers and go to the grocery store. We press on — because what is the alternative?
I think back then was when I first chose to live in hope. Hope is also a cousin to anticipation and expectancy. They’re all good words. It’s that looking ahead that keeps me going.
Why does God allow us to go through awful things? I don’t know except that our experiences in the hard places build compassion and hope — and for that I am grateful.
Sorry for such a heavy letter.