Twins has been a surprising word theme for this summer and fall.
Three times in these recent months we have had friends secretly share surprise joy with us – not one, but two little babies on an ultrasound screen – with no explanation but amazement at the rare gift of an extra baby that God tends to give about once in every hundred fruitful pregnancies. Three times we have rejoiced to the best of our ability. Sometimes I’m giddy with joy, but sometimes I just try to ignore the shriek in my soul asking what maniacal mystery it is that some people get two of them at the same time?! It got to the point that we joked everyone must be having twins. The fresh awkwardness has worn off somewhat, and we grieve that these three twin pregnancies are only resulting in five expected babies now, after all.
Very often I have contemplated Jesus’ disciple Thomas, whose name means “the twin,” the apostle who had to see, with so many unknowns for the future. We were rapidly approaching Aaron’s graduation date without any clue about what the coming year beyond graduate school would bring, and not knowing how to dream for the future. Do I have to leave all my piano students? Will it ever feel okay to dream of good things for a life that doesn’t include having the baby this spring? Is it even worth thinking about having kids anymore? I like to know things and found a great challenge in wrapping up Aaron’s season of grad school with these big questions in such limbo.
Very often, like Thomas, I have felt that war between the twins of belief and doubt inside myself.
And then sometime this fall, we sensed our original ideas about where to live and what to do falling apart. Time for some re-dreaming. We began talking and thinking very seriously about the Twin Cities in Minnesota, where Aaron was invited to complete more research after graduating in December. This was the sort of job he hadn’t looked into, in a location we hadn’t considered before, and an income level we were not initially drawn toward before. In short, it was not on the list of options I already gave God. But as the details came to light, we thought and prayed, and before long it was clear there would be peace in no other path.
For years we have anticipated moving forward, living closer to family, getting smart phones, maybe going on trips(!!!), first-hand clothes, a big house with plenty of room for children and guests, and staying put wherever we were. Instead, we are moving to Minnesota at Christmastime, which alone indicates we must be crazy, and we are only committed for three years. This act of assumed insanity also requires selling this little house we love to get one even further away from our families and figuring out how to embrace the possibility of a temporary location again, though smart phones and a real guest room are pretty much non-negotiables for the next stage. (So plan on visiting, please. We will have room for you to stay with us and fancy gadgets to assist our sight-seeing navigation.)
Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more
See Lord at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder, at the God thou art.
I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he…
– St. Thomas Aquinas
This doesn’t offer a solution for everything I’m working through right now. There are still questions. I knew there would be. But for now, we’re walking (running!) bravely through the open door to a new adventure in Minnesota, and I get the impression God still hears questions there.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12
Of course, this surprising turn of events spurs many interesting conversations at home. (Aaron is very hilarious so it doesn’t take much to induce an interesting conversation, I suppose.)
Me: “We always pray and pray, and when we finally make plans, the total opposite thing happens. What do you feel like God is trying to say to us?”
Aaron: “He’s totally got an animated look on His face, delightedly exclaiming, ‘PSYCH!'”