I imagine he's seated across from me. Between us lay three picture albums. The first is full of pictures showing a boy who is growing and thriving and, in the world's eyes, is perfect. He is a picture of excellent health. It is clear he is mine - his physical features resemble those of his siblings and parents. He is surrounded by love, joy and peace. This boy is the desire of my heart. He is not made fun of by those who live in this world with him. He does well in school - he has favorite subjects, but can pass them all - even those he's not so fond of. He can ride a bike, jump, skip and hop. His fingers hold a pencil without issue and his penmanship is nearly ideal. He eats and drinks and pizza and sweats are always a hit....he is a kid, after all.
The second album show pictures of yet another boy. The life he leads is far different than that of the boy in the first album. His physical features make others take a second glance, but generally not in a positive way. He is often criticized and, while they refrain from saying it aloud, they question whether or not he should have been born. He suffers from frequent colds in the winter. He enjoys school and loves his friends and teachers, but academics are challenging. He spends hours practicing how to hold a pencil, pronouncing words correctly and needs full assistance on the swings...pumping his legs is simply not something he can do yet - and it's hard to say when that day will come. He enjoys mealtime, but it's not without challenge...his protruding tongue pushes the food out, although he works hard to keep it in. There is no doubt that the simplest, day to day activities are a struggle for him. But he is loved and happy. I ask the man before me where his family is, but I am told it is yet too be decided.
I open the third and final album. I flip through it - twice. But the pages are empty. There is not a single picture in the entire album. Confusion overcomes me. I look up and stare at the man seated across from me. As I stare into his eyes, I understand completely. I remember a discussion we had years before - about the little babes that begin to grow within their mothers womb. These mothers are faced with news, but it is unwelcome. These mothers do not know the man seated before me. They are given one-sided information. They are given choices, which may result in empty picture albums. Some of these children are walking on streets of gold, others are bouncing around from home to home, their final destination unknown. I remember what I told him, what I said I was willing to sacrifice if he would give me that child, so that it may know pure love and acceptance, regardless of the "imperfections" that exist.
I look down at my growing belly and place my hand upon it. I stare as I feel the babe within me move about. While I know his over all health is good, I can not yet see the pictures that will fill his album. I know the desires of my heart and so does the man seated before me. I love this child, completely and unconditionally. I have no idea what the future holds for this unborn child - and won't for nearly four more months. As I look to the future - the unknown, I have a choice to make. Will my mind be consumed with "what if"or "your will be done"? There is no doubt it will be a daily struggle - it already has been. But as I lift my eyes from my belly and rest them on his, I am at peace.
On occasion, my eyes drift away and in those moments I am overcome with fear, anger and frustration. I remind myself to place my eyes back on him and the moment I do so, I am once again overwhelmed with his peace. I again feel joy and excitement towards the birth of my unborn son. No, I have no idea which picture album will be added to our family shelf, but I do know that whichever it is, the pictures within in it are perfect. It is a choice I must make daily, but if I take it one day at a time, as difficult as that may be, triumph through him can prevail.