We Rarely Know The Whole Story

"So, is this your first?" asked the middle-aged ultrasound tech as she probed my legs for Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Oh great, here we go again, I thought.

"Fourth and fifth!" I chirped cheerily with a big smile. Maybe, just maybe we'd get a positive response?

The tech stopped everything, glared at my husband (like he was the offending responsible party?) and admonished him:

"OK, stop! Time to stop!"

What the--?

An uncomfortable silence filled the room. I glanced at Matt. He looked embarrassed, as if he should apologize for the crime of what? Impregnating his lawfully wedded wife?

I burst into loud laughter, trying to divert her attention. And hoping she'd get back to her job, please? Thanks ever so much.

But she wasn't done.

"You are done [having children], right?" she asked me, pointedly.

Like, having given up hope on my husband the over-zealous reproducer, she would now appeal to me?

"We'll see," I answered, with a smile. Why am I smiling? I should be telling her to shut the blank up and mind her own blank business!

Is this what Jesus meant by turn the other cheek?

Because it's getting really tedious dealing with every Tom, John or Jane who wants to offer their opinion on how I use my uterus. It amazes me that complete strangers seem to have expert advice on how I'm supposed to live my life.

She shook her graying head and went back to her job.

A few minutes later, I asked her: "Do you have any children?"

"No," she answered.

OK, then. Clearly, it is the enlightened, childless woman who is the expert on how many children is too many.

And then, I checked myself. I didn't know her story. I didn't know why she didn't have children. Perhaps she struggled with infertility. How could I be upset with someone whose private sorrows may be far greater than my own?

I felt my righteous indignation melt away. She has never known the pure, unmitigated satisfaction of feeding her baby at her breast. She has never known the fulfillment of her child's unconditional love. She has never wakened on Christmas morning to the happy squeals of her children's voices.

How terribly, terribly sad!

And even if she is the sort of woman who never wanted children, and who feels compelled to criticize a woman like me---is it too difficult a thing for me to extend grace to her?

Because giving grace to the undeserving is exactly what Christ did for me. While we were yet sinning, Christ died...

As we were leaving, the tech took my arm and looked me in my eyes. She smiled and said kindly,

"Take good care of those babies. You're going to love them so much when they arrive."

I think it was her way of saying sorry. She really didn't have to.

I had already forgiven her.