Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Can an old woman dream a dream?


My research project has become my baby.  I am not sure that the baby has been delivered or if it is in the need of a skilled obstetrician with forceps.  Nevertheless, it is my baby.  As a mother, I know that your baby is your baby from the moment it is conceived.  It is yours – you love it, you dream and hope for it…

It’s that way with my research project.  I have agonized over this project.  Like Sarah in Genesis, I have watched surrogates get their degrees and launch.  I have waited - barren.  When my Abraham produced his research project, it was I who for countless days sat at a kitchen table pregnant, entertaining other children, cooking, cleaning, laundry – typing on an IBMSelectric typewriter – delivering page after page of charts and data.  It was I who labored over that research project as if it was my own.  And it has… it was the surrogate that produced jobs, income, and success for our family.  It has borne much fruit – fruit that few realize was the result of my labor as well.

Now I have conceived.  Now I have a research project.  An image of me in a doctoral hood is beginning to focus.  Like the pregnancy test that confirms what you already know, the University has approved my project.  I am ready to collect data. 

Foolishly, I had thought that with all the people I know it would not be difficult to find 75 people to participate.  Even my doula – my adviser said: “With all your contacts around the country, this shouldn’t be a problem.”  I thought she was right.  I so foolishly thought that taking a total of an hour and ten minutes during the course of six weeks was a small request.  Most people I knew participated in a Bible study … so that was not difficult – a survey of 20 minutes?  I’d do that and more for a stranger trying to get a project done.

I feel like a woman about to give birth surrounded by her family and friends but they all turn a blind eye and ear to my pleas for help.

This is painful.  This has brought tears to my eyes and cracks in my heart.  I don’t handle rejection well.  Like Isaac, this is my long dreamed of and waited child – I have waited so long to complete this degree that life withheld from me for so long.

I've regrouped several times trying to find the right marketing tool only to be constantly rebuffed.  If my child is ugly, tell me how to fix it?  Don't just tell me she's ugly... If you don't understand - ask? rather than assume... 

I'm baffled, confused, and frustrated.  

Offer incentives?  What?  Is this a carrot and stick?  Perhaps if I were asking for money in return from a drop of water from the Jordan (or my faucet) I'd get a taker. I could send out prayer clothes.  Or an official WWJDwFB? bumper sticker, key ring, or necklace?  It would be easier to take an offering than ask someone to help a fellow believer with an hour of time.

I said to someone yesterday that it was hard for me to believe that in all of Christendom, there were not 75 people who would help me.  Let me be clear, there have been some absolutely wonderful people who have stepped up to help.  For them, I am so grateful.  Many are not close friends and yet they’ve been willing to offer any help they can…

But I don’t have enough.  It seems to be the pattern and story of my life – just never enough.  Perhaps it was foolish for an old woman to dream dreams – I am reminded of Yom Yahweh:
Joel 2:28 "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 
But can an old woman dream a dream? Perhaps there is no place for an old woman to dream a dream.  Perhaps the baby in my academic womb will die.  Perhaps as some have suggested, it will never work – It is un-survivable – it is doomed from the start.

I don’t know.  I know I have a dream.  I know I have a baby growing inside of me - I have longed for it and have invested in – it is viable but will it be born?  I can only hope and pray and push and push.  But if no one helps, it will die.  

My research is about Christian community - the lesson may be that Christian community doesn't really exist.  I'm having a very hard time experiencing it now.  My husband said last night, "everyone wants a piece of you and you've given and given - but no one has time for you."  He's not a believer - this speaks volumes to him as well.  

The tears are flowing... again.

If God collects tears in His bottle, isn't the bottle with my name on it full yet?

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8 

1 comment:

  1. Joyce
    I could cry with you.
    I don't want you to give up though.
    There is still hope.
    Love Lin

    ReplyDelete

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