Neeraj, brother Neeraj to many, placed his hand upon the weeping woman kneeling in front of him. He closed his eyes and opened his heart to God. Love and warmth enveloped him and poured forth from his lips in a rapturous prayer. "Father I know you are feeling the pain your daughter is now feeling. Please father, bring her peace. Bless her and bless her womb. May her womb open and carry a child so blessed that all her worries and tears and sorrows melt away. My heavenly father, you say you are filled with love. You have told us that you have engraved us in your palm. Look at your daughter with compassion dada and bless her with a baby."
Every time they heard a news of pregnancy, every time when some one asked them about having babies, every time when they prayed for some one's conception, Lydia started feeling such a strong sense of helplessness and sorrow. Every month, when her periods arrived, she went into a state of depression. Getting through the first day was always a nightmare for her. Hormones, the memory of the night in train, the sense of isolation and helplessness bogged her down. She started questioning her purpose of existence and often soaked the shirt of Neeraj with her tears of helplessness and frustration. Depression, something she always thought that people could just snap out of, caught her by the throat and clouded her brain.
This shook Neeraj to a great extent. Being a man of God, he never lost his faith. " A beggar cannot bless another beggar. God will give us a child soon Lydia. Please don't cry", he would comfort her and himself. But he also was able to grasp to some extent how much different it is for a woman. It is in her body that the changes are anticipated. She is the one who hopes and hopes that atleast this month would be the month. It is she who is questioned the most by family and relatives and friends. It is she who lives with the dread of an approaching period. The hope when the period gets delayed by a few days and the disappointment when it arrives, the feeling of isolation when all her friends talk about nothing but pregnancy and babies, the unwarranted and unexpected tears that suddenly start flowing because of this.... It is really not fair that some couples have to go through the nightmare of infertility while everyone else are so easily blessed with babies.
"Do you remember Ramya? I just got a call from her. She is pregnant and is so happy. God is great." Neeraj beamed to Lydia. "God is great and kind to all but me." She said. The smile in Neeraj's face crumpled. "Why do you always have to be like this? Why cant you just snap out of it? You are letting this affect you too much. So what if we don't have a child? We are so blessed. God has given us everything. You just don't know how to be content and satisfied. You always want to feel sad thinking about what you don't have. Cha....people like you can never be happy." Neeraj shouted and started packing for his impending 10 day Sri Lankan trip.
Lydia's face crumpled. She ran into the bathroom to cry her heart out. These days, she could share her feelings with no one...not even her Neeraj. He no longer had patience for her tears. Neither did he want to get himself tested. "I don't think I can bear to know if something was wrong with me", he told her. "But not knowing is killing me Neeraj. Why cant you understand? It is just a simple test. These days they have a cure for everything. Please da...I want to have a baby. I want to experience pregnancy. I want to know what it is to carry a child inside me. You cannot deny me of that." she cried. "Lydia, you just talk of suicide. If I know something is wrong with me, I will not talk. I will just not be there to talk about it." Neeraj turned to is side of the bed and slept, oblivious to her tears.
"I am going to heal her and bless her with a child." Neeraj woke up with a start. Did God really say those words in his dream? Isn't it an oxymoron to use real and dream in the same sentence? The cellphone showed the time as 2 am and as usual, it had no signal. He and his team were in the middle of some remote village in Sri Lanka, spreading God's word for the past 8 days. It was a truly uplifting trip where many had unburdened their sorrows to God and sought his blessing. Sleep eluded him after that and Neeraj went down on his knees to pray to God.
"But why is God so unfair to me? Why is he putting me through so much pain?" cried Anjana. Neeraj looked at her and smiled. He could now answer this question with more confidence.
"There can be no testament without a test, right? God is testing you sister. Do you know something? Me and my wife were trying to have a baby for more than 3 years. She used to ask me -you pray for everybody and God answers their prayers. But why he is not answering ours? But you know what, I had a miracle...We had a miracle. I was able to experience the miracle first hand. I was away on a missionary trip to Sri Lanka for 10 days when God came in my dream and told me that he is going to bless my wife with a child. After I came back, we went to the doctor and the blood test results came back as positive. To this day, I don't know how this happened. I was there in Sri Lanka and she was here in Chennai. Now we are going to have our blessed baby in another 2 months.
"You know why God is making you wait? Some day, some one is going to come and cry to you about this. At that time, you will make a difference in their life with your empathy and experience of having gone through the same pain. Trust me sister, God has always given the couple who waits the most blessed children. Even in your religion, all great people were born to those who wait...am I right? Aadhi Shankarar, Lord Ram, Meenakshi...
"Have faith and believe in God sister. Come, let us pray. God is going to give you your blessed child very soon."
Brother Neeraj placed his hand upon the weeping woman kneeling in front of him. He closed his eyes and opened his heart to God. Love and warmth and enveloped him and poured forth from his lips in a rapturous prayer.