“Tears of Joy,” Ensign, July 1999, 60–61
As I stood in the hallway outside the newborns’ nursery, tears streamed down my cheeks. I was something of a spectacle as I stood peering through the glass at the babies. A nurse soon came to my assistance. I’m sure she thought I was the concerned father of one of the premature infants born that weekend. Trying to calm my nerves, she offered me a sedative. I said, “No, thank you. Really, I’m fine.” If only she knew the source of my tears.
It had been almost six years since Melanie and I were married in the Oakland Temple. They say every child is a miracle of conception, but we had a special perspective of the miracle of birth. After our wedding we both sold our sports cars and bought a family car, thinking we would be starting a family soon. But after four years of marriage passed, we had not yet been blessed with children, and we began to question our ability and even our worthiness.
My younger brothers and sisters were having their second and third children. But even more frustrating, my office happened to be next to a pregnancy control clinic, and Melanie and I watched people facing unwanted pregnancies come and go (some even choosing to end their pregnancies). We wanted to share our home with one of Heavenly Father’s spirit children. We would have given anything to become parents.
Our doctor informed us that there were medical complications preventing us from having children. We went to other experts for more than one opinion. However, even after surgery, we were left with little hope of conceiving. The doctors advised us, “Relax and let it happen. Be patient and maybe your million-to-one chance will happen.”
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day became particularly difficult for us as our large family would gather at my mom and dad’s house for celebrations of parenthood. We were not resentful toward my siblings. It just had become harder for us to be there. We wanted children so much.
Meanwhile, we continued down life’s road in other areas. The pressure of my work was constant, and most years I took classes at the local college at night. Church responsibilities also increased. I was called to serve as a counselor in the elders quorum presidency and spent many hours in meetings, helping with service projects, and doing missionary work and home teaching. I recalled what the doctors had told us about relaxing, spending time together, and reducing stress! Then the phone rang. It was a call to meet with the stake president.
Melanie and I met with President Woolsey the following Thursday, and he called me to be the elders quorum president. He explained at length the tremendous responsibility of the calling. As he discussed the considerable time commitment involved in “losing yourself in the work,” Melanie could no longer hold back her tears.
President Woolsey stopped the interview. He knew Melanie’s tears were not tears of joy over the position I was being called to that day. She explained the six years of waiting and wanting a family. She also explained the doctors’ instructions of spending more time together and reducing stress in our lives. After President Woolsey listened to us with great love and understanding, he still felt inspired to issue the call. Melanie asked for a blessing, and President Woolsey readily obliged. He blessed her that she might have the righteous desires of her heart on condition of her faithfulness and support of this new calling.
As I assumed my new responsibilities, we went forward with heart, might, mind, and strength. Imagine our joy and surprise and relief when, soon afterward, my wife found out she was expecting a baby.
Though many faithful couples are unable to have children for medical reasons, we were grateful that, for whatever reason, Heavenly Father had blessed us with a son after six years of hope, heartache, prayers, and persistence. That day in the hospital, my tears falling to the floor were not tears of sadness or concern but tears of joy, joy in the miracle of birth, joy in the power of the priesthood, and joy in the blessings of family.