Comfort and reassurance

9 09 2012

I was raised Catholic, but I’m not a very good one.  At various points in my life I’ve been completely outside the Church, not attending, not believing, not listening and certainly not walking the walk.  At other points, I’ve been “better” but certainly I wouldn’t ever classify myself as a “good Catholic.”  I have disagreed with certain teachings of the Church– especially about birth control, whether homosexuality is a sin, and I’m pro-choice and pro-death penalty.  So yeah, I’m not a great Catholic by a long shot.  And yet I find a great deal of comfort and reassurance in the wonderful, timeless rituals of the Church.  I’m culturally Catholic, at least on my mom’s side (good Irish Catholics and Bohemian Catholics and French Catholics).  And there’s no time to return to Mother Church like when you really need something (she said wryly).

I still haven’t memorized all the prayers or the mysteries of the Rosary, but I don’t mind reading from a piece of paper.  I’ve been going to Reconciliation and Mass much more regularly.  And it seems God is speaking right at me sometimes.

Yesterday, I asked the priest I see for Reconciliation (aka confession) how I could better pray for what I want (a baby! a healthy normal baby or two!)  I told him I feel like I’m doing too much demanding/begging/pleading and even some “deal-making” … something like “If you give us a baby I promise I’ll name her Mary if she’s a girl.” His response was helpful and yet it made me pout a bit.

He said the proper order of things was God acts, we respond.  But we often get things in the opposite order– we act, and expect/hope God to respond.  He encouraged me to continue praying as I was– begging, pleading, being wholly honest with God about what I *want*– but then to realize that I have to surrender to God’s will.  And that kind of giving up of self and dissolving into God was a good thing.

Hrrm…  I kind of pout about this because I realize I’m not at all good at surrendering to anyone else.. I’m very much a self-confident, aggressive, persistent person (and a lawyer) so life has generally taught me that if I push hard enough I can make whatever I want become a reality.  So I fear that God, who loves to teach us exactly what we most need to learn, knows that I need a lesson in surrender… and yikes, I am so afraid of learning that lesson by not having a child.

After confession, I had a mini-fight with my husband.  We don’t fight per se– slamming doors or yelling– but we have disagreements.  This was sadly somewhat typical (and will probably require its own blog post soon to explain more fully and fairly..)

Me: “Everywhere I go I see pregnant bellies.  I really hope this works.  I really want to be pregnant.”

Him: “Well, and if it doesn’t work, it will be okay.”

Me: “Maybe for you it will, but it will not be okay for me.”

So, I headed to Mass this morning full of anxiety (am I really surrendering?) and fear (will I be a mother?) and worry (will my husband ever come around?).  And here was the first reading, from Isaiah.

“Thus says the Lord:

Say to those whose hearts are frightened:

Be strong, fear not!

Here is your God,

he comes with vindication;

with divine recompense,

he comes to save you.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,

the ears of the deaf be cleared;

then will the lame leap like a stag,

then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Streams will burst forth in the desert,

and rivers in the steppe.

The burning sands will become pools,

and the thirsty ground, springs of water.”

Is 35:4-7a

Wow.  It felt so good.  I really felt like God was speaking directly to me, for me.  The next line could have been something about “the barren womb shall bring forth a child” and I wouldn’t have been surprised.  Sometimes we have to take God’s promises literally– OWN his promises.  It’s old-fashioned contract law if nothing else– act in reliance.  So while I will continue to stab myself with needles day and night (these days it’s ganirelix every morning, and occasional squirts of estrogen at night… and 20 odd pills besides) and not eat gluten or dairy and not work out hard… I will also put my trust in God and hope that it WILL be okay… and that he WILL bring me the baby or babies I’m meant to mother.

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