There I was...one day out of confession, walking into Mass this morning with my daughter on one hand and my husband on the other, a smile on my face and then I see them...the couple that has to be about our age that sit all the way across our stadium style sanctuary (ie., I've never gotten to meet them because they jet after Mass)... so I have no idea who these people are, but they have a little boy around Isabel's age, and then another little boy who must be under a year. I've watched them Sunday after Sunday from across the sanctuary as their family has grown...I was always a little envious when she got pregnant with her second. And as we are walking across the parking lot, this husband is letting the wife out at the front of the church so she can take in her two boys and she turns to the side as she gets out, and lo and behold if she is not 8 months pregnant with her third baby!
Oh I just wanted to crumple into the pavement! I even said something out loud like, "you have got to be kidding me, Lord!"....and then of course I immediately regretted even having thoughts like this!! Why should I be overcome in this wave of envy?? Because that is the situation I think I should be in??
I knelt down to pray before Mass began and asked for forgiveness for feeling this way. And then this thought just came to me that I am right where God wants me.
I am right where God wants me. For some reason He has chosen this path for me. And whatever that path is, as long as I am striving to know and do His will, that is where God wants me.
I felt a few minutes of peace and tried to keep my eyes from wandering past the altar to where they sit. It's not that I felt resentment towards these people! Not at all! In fact, they look like a great, faithful young couple with a beautiful family that I'd like to get to know! It's just that the "picture" of their family is where I thought I would be...where I thought God would want me.
Fast-forward to homily time and we have a new priest this Sunday who is filling in while one of our regular priests is away for the summer; I was eager to hear how he preached and what he would have to say.
Here are the main point notes that I took (yes, I am one of those people who pulls out a pad of paper and tries to take discreet notes during the homily sometimes!):
*Close companionship with Jesus may require we walk the lonely walk to Golgotha.
Woah Lord, ummm...yeah, it does feel pretty lonely being the only couple in my group of friends who is going through difficulty conceiving.
*Yes Lord, I understand. I know there's a cost involved and come what may I still want to follow You.
You're right, Lord. There is a cost involved. Not just the suffering and isolation of this secondary infertility and losing our babies, but the cost that comes from finding moral ways to regain my fertility; moral ways to have a baby while still following You. (By this I mean the cost of friends or family who become distanced because they just don't understand why it is not an option for me to go out and use certain fertility treatments to have a baby...to them it seems so simple: just go do IVF and quit complaining about not having a baby; get on with your life. This is a "cost" to me...that the beautiful truth of following the teachings of the Catholic church is not recognized as such).
*The cost then dearly and radically changed their lives forever to a wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ.
For me, the cost of secondary infertility/losing babies has definitely changed my life forever. The thought of following church teaching on fertility treatments is radical to some people. The fact that losing babies has made my desire for more children increase to what the Lord will allow me to have, may also be radical to some people. Do I have a wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ? Yes! Yes! Yes! Why would I continue to follow on this difficult path if not for love of Jesus?
Sure I stumble, often! The path is difficult, stony, sometimes uphill! But I am headed somewhere. I am traveling through this earth to heaven...that is my destination! And no journey is without it's snares and pitfalls.
But I continue on in the midst of the "cost": sometimes ridicule, insult, insensitivity, hurt feelings, misunderstanding...I continue on for love of Jesus. I gather my strength from the sacraments and prayers and the Bible, from friends and family who give their support.
It takes courage. It takes reflection. It takes humility to know when you've taken the wrong step. But for the love of Jesus I can continue on through it all.