Thursday, December 15, 2011

Love, joy, suffering, miscarriage

I am struggling. Embedded deep within me, it seems I have a calendar which does not allow me to forget that during this week three years ago we learned I was pregnant, and then learned I had lost the baby before I had even gotten used to the idea of being pregnant.

Today had the same Mass reading that hit me so hard last year when I wrote about this anniversary. That was striking.

Raise a glad cry, you barren one who did not bear, break forth in jubilant song, you who were not in labor, For more numerous are the children of the deserted wife than the children of her who has a husband, says the LORD. Enlarge the space for your tent, spread out your tent cloths unsparingly; lengthen your ropes and make firm your stakes. For you shall spread abroad to the right and to the left; Your descendants shall dispossess the nations and shall people the desolate cities. Fear not, you shall not be put to shame; you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced. The shame of your youth you shall forget, the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember. For he who has become your husband is your Maker; his name is the LORD of hosts; Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth. The LORD calls you back, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, A wife married in youth and then cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will take you back. In an outburst of wrath, for a moment I hid my face from you; But with enduring love I take pity on you, says the LORD, your redeemer. This is for me like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah should never again deluge the earth; So I have sworn not to be angry with you, or to rebuke you. Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
How it hits me this year is that during this season of Advent that always stirs me so deeply with hope and then Christmas which has been an annual reminder to me of the flood, the torrent of love God has for me that has totally reshaped my life... during this powerful time, I have a poignant reminder that I cannot fulfill my own desires for myself. Infertility and the loss of two pregnancies has taught me that. I can't give myself God's gifts. Every good thing that comes to me comes from the hand of God, and what He doesn't drop right into my soul He gives directly into the hands of other people, with the directive to be faithful to Him, thereby giving to me what I so desperately need. In the same way, He puts into my heart and hands things that belong to others, with the same charge to live faithfully to Him, thereby spreading His gifts adequately. We all fail each other. But God is so generous; He doesn't seem to mind working with our failures and still accomplishing His will. In the midst of all the beauty with which God floods me, I have also this reminder: I am not the Author of this. Neither great joy nor suffering are evidence of some kind of merit on my part, some kind of trick that I've performed to win God's favor. Rather, His love IS. That's the fact. I am a creature. That is also the fact. A creature drawn to union with the Creator will experience both joy and suffering, but neither joy nor suffering amount to anything apart from that union. I can try and struggle to get myself happy, but it is futile unless what I seek is whatever union with God in Christ calls for.

"To reach satisfaction in all, desire satisfaction in nothing." -- St. John of the Cross.

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