Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular play rather large roles in my life. My faith life doesn't figure heavily into this blog though: different blogs have different purposes, and the purpose of this blog is to be kind of like an online dinner party. And everyone knows that you aren't supposed to talk about religion or politics at a dinner party. So while I don't typically do this, I'm having some Catholic thoughts right now and I have nowhere else to put them so...if Popery isn't your jam, just click away, no hard feelings.
So, today is the Feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux.
She is my favorite and I have a story to share about her, but before I get to that I need to give you some background:
Although neither a part of doctrine or an official tradition, there is a tendency for some people of my faith to treat God, Mary, and the Saints like wish-granting genies. I used to participate in this culture to some extent, but I learned the hard way that this type of thinking is not helpful to the faith-building process.
When Nemo and I first decided to grow our family and were overjoyed when I was pregnant within weeks. Then when I was six weeks along, I started bleeding when I was at work and I knew our child was in danger. I prayed as I had never prayed before that the child I badly wanted wouldn't be taken from me...but it was. I was devastated, and the event shook my faith to it's core.
We tried again, and were met with month after month of frustratingly negative tests. It was six months later before I got another positive test, and due to my previous miscarriage my doctor ordered labs to check my HcG levels. We were home-bound after the worst snowstorm in a decade when my doctor called with the news: my levels were not doubling. This baby was doomed.
We were snowed in for a week, and I had nothing to do but sit around and pray that God would stop the inevitable. As days passed and I didn't bleed I began to believe that maybe, just maybe I had been granted a miracle. But that one, too, eventually ended in a miscarriage that was physically, emotionally, and spiritually devastating. My faith was laid waste and rebuilding it has been hard, hard work.
I tell you all this so that you'll understand: I don't pray for things. I pray for strength, perseverance, peace, and wisdom for myself and others, but I don't ask for things. I am still pretty Scully about the whole "ask and it shall be given" mindset.
Mood-lightening Scully meme.
The long of the short is, I am a "power of prayer" skeptic. And I think that's what makes the following story so extraordinary.
Note: This is copied from an old blog of mine which had a way different tone than this current one.
Another note: "Spud" is what we called CJ before he was born.
Friday, January 14, 2011
I make a new friend.
Last Wednesday, very early in the morning, I was packing up the last of my stuff before we headed to the airport for our mini-vacation in New Orleans. One of the last things I needed to grab was my laptop and as I was trying to unplug it my middle finger accidentally touched one of the prongs and...ZZZTTTTT. It didn't hurt, but I definitely felt the electrical current vibrating in my fingers.
So of course I got on Dr. Goo.gle and looked up "electrical shock" and "pregnancy", and the answer was pretty grim. The only thing that was holding me back from a full fledged panic attack was that I wasn't actually sure I had shocked myself, since it didn't hurt.
But I was worrying, worrying, worrying all morning. When we finally got on the plane I was exhausted, worried, and just trying to drift off to sleep when I felt a sudden inclination to ask St. Therese of Lisieux for help. Which was weird because, as worthy as she is, she just isn't one of the saints that I usually look to for help. So anyway, drowsy and upset, I prayed that if my baby was still alive, would she please send me a sign? And I thought specifically of a single red rose. Not white. Red.
Then I did end up sleeping for most of the flight. When we deplaned in New Orleans, I wasn't feeling much better. In fact, I was feeling downright woozy. At baggage claim I abruptly decided that I couldn't stand anymore, and crossed the room to sit down. So I was sitting there, slumping a little, staring off into space, and almost instantly a woman walked within six feet of me carrying in her hand a single red rose, the stem wrapped in a plastic baggie full of water. It took me a few seconds for my mind to process what I had just seen and realize the significance of it. Once I did I was absolutely godsmacked.
That woman ended up being on our shuttle to downtown. She was traveling alone and no one had met her at the airport. One has to wonder where and why she had come by that red rose. Of course it could have been a colossal coincidence, but it gave me an incredible feeling of peace.
And then, that week while we were in New Orleans, I felt Spud move. I couldn't be 100% sure, but there were bumps and tickles that I couldn't attribute to anything else. And now that I have been feeling it several times a day for the last week, I am sure that's what it is. And when we got back into town I went in to listen to the heartbeat again, and it was very healthy.
And, just now as I was writing this I realized that St. Therese's feast day is on October 1, which was the day that Spud was probably conceived.
It would seem that she is in my corner.
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