Sunday, December 21, 2008

Life as the Most Important Principle

On Dateline NBC on Friday, Ann Curry held Protestant Pastor Rick Warren's feet to the fire for his close friendship with President Elect Obama & his decision to say the Prayer during Obama's Inauguration. I'd enjoyed Warren's spirited defense of the theology of marriage a few minutes earlier in the broadcast. It came as a shock to hear this exchange.

Ms. Curry: "How can you be friends with Obama if he's pro-choice and your pro-life? Isn't that murder in your view?"

Pastor Warren: "You'll never get a representative to represent you 100% on all of your issues. Heck, I can't get my wife to agree with me all the time!"

You know, I get the whole 'spiritual blindness' thing for the pro-choice side, because I lived it for so long. It's "the I'm pro-life, but its not really the most important issue for me" that has me head scratching right now.

I thought about Ann Curry, who I used to really adore in my prior TV without restrictions days of youth, and Pastor Rick Warren as my 18 month old snuggled into bed with me.

Mimi is a post-colic baby, which means she still doesn't sleep reliably through the night, especially if there's another warm body in her bedroom who could be persuaded to play with her. As a result, our sleeping arrangements in our 2 bedroom apartment are a bit unique. My 5 & 4 year old share a room. Mimi sleeps in a crib in our room. Meanwhile every night, my husband pulls out our IKEA mattress from the beautiful IKEA woven sleigh bed and places it on the living room floor.

When Mimi gets up in the morning, she's not just next to me and my sleeping spouse. Instead, she easily steps on the bed and perches on my head.

So this morning as I mentally wrestled with religious witness questions while physically wrestling with my wide-awake toddler, I realized they are both interrelated.

Here's my current favorite pro-life picture. This a photo of my husband holding my youngest daughter by the grave site of her brother.

Francisco died in my second trimester of pregnancy six weeks before Mimi was conceived. After his death, there was an anguished week of waiting for a miscarriage so that we could have a Catholic burial. There was about a half-hour during that week that I really raved about not being Protestant anymore. I wanted to use birth control again. I hurt so much, I couldn't imagine ever having another child. I wanted to be certain that I'd never have to go through another miscarriage again.

I knew in my heart going back on the pill wasn't an option. The was only NFP or total absence. (Fortunately, the Catholic church has some absolute rules in this situation. Birth control is a mortal sin, and is completely off the table.) Knowing our track record, I figured it was pretty unlikely we could get through 15 years of NEVER conceiving another child.

The question in my mind changed from "IF I ever have another child? To WHEN will I be ready to open my heart to the possibility of another child."

God can work with a frightened, unwilling heart. That what this picture means to me.

Immediately after the funeral, Jon and I truly thought we couldn't be ready to have another child for at least 10 years, if even then.

Instead, six weeks later we brought another soul into the world.

Now out of heartache, there is blessing. I have a son in heaven who is as real to me as my son on earth. (I talk to him all the time in my heart). And Francisco's early death left room for an "extra" red headed daughter. The silly one who tells jokes in baby talk, and who puts on her Dad's dress shoes for a laugh and who sits on my head at 6:30 AM when I'd rather hit another round on the snooze alarm.

Christmas is about welcoming the most important baby in the world.

This Sunday we also remember the Blessed Mother who said YES in the most emphatic way possible. We need to say YES to God in all different ways in all parts of our life. Yet we married couples also need to say YES to Life in a special way.

Our Blessed Mother pray for us. Help us all be "handmaidens of the Lord" in our hearts.


  1. Thank you for a beautiful post. I've got tears in my eyes...

    May God bless you and your family this Christmas!!

    [and for what it's worth, my husband and I have had that same sort of sleeping arrangement for most of our 12 years of married life... *grin*]

  2. We are Catholic, and all of our Catholic friends are "fixed" in some way so that they cannot have more children. They think we are slightly crazy for not "doing anything" to prevent more babies. They love us, but always ask "so... is this IT?" whenever we have another baby. When we answer that it's up to God, that we don't plan and we don't prevent, we get the typical eye-roll with a laugh or a shake of the head. Personally, I don't get it. I mean, either you are Catholic or you aren't. You can't pick and choose what you are going to "believe in" or "follow" in the Catholic teachings and doctrines. Hmmm. Same thing for voting for Obama. I just couldn't understand why I was seeing so many Obama bumper stickers on the cars parked in our church parking lot each Sunday during election time. What?! Obama is pro-abortion in the BIGGEST way, and Catholics are voting for him? I just can't understand.

    I will be 40 in July. I have had eight pregnancies, and birthed 8 healthy children (our 9th child isn't biologically mine) I worry that as I get older my chances of miscarriage goes up. I will admit that I do NOT want to go through a loss like that. I don't want a hole in my heart of missing a child. I going to do anything to prevent that from happening, other than keeping myself in good health? No, I can't say that I am. To do that, to take things into my own hands... just doesn't feel right in my heart.

    Thank you for this post, and God bless you :)