A blog about prayer, poverty and the unexpected joys of the Christian life
Today I’m guest posting over at my friend Abigail’s blog, writing about her birth story and the lessons about fear and anxiety that we can all take away from it. You can read it here.
While I’m at it, I figured I might as well introduce you to her blog, since it’s one of my favorites. Abby has a great story: she was a liberal feminist lawyer from Smith College who has since become a devout Catholic housewife and Third Order Carmelite. If you’re looking for some meaty essays to linger over with a warm cup of coffee, you’ve come to the right place.
Some of her most powerful posts are about embracing life in our culture of death — especially that she did not always see things the way she does now. Her “How I became pro-life” piece was what originally inspired me to write mine, and I was fascinated by her recent post about how she receives more scorn as a housewife than she did when she was a deacon at notoriously secular Smith. One of her best posts (which is among the best blog posts I’ve ever read) was about how she and her husband dealt with the news that any children they have are at significant risk for Cystic Fibrosis:
Then came the devastating news from the genetic counselor [responding to their concern that genetic CF could impact their children's children]. “No, your baby has the 1/4 chance of having a fatal disease, not your grandchildren.” Then to ease the burden on my stricken face, “Don’t worry. This is the only baby who will have that risk. For all the other babies, we’ll do an amino, if the fetus is CF positive, we’ll take care of it. Sorry that we didn’t catch this one until it was too late.” [...]
I cried into fist after fist of tissues. I argued my way out of a same-day amino by saying “I don’t want to worry about miscarriage on Christmas. Let me go home, now.” I felt scared. I felt alone. There was all this intense medical pressure to do a test which would only tell us a basic hands up or hands down CF result a mere two weeks before my due date. [MORE]
She’s also written powerful posts on pregnancy loss that delve into the complexities of grief. She writes of losing her baby to a late miscarriage:
Each morning I would wake up and the first thought was “I’m not pregnant anymore.” My first thought, before I even registered that it was morning or that we had moved into a new apartment or even that my husband was sleeping next to me. My first thing each morning was this loud shouting sentance “I am not pregnant!” I would just realize that my stomach was fine and my muscles weren’t sore and the whole host of physical sensations that are so annoying when you are pregnant were missing. Feeling back to normal was my punch in the gut. My grieving thing would start all over again. [MORE]
But her posts aren’t all about sad stuff! I was very inspired by her tips on taking young children to daily Mass. I love all her stories about embracing poverty, like the humorous and poignant one about life on the bus after they couldn’t afford a car anymore:
Last Sunday, my husband shouted to me “I can’t believe we both have Graduate Degrees!” as we waited at a bus stop for an extremely late City bus. [...]
I looked at Jon in confusion. I didn’t immediately understand the meaning of my husband’s statement. After all, it was our gigantic $200,000 joint student loan debt which necessitated us taking the City Bus to Mass in the first place. [Then] I suddenly “got” the irony of our current situation. In grad school, we’d spent hours hunched over lap tops in dimly lit libraries. We mastered courses in vague Latin terms and 18th Century Japanese Landscape Painting. We wrote term papers. We passed finals. We aced hours of job interviews. If not tons of wealth and worldly honor, there was supposed to be some sort of comfortable middle class existence that came as a reward to all of that hard work.
Never once, in all those years of study, did we consider that our future children would wander snow banks in their church clothes as we waited for a late City bus. In America, people with graduate degrees are not supposed to live lives without a car. [MORE]
In another post she wrote about the economic downturn, and offered people who may be experiencing first-time financial hardship some words of encouragement:
I’ve been hanging out in the desert of financial uncertainty for a while. Let me show you around.
It’s harsh here, but beautiful. Here’s a place to test an inner strength you never knew you had. The friends who see you in your humility, the ones who lend you diapers when your babies run out, or who whip up baked lasagna when their own husbands are unemployed, or who join their hearts in prayer when you just can’t take the collection calls anymore, those are the dear, dear friends. You can’t make a single friend like that on a singles cruise in the Aegean Sea.
It is harsh here in the desert. Yet it is still. It is the perfect place to hear the soft, tender words of God. [MORE]
Even before I knew her personally, Abigail’s blog was a source of constant inspiration for me. I hope you enjoy it as well.