Saturday, December 5, 2009

from the dead letter office

Dear God,

You don't have to say anything - I know you've been reading my blog. So I figured this was as good a way as any to get this message to you.

Sew has mentioned, very wisely, her spiritual director's advice about saying all the nasty things I'm thinking TO You rather than about You, to other people. I suppose I kind of knew this - I mean, I shouldn't say things about You behind Your back, especially if You know...

I don't know whether I have the energy left to complain that You took my vocation away. I guess I don't feel like I have one at all any more. Maybe like I don't deserve one; vocations are for other people. (Like children.) I know that not having the energy even really to be angry with You any more is my fault. I let myself get further and further away from You. (I don't even really feel like You're paying attention to this. I just looked over at the picture of Your face, streaked with blood from the crown of thorns, that I put on the wall. I thought it was so beautiful when I bought it. But You look so remote and severe. I don't believe any more that You're here with me, walking next to me. You had a cross, I have a cross, but what do they really have in common? What do You care that I'm infertile?) But what can I do? If You loved me, You wouldn't do this to me. I don't know how to believe otherwise.

I don't believe that if You loved me, You'd just give me twelve children, and a big house and hips that would fit into all the clothes I can't wear. I'm not really that shallow. But I do believe that if You really loved me, You wouldn't let me be unhappy like this. What if my sadness and lethargy - that have so taxed my ability to get exercise, devote time to prayer, or develop hobbies that could fill the void where my missing children are - are for hormonal reasons? That would mean You're just vicious, because my doctors don't know what the problem is or really even acknowledge the probem. I don't have a lot of real treatment options, other than becoming so obsessed with changing my diet, and finding alternative treatments, that I'd become a single-minded freak. Is that what You want from me??? Why would You give me the options of becoming unhealthily obsessed, or just unhealthy? What kind of witness is my life if I'm unhappy all the time, and my best efforts aren't enough to shake it? What does that do for Your kingdom? There aren't a lot of people who even want to be witnesses. I'd like to try, and look what I have to work with! But maybe the problem is me. Maybe if I tried harder, or did something I'm not willing to do, I would be a perfect witness. I would live just the life You want.

But I don't believe that this is that life. I know I'm screwing it up. I know if I went to daily Mass like I'm supposed to, and prayed the Rosary, and got more sleep and more exercise, it would be better. But it costs me dear to do those things. And I don't do them in part because I don't believe I would be much, if any, happier. Would that be better, if people saw me living a superficially good life, and I was still miserable? Who would want to have a faith like that?

I guess that's not even really the point. I can't claim really to care emotionally whether I'm a good witness or not, although of course I know I should care. What I'm angry with You about is that I think I have a rotten life. I'm not ungrateful for the real blessings I have. Well, actually, I am. I am ungrateful. I know I have a lot of blessings. I acknowledge them. I'd be more upset if I didn't have them. But I don't feel grateful for anything really. I feel unhappy all the time. It doesn't matter where I am in my cycle, so it isn't that. I feel distant from my husband even when I'm talking to him. I feel distant from everyone. Obviously I feel distant from You. I just feel completely alone, like I'm stuck inside several miles of foam batting that keep me from the rest of reality. And what I want from You is a solution.

I am angry with You because I don't think it's fair that I should just be unhappy. I know all Your people would say that if I reinvigorated my prayer life and took on more moral disciplines that the problem would be solved, but You and I know that that's a lie and I cannot, cannot stand to hear that from You. You know it isn't true! If I do something faith-related that I'm "supposed" to do, then I don't feel guilty about not doing it, but I don't feel good. I know I'm not supposed to practice my faith for the warm fuzzy feelings, and in fact I don't (didn't), as You know. I'm not saying that I should feel all happy when I pray the Rosary or whatever. I'm saying that there should be something I can do so that I'm not just always unhappy. What did You do to my life?

I know it's my fault that I put up all these defenses and push people away so that I never have to be wretched in front of anyone. And I know that I'm a rotten sinner and have no right to be so proud. But I would rather be angry with everyone on the planet preemptively than give anyone the chance to feel sorry for me. I'm so, so angry that I feel like a failure - because even though I'm not really in contact with that emotion, it must be why I'm so very angry. I developed these impressive coping mechanisms so that I don't cry when people say stupid insensitive things. I smile. I let people say things that are honest and don't take them personally, and I accept that pregnancies and babies are for other people and, with rare exceptions, I don't get jealous. I've sealed myself from all the things in life that I wanted.

But that's all Your fault. You gave me the community and the discernment process and the spiritual reading and the moral challenges to decide to give up everything else I could have to be a mother, and I stepped up, and You didn't. You took everything I wanted away. And You have a right to. You're God, and I can't argue with You. I have nothing to say that could ever establish that I know better. You can sit up in heaven and just be God, and have a reason You won't share, that I know nothing about, that makes it fair for me to have to find my way without any guidance and without the dream - a GOOD dream! - that was moving me forward. You took my life away, and You can do whatever You want, but if You were decent and fair - if You were good! - You would have given me something better in its place. That's how it's supposed to work. Not something easier or more fun, but something better. It could be harder - much harder - or more challenging, or unpopular in the eyes of the world. That would be fair, even though I might complain. But nothing in place of a good thing is not fair. Not fair. Not fair. And I have a right to expect You to be fair. I don't want something I don't deserve. Don't give me a baby. I don't want to be pious and grateful because I'm spoiled. Don't treat me like a baby. But be fair. If I'm supposed to be here, give me a good reason. If I'm supposed to be in this middling job, show me what's so important about it, that I should be there. If I'm supposed to find another one, TELL ME! Tell me so I can understand. I have doubts sometimes, but I have no other ideas, and if You want me to quit my job in a bad economy just to prove that I trust You, well, I don't. I did nothing on infertility treatments for TWO YEARS and didn't even really complain because You are the author of life, and You could do more for our marriage and family than any doctor. You did NOTHING. I waited for You, and I got sicker. A lot sicker. I did the right thing, and You didn't. Or so it seems to me, and I don't know how it should look different. I could do the vaporous spiritual things I did in college, I guess. But those two years will probably be the last such thing that I ever do, unless You give me some reason to believe that You didn't just let me down when I did that. I have bills to pay, credit to maintain, and a security clearance to keep up. I can't just go taking leaps of faith, if You're not going to back me up. And You and I both know that You haven't.

So what do You want from me? I'm not good with Scripture like the Protestants, but I don't think Your word even has an example of a holy childless woman to follow. And You know that barren women who later conceive don't count. Because You're not promising me a baby (unless it's a secret promise that I don't know about, and THAT DOESN'T COUNT EITHER).

I know lots of people have faith and understand how this whole wait was worth it and have grown through grief and all sorts of other things, and don't You tell me it's not BECAUSE they have their babies now, and I think that's cheap. I don't want a baby so I can claim I've reached some zen with Your will, because it won't be true, I'll just have been bought off. Anyway, I know You're not going to give me a baby. Of course You have the power to go back on that, too. But I'm not going to waste time and heartbreak hoping for that any more. I don't expect to have a baby. And even though I don't know what my future holds, I KNOW that there are women who never do. So I want You to make it really OK for me to live the rest of my life without a child, so I don't have to hate You for ruining my life. Give the babies to someone else. That's what I want from You.

Yours truly,

the misfit

5 comments:

  1. Your transparency in front of God here is something to admire. I didn't get through it without tears because I understand the core of this unfulfillment that you struggle with.

    I interpret you to be struggling with getting on the same page as God...Excerpt from a book God& You by Willaim Barry:Revelation of self does not come all at once. For one thing we humans could not take it if God revealed himself all at once to us. There is prfound truth in the fear expressed in the Old Testament that one would die if one saw god face to face. In his spiritual exercises Igantius of Loyloa makes a curious, but profound statement about God: I will ponder with great affection how much God our Lord has done for me, and how much He has given me of what He possesses, and finally, how much, as far as he can, the same Lord desires to give Himself to me (you) according to His divine decrees.
    One can almost sense a pathos in that statement, that God is limited in his ability to give of himself and feels the limitation. Of course, the limitation lies in the fact that we whom he loves so much are finite. But the limitations may also come from past experience each of us has had with parents and other authority figures and with teachings about God. We may be very skittish about letting God get close. We may also be angry at God for some of the hurts life has dealt us, even while at the same time being attracted to him; it is hard to let someone get close when we harbor a secret resentment toward that person. So God has to be very patient and infinitely sensitive with us, and he is. Few people are knocked off their horses as st. paul was.

    This book pinpoints so much of the struggle I think that we all deal with. And to some degree I think it has to be maddening for God. He was misrepresented by the fall of sin that has formed our image of Him. Yet, because He is loving, he patiently waits for us to come to him.

    When I first started "getting to know God" I actually had to say back up Lord your enorminty and infinity is too much for me to handle. And quite frankly it scared the ever living crap out of me. I felt so tiny in front of His grandness. He backed up to a point where I was able to handle His presence but then lost sight of Him in the process.

    It has not been an easy road for me. I admit that I haven't been praying the way I used to that was very fruitful especially since my miscarriage.

    I struggled with IF and once I felt like I got that under control, I became pregnant, then miscarried. And then all those old feelings of not trusting Him were back. And then I distanced myself again from Him. I'm very weak.

    But in each close relationship there are periods of closeness and periods of standoffishness. So without beating myself up for my weakness, I actually just wait for God's in His almighty power to come back down and scoup me up again.

    I do feel that He lets me wrestle with the fact of not being in union and close to Him. Because in the end I do deal with feelings of estrangement during this time when I run. I need something to touch the depths of my soul to feel that connection, to soften my cold heart, to get me back to Him.

    And why IF is a bitter pill to swallow, I just can't help but feel that He is calling us to a closer relationship to Him. He is the water in the desert we walk.

    Waiting on God isn't always easy, dealing with our emotions and fears are even harder, but in the end God is always worth it!

    This blog post I think gives you so much to meditate on and peal back the layers of this onion. Patience with yourself as you start this journey are KEY. :)

    Get this book too! It's awesome! It is so dead on. I think a great teaching point to our future children on how to grow in personal relationship with God. :) Because some way some how what we sow in tears will be reaped in joy. xxoo

    I'm not editing this comment. :) hahaha

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  2. That was really beautiful.. and really sad. You put into words a lot of what I'm feeling. I hope the process of writing it all down helped you somehow.

    And I agree about the women in Scripture. I struggle with how prevalent the story of the barren woman finally conceiving is in the Bible. I know it's supposed to be a lesson for everyone, and not just literally about infertility, but it's still hard to see that tale told over and over. We won't all be blessed in that way and it can be hard to read about someone being "rescued" from their suffering while I may never be.

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  3. I am so glad you wrote this letter! It is a really beautiful testament to how you're trying to live this struggle. Trying to figure out how God is revealing His plan in my life is my utmost struggle, too! I totally wish God would reveal Himself more (either to a more extent or more frequently), but I agree with Sew in that when God revealed Himself in the Old Testament alot of times it scared the crap out of people or they plain didn't pay attention!! Sometimes I wonder if I'm guilty of the latter, but I haven't seem any pillars of fire around here...

    Of course you're in my prayers on this journey, and I can't wait to see how God works through all of this! God wants a relationship with us, and just as any human relationships, our relationship with God goes through growing pains, etc.! But God just wants you to stick with him "for better or for worse". :)

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  4. I don't have any deep comments to add. I admire your honesty. If I were truly honest with myslef and God my conversation may be similiar... it has been similiar, and I don't know what to do to change it. It is hard to be an "on fire" witness for God when you can't even muster the energy to lift a match. I find comfort knowing that He meets me where I am, no matter how good or bad I am. No matter how much I cling to Him or run from Him. He is there. I pray the Lord gives you peace and understanding.

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  5. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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