Thursday, May 28, 2009

plz send rosaries kthxbai ~ovaries

Apparently, according to the accumulated wisdom of my gracious commenters, you shouldn't take more than 200mg daily of vitamin B6 for an extended period. And if your doctor didn't mention that when he prescribed 500mg slow-release, you should ask why. I am going to plan on taking two 50mg tablets daily, one morning and one evening, starting on my next CD1.

It occurred to me that I should not drag all the innocent internetz into my internal spiritual musings. I should figure things out on my own and then present the interwebz with my rosy conclusions in a trite little package. And then I thought, DUDE, THIS IS THE INTERNET. There are some people from whom even the internet may deserve a filter.

But even I don't flatter myself that I'm that harmful, you know?

(Oh, by the way, I do realize this is potentially filter-able as just boring. You can go read someone else's post. I won't be hurt.) Like several other of the blogging gals, I've been thinking recently - well, since before I started the blog, actually, but that's kind of recent - that what I might need to adjust to is that God is not going to give me children. And then I just need to be OK with that. Of course, it makes me bitter and angry. Also bitter. And resentful. Did I mention bitter?

And then I was thinking. I'm not keen on the idea that IF is here to teach me a good lesson I would not otherwise have learned (I'm duly impressed when others say that and seem to mean it, but I just don't). Eighteen months of IF was a growth experience, OK? After that, there has been a diminishing rate of return. Rapidly diminishing. Nevertheless, the other day something occurred to me. I have mentioned this here before: mine is a judgmental God. Because I'm judgmental, obviously (on that Briggs-Meyers test thing, my "J" characteristic comes out well over 90%. I hear this is unusual). Which in turn is shaped in some substantial part by my relationship with my parents. Now, my judgmental God appears to be totally sufficient for a lot of purposes. I actually, intellectually, sincerely believe all of the moral theology I know, and intend to follow God's will because, in addition to the rules making sense, He's God and He makes the rules, and though I wouldn't make that argument to someone else (it's not very persuasive), absent the time and energy for a better one, it is persuasive to me.

I understand as part of this that God's will could include for me to suffer. You know, for good reasons. To expiate my own sins so I can get to heaven faster. To build my character toward virtue or in preparation for some important ordeal. To make reparation for the sins of others. To unite myself with the cross and thereby grow closer to Christ. Whatever works. I know - hey, I'm Catholic - that believing in God does not mean that I will be protected from suffering, or even from suffering the graceful acceptance of which is inconsistent with my personality. And of course, if I believed God were never going to do anything, or permit anything, that upset me, that would hardly represent any kind of spiritual maturity. So on the surface, my judgmental God is fine so far.


As long as the sufferings were small, or temporary, or otherwise something of which I could make sense in my mind (say, according to the laws of nature, X or Y must happen to reach Z desirable result, and I see how the goodness of Z makes X or Y worthwhile), all this was fine. Obedience only was wanted, and I would be at peace. In other words, I didn't have to really trust anybody that much.

Enter infertility. This suffering is not small, it has not proven to be short-term, and it makes not the least earthly sense to me. What's necessary in order that I become a mother (the obvious goal for my current state in life) is that I conceive a child, and that's just exactly what hasn't happened. In other words, this is suffering that my brain - which has a decent grasp of delayed gratification, by the way - can't understand as anything but malign. But if I really trusted God - not to be right about everything, and therefore entitled to have me obey, but to love me more than I love myself and to want my real, actual good (not good in the sense that it will be "good for me," you'll see, it will be character-building and you'll thank me later, but working for my good in a way that I would actually be thankful for, and not grudgingly either, and this side of heaven) - well, then. In that case, I might be able to take the IF without (most of?) the bitterness. (Maybe.)

I have a problem trusting people - that is, with things that are very substantial and very high-risk. I'm not afraid that a friend will steal my car or anything. There are few for whom I would do something manifestly harmful on the assumption that, if they said it would result in good, then it would. But God? Forget about it. When I do, I do manifestly harmful things for His sake is if I'm sure it's He Who is asking (I am sure of this only very rarely, BTW - I don't go jumping off of things or taking up serpents or hearing voices), and because He is in charge, so, I'm supposed to.*
OF COURSE - and, believe me, I have always understood this - this is not the way a relationship with God is actually supposed to work. One is supposed to do things to please Him out of a sincere desire to make Him happy - out of love. I think you get moral credit for doing the right thing because you know it's the right thing, even if you have no enthusiasm for it whatsoever; but if you never have any enthusiasm for doing any good thing, I think that's a problem. St. Therese said that she could no longer suffer for penance because "even suffering is joy to me now." That doesn't mean I get to reject every cross that doesn't make me giddy. But it does indicate what a true trust in God makes of our crosses.

Later in the day on which I was pondering this, a thought tiptoed across my mind, just for a second: what if, instead of all the terribly, tragically inadequate things I could think of doing without children, God has planned for me something that I would love? Not out of obedience - because it's the right thing to train myself to like it because this is all I've got - but spontaneously and sincerely. For just one moment, I had an unspecific image of some future life that was joyful, that was really good for me and not in that take-your-medicine way, and for that moment I felt really happy. Then it vanished, and I was left wondering whether I was even making sense at all.

I have no idea, by the way. And even if I clarified that thought that I had, I don't know whether I'm healthy enough to achieve it. But it was an interesting thought. I will keep praying for trust, and try to get myself back to reading my daily prayer, which I have been conveniently forgetting far more than appropriate. Out of pique with God. Sigh. And I will wait, because that's what I do. Not patiently, but God can't have free-willed creatures and perfect ones too, and this is where I am.

I have to say, this corner of the internet is very patient with me and my aimless spiritual meanderings. Maybe soon I'll post about something happy. Like shoes.

*I recognize this appears to fly in the face of what I said earlier about my faith. I think this is the difference between intellect and temperament. I believe the truth of my faith, with the free assent of my will; I am convinced it's true. If I were not, I would go elsewhere for my principles. But as far as a personal relationship with God? Well, I think He's mean. I probably always have...because I'm cold-hearted myself. See?


  1. I appreciate your honesty. It's hard for me to add to what you've said, or to play devil's advocate, because I identify so closely with your words.

  2. "God can't have free-willed creatures and perfect ones too."
    I think that sums it all up right there. Nobody is perfect. My grandfather was dying for 2 years, was in a lot of pain, and would say that he was glad for all of his suffering here on earth because what suffering he does not do on earth will be completed in purgatory.
    Now, I think that I would welcome physical pain at death over the pain of infertility. Infertility causes a mental anguish that is a different animal completely, I think.
    I don't know. Some people live their whole lives with very little pain and suffering, and still are very devout and godly people. Suffering is obviously not a pre-requisite for heaven, so why are some people required to endure it and not others?

  3. Wow. This post just struck such a chord with me. Although I'm not Catholic (I'm Orthodox), what you said is so much the way I feel. I was hit so hard, blindsided, by another announcement today. And the things I thought were so similar to your thoughts. You just articulated them so much better than I ever could.

    One of my good friends, who also suffered through IF, told me a story one day. She said "I went through IF for years. Suffered, struggled and in a point of frustration, I said to a good friend, Father G. (an Orthodox priest) 'Why do I have to go through this?' and his response was 'God will tell you. You may be dead, but He will tell you why you're travelling this journey'."

    I know Father G myself, he's a cheeky bugger. :P But he's right. As frustrating as it is, we WILL find out, sometime. Just not sure when.

    Big hugs and lots of prayers.