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“She has a runny nose,” I confessed as I was heading out the door of the church nursery.
“Is it clear?” The supervisor asked glancing at me from the corner of her eye.
“Mostly,” I admitted.
“If it has any color at all, she can’t stay,” she plainly stated.
I was speechless. I picked baby girl up and motioned for Luke to join us and the three of us walked quietly out the door.
I spent most of Mass in the crowded cry room trying to appease baby girl. It was not what I had in mind.
I needed Mass today. I needed time to be quiet and still, to rejuvenate and worship. It’s not what I got. And why was I stuck in the cry room? Because I did the right thing, I could have easily not mentioned it. They probably never would have noticed. Every other child had a snotty nose. It’s January for crying out loud.
It’s hard in those moments not to notice those things. I know I am supposed to look straight ahead like a horse with blinders but everything in me wants to glance to the left and the right. This type of distraction is dangerous. It takes your eye off the prize.
A few months ago after Father Foley gave a powerful homily at Mass about the power in saying yes to life in a country plagued by a culture of death. I found myself thinking “We can do this again. We can have another baby.”
Although it was not our intention that fateful night, I have no doubt that it was God’s.
Nine weeks later I am a mess. Green with morning sickness overwhelmed by emotion and grieved by my overwhelming shortcomings as a mom to the six children I already have, I find myself looking at every other family, taking notice of the difference in lifestyle of those who have less. They can keep up with their house work, eat out, sleep in now and then and find time for themselves.
You chose this, I can hear others say. And I have to admit to myself, they are right. I chose this. While I did not check the box next to hurl your dinner or scream at your kids in a hormonal rage or lay prostrate of the closet floor in despair that nothing fits. I did check the box next to; I come here freely and without reservation to give myself, I will honor this man and I will accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church. I will love in sickness and health and for richer and poorer until death do us part.
So here we are, scared and broken trying desperately to live out our vows.
In those grave moments when every other choice seems easier and more attractive we question ourselves. Are we really doing the right thing?
Then like manna from heaven come the compelling words of Gregory Nazianzen, a fourth century saint, right into my living room.
Give a portion to seven that is, to this life, and even to eight (our baby we lost!!), the life that will receive us after this one; give little to him from whom you have so much; give even the whole to him who has bestowed all. You will never surpass God’s generosity even if you hand over your entire substance and yourself in the bargain. Indeed, to receive in the truest sense is to give of oneself to God. No matter how much you offer, what remains is always more; and you will be giving nothing that is your own because all things come from God.
Yes, all things come from God! This beautiful life growing inside of me is pure gift. An undeserved gift to a distracted girl, who knows deep within her being, that as much as she would love to dine out or sleep in, or bask in a few moments of silence, nothing can subtract from the eternity of seven.