Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Today the air conditioning man told me he got "fixed". So, I couldn't resist...

A friendly young air conditioner tech came over to check the system today.

Small talk led to him asking, "So how many kids do you have, anyway?"

"We have eight."

Startled, laughing, "Oh, are you crazy?!"

I was not offended; I could sense a good heart. "Ha ha, well, two are in college, and so only six are in the house right now."

Then he went and said it: "We had three, and then I got fixed."

I didn't even hesitate, and said with a smile:

"Oh, were you broken?"

Nervous laughter, hesitation. He really was not expecting that.

I continued: "My husband definitely isn't broken, ha ha!"

Embarrassed smile, trying to figure out what to say, not quite meeting my gaze: "Well, my wife decided we were done. Three was tough. She is from a big Mormon family, eight brothers and sisters… her sister has six kids… so after three…"

"Uh-huh." (Because I honestly understood.)

"...she said she couldn't handle anymore. So I got, you know…"

I smiled warmly and explained how we hit the same fork in the road, almost took that route: "Gosh, we had the same situation! We had three, and my husband was going to go get…'broken' [I chuckled again, he accepted the joke], but then we changed our minds. He was Jewish, I was a lapsed Catholic, then we had big conversions of heart and went on to have five more kids, all boys."

I sensed his approval, "Yeah, that's so cool. Amazing. We just...I don't know. It's a lot of work."

"I know, it really is. But nothing worth doing is easy. And these boys would not exist…." I gestured toward the two boys nearby.

He nodded. "Yeah, you are so right. We would have been just like you, with eight, if we hadn't have…."

"Yeah…"

We chatted some more. I told him how everything changes, everything is a season, as it's supposed to be. Things become doable as time goes on and children grow up. I explained that we have four of babysitting age now, and my husband and I can go out together on a whim -- and we do. We have a total of five drivers in the family, which changes the dynamics completely. And, far from being put upon, all the children have begged for a new baby, often scolding my husband and me for being the only ones standing in the way of another sibling.

I also reminded this nice man that my kids are going to paying for his Social Security one day, as we have so few young workers coming up to support the aging Baby Boomers. Doing our part for the economy. He laughed and nodded in agreement.

He seemed eager to assure me that he loves children, loves that there are many young faces at his home: "We have all those cousins for the kids, and the neighbor kids come over, too. We have lots of kids around the house all the time, and it's great."

I told him, honestly, how wonderful that is. Big smiles. Have a great day, thanks again, very friendly.

And I am sad. He seemed sad, too. I think he knows what a blessing children are. I sensed this was not his decision. I sensed that he loves his wife, he loves his kids, and he is a good daddy. I sensed that he cut his family short too soon and would have been overflowing with love for any other child(ren) that could have -- would have -- blessed his marriage.

Anyway, that was a vignette from my day. Back to homeschooling now.



Related post:  Sterilization: Is it getting "fixed" or getting broken?





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69 comments:

  1. So sad and wonderful that you were able to articulate it well. Maybe he will go on to influence someone away from "fixing" themselves.

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  2. Well done, Leila. Teaching the Faith at its best. Honest and gentle. I hope your savvy rubs off on me for those times when I'm challenged or see an opportunity such as you did.

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  3. A week or so ago, a lady commented on how cute my youngest was and told me wanted another baby but she'd been "fixed." I said the same thing as you - "Were you broken?" Her reply was, "My husband thought I was." It was so sad! I felt terrible for her.

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  4. My son also was "fixed" while living with his girlfriend (now "ex") at the age of 24. I found out by accident and am so sad for him; my heart aches for the choice he made, believing the lie that he was being noble and responsible.

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  5. Our culture is a pollution for families.
    Sadly, so many young adults do not want to "work" hard at anything.
    No sacrifice.

    Your conversation with the young man was brilliant. I am sad for him too.

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  6. Honestly, I think one of the more horrendous things of our age is the pace at which people "fix" (or actually BREAK!) themselves. It's such a permanent move, and I feel like it is undignified to reduce humans to the status of animals (I mean, spaying and neutering animals is so different!!)

    It's so sad that so many people see humans on that same level though. so. so. sad.

    I have often wondered why it is that the spouse who doesn't want more children outweighs the spouse who isn't sure or might want more children. My husband and I use NFP and are open to life. My husband has said he doesn't want more children before...but over time, that turns into, "I'm not ready for another baby...RIGHT NOW" and then ultimately, it's changed to "If it's God's will..." and we have been blessed with five children (so far). I have wanted to explore it on my blog, but I worry about whether I can do the topic justice, LOL

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  7. This is kind of off topic but has been bothering me. My wife informed me her friend is pregnant again. They had been trying for a while and if it did not happened her friend by the end of the month she was going to go on some sort of birth control. Here is what I am struggling with said friend lives away from us but has her children baptised in her "home" Catholic church. Yet she is does not attend Catholic church where she is living now since her husband is athetist and the only church he will attend is the Cowboy Church. The part I am really struggling with is she wants us to be the Godparents, yet she shows no desire to raise the kids Catholic. Sorry for the ramble.

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    1. Hmmm… wow, that is tough. I wonder if you could gently ask them if they intend to raise the children Catholic? You could put it on yourself ("because the vows we take as godparents would mean that we are happily obligated to help you in the promise you make to raise them Catholic, and I have to tell the truth before God"). Does that make sense? I think a priest should have to have a signed statement from their regular parish in order to baptize the child, but I suppose that not all priests are careful to make sure that the child would at least have a reasonable chance to be raised in the Faith. So sad.

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  8. I'm starting not to even like term "family planning" in any context. I love NFP, but what's been done to that term is still off-putting.

    "Family Planning" is what brought us the concept of unintended pregnancy, unwanted children, getting fixed, and of course abortion.

    Nice story Leila! At least if there are regrets, an honest discussion can heal them. LOL, I read your title and thought, "Oh boy, he doesn't know who he's talkin' to!"

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  9. I love this post. I am so guilty of retreating into my own world that I miss some awesome opportunities to really connect and communicate with another human being. Your conversation and how you handled the subject matter was AWESOME!

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  10. I love this. A few of my girlfriends and I were talking recently about how you can "turn the other cheek" when someone makes a comment about large families or children. Its so funny to see their surprise and responses. When at the grocery store someone might say, "wow. You have your hands full!" And you can respond, "of love!" With a big smile, and it will wake them out of their mindset to think about things in a different light. I'd say your day was productive, Leila! :)

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    1. I like that one, Manda. I often say, "I had my hands full with ONE!" Which is frightfully, totally true. : ) Great post. Thank you , Leila!

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  11. YOU ARE ONE BRAVE WOMAN!

    I avoid topics like that at all costs.

    You are such a witness to the gospel of life!!

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  12. I'm really struggling with this. On the one hand I love the idea of having a house full of children and I want to accept the teachings of the Church in this respect. The problem is we have been without significant employment for a long time, and it's not getting better. In fact things are getting worse, because every stupid mistake we've made in the last two years is jumping up in our faces and demanding payment. We bought a house because we were in a position to do so when we got married but then the market went to hell and my husband lost his job and we can't even sell it. We made a small mistake on our joint income tax forms last year and suddenly this year the gov't picked up on it and now wants money back for an overpayment on a tax refund, money we don't have. We've been praying and praying, and doing all of the right things, living simply, looking constantly, and nothing is changing, and there is a baby on the way. God seems to want to send us babies, (we were practising NFP when I got pregnant because of this situation and I got damn pregnant anyway) but sticks His fingers in his ears when we ask him to help my husband or myself find enough work to pay the bills. We have no income for the summer and the baby's due, and will have no income in September either because I've passed the four-year mark as a Graduate Student. So yes, this whole thing sucks to hell. Sometimes I think life was easier as a pagan. I wasn't wracked by the internal contradictions of trying to be an academic and a Catholic which have left me struggling in my career. If I wanted to use birth control I used it. I love my daughter and I will love this baby that comes in July, but what the hell does it matter if God is refusing to do his part? If he has left us completely alone and forsaken and facing the brunt of every storm that comes?

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    1. God bless you. These struggles are temporary, they are circumstances that will change, and none of these sorrows will overshadow the joy you get from your children. My husband and I have been through times like these. Be brave. Accept these crosses.

      The IRS will let you go on a payment plan, but you have to communicate. We did Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (google it, and find a class in your area), and it has brought us financial peace.

      God is good, and He loves you. Perhaps read "Abandonment to Divine Providence". Pray, keep going to reconciliation, keep trying to do God's will. His will is usually "the next right thing." I will pray for you.

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    2. I love your post. I have no solution except "Don't Quit Five Minutes Before the Miracle Happens." Thank you for your candor. Most of us have endured it too, it's stupefying. Love from Alaska.

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  13. But for the Grace of God, there I would have gone. I had told myself several years ago that I was going to get myself "fixed" for my 40th birthday. What the heck, I was single then, and certainly not thinking about more children, and not really about marrying anyone, and certainly not about being Catholic.

    But as I tell people, I am proof of God's sense of humor. Three months before my 40th birthday, I started getting a nudge that I needed to return to my Catholic roots. My 40th came and went, and while I still thought contraception was okay, I seemingly forgot about the getting "fixed" thing. Three weeks later of course, I started RCIA inquiry, met this great lady in the class, and fell head over heels in love with her and our Catholic faith. I finally got it one night about contraception.

    I'm glad that I never got snipped, and have remained open to God's plan for us. As most of you know, we have not been able to have children, but it does look that we may be blessed soon with an adopted son, who will be loved just as much as if he were our biological son.

    I know some men that are sad that they got "fixed", but most don't understand, and are okay with it. I am sad for them, that they will never know the joy possible.......

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  14. Intimategeography, life was definitely easier as a pagan. 100%. Guaranteed. Following Christ's path is hard, make no mistake, but it is so worth it. I know what it is like to feel like God plugs his ears when you ask him for something (for years I prayed and prayed for a baby only to be met with the reality of infertility). It was a very deep suffering, but so many amazing fruits were developing and I'm a better person for having gone through it.

    It is hard to see in the midst of the storm, but God isn't refusing to do His part. His plan is better than ours and the storms in our lives have purpose-He is able to bring good from bad. We must not refuse to do our part-to trust Him. It is so very difficult. But reassure yourself that God is good, that He loves you, and that He has a plan for you that is better than your own. Then take life as it comes. I think holiness (and trusting) is very overwhelming, but the battle is won one moment of surrender at a time.

    Prayers for you!

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  15. Oh, Barbara. *hugs* I've been where you are (baby on the way, no money, lots of debt) and it's so hard. But my life radically changed and yours could too. It's just so hard to see the peaks when we're in the valley.

    I hear you saying that if you'd been on contraception, you wouldn't have gotten pregnant... which may be true, but may not be. And when the baby comes in July, I *know* you'll be so grateful that s/he was conceived, despite your misgivings.

    Also, I try to remember the Parable of the Teacup.

    That's life, friends. That's my life and it is your life. Some of you are in the oven, screaming, hollering, "Let me out of here!" Some of you are getting painted and the fumes are bothering you and driving you crazy. Some of you are spinning around and you don't know where you are. You're saying "What's going on? It's a mess here," and the Master keeps looking and saying, "Not yet, not yet." You see, you've got to trust Him.

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  16. Barbara,
    I empathize. I wish I had a solid answer of wisdom and all that but I think it's just a time where you need to hear "keep on, sister." Will pray for you.

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  17. intimategeography,

    Aw, I 'm so sorry. When it rains it pours. Hang on, ask God for grace and then cling to it even when you could swear the whole world has tilted sideways. You will get through this, it will pass, and someday I promise you'll look back and it will make so much more sense. I will keep your family in my prayers.

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  18. The sad irony is that I felt broken when I couldn't conceive. Now, I feel fixed. But really fixed, not "fixed" the way society says.

    Good for you, Leila, for being an advocate for life! I'll pray for that young man and his family, and those in a similar situation.

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  19. You go Leila!!! I love that you changed his thinking. Honestly, what kind of society do we live in when we have people saying they're getting "fixed" so nonchalantly!

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  20. Intimategeography, I am so sorry. I promise you God has not left you alone. He did not leave Jesus alone on the Cross, nor Mary in her suffering, nor any of the saints. He is always there. I have a million things to say to you, but I know that a) you already know the things I'd say and b) it may not be helpful right now, so I will just send you a cyberhug, thank you for your brilliance (have you all read her blog??) and pray for you to find the peace you need in the storm. I agree, life, temporarily, is easier as a pagan. Emphasis on the "temporary" part. You're in a dark place now, and wise man once said never to make decisions or even trust your own perceptions when your "emotional elevator" is low. Because when it is, your perception of reality is distorted. I find this to be so true in my own life and marriage. I say and do the most horrible things when I am emotionally wiped out. And then later, when I am "even keel" and recovered, I look back with great regret. I think we all do that. We are all learning.

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  21. You have a big mouth, Leila, and I'm so glad!

    I wish my mouth was as big as yours. :-)

    I emphasis for the guy, but it's hard for me to think that this is sad when someone shows someone else the light.

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  22. The thing is, I am so happy to be pregnant and so disheartened by the utter lack of help coming from any quarter, divine or human, all at the same time. It's like there is total joy, because a new life is joy, and babies are awesome, and I can't wait to hold this new little person in my arms. And there is total sorrow because each slammed door in my husband's face, and mine is just another reminder that the world is immeasurably hostile and God refuses to answer our prayers. I know that contraception isn't the answer, it's not a solution, cutting off your ovaries to smite the universe as it were. I just wish these two things weren't happening at the same time, that I could celebrate my pregnancy and my baby fully without it being conjugated with anxiety and uncertainty.

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  23. Wow, great conversation, brought tears to my eyes. His heart knows, his soul knows it is missing out. His soul knows what's wrong. You know, maybe your conversation will help him to give good advice to his kids if the time arises.

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  24. Intimategeography, this is a totally academic exercise right now, so forgive me -- I am in my "brain" now and not in my heart: When you say that "God refuses to answer my prayers" what do you mean by that? That he is being spiteful or stubborn? For example, what would you if someone who is dying of cancer (or has lost a true love through betrayal, etc.) said that God was refusing to answer their prayers and "make it right"?

    I guess I am just wanting to think it through intellectually, to know what you are saying. Out the door, hope that came out right!

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    1. I think for me, the issue is it's a simple request, one which would correspond with what He is asking of us in regards to being fruitful in our marriage. How can you be fruitful without the terrain in which do to it? How can you be fruitful in a desert? I don't think He's being spiteful because that's not possible. I don't know what His thought process is and I can't even begin to guess. All I know is our prayers have gone unanswered for months, earnest prayers, uttered in faithfulness, and every interview ends in a one-line e-mailed "f..k you" uttered in perfectly polite HR speak . I know some things are caused by perverted human will, which God can't change. (hence if a person cheats on their spouse God can't prevent that from happening although He can try to dissuade them from it.) While other things are caused by life in a fallen world (Sickness etc.). Sometimes the help is in a different way than one would expect, thus maybe for the soul of the person dying of Cancer, God allows the person to die in order for their soul to be saved. All of this is only speculation, as I said, I just don't know.

      All I know is what I am asking for is such a little thing, and so important. It's not raising the dead or stopping a war. All we need is one "yes" from one person or company and that has not been given, and it has been a year and a half.

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    2. For what it's worth (and it might not be much!), I went through a formal program of prayer, years ago, and it was the most fruitful thing I have ever done (of course, just like me, I abandoned it and have come nowhere as close to that level of closeness to God since!!). But one principle truth that was taught from the first day was "Nothing is accidental, everything is gifted providentially." There is not one thing that happens to any of us that is not for our sanctification and our ultimate good. Not one thing. I hope you cling to that knowledge, as this is bigger than you, bigger than a job, bigger than any of us. And while we can't know the mind of God, we can know without doubt that He only allows suffering to bring about a greater good. I agree with the commenter above who recommended Abandonment to Divine Providence.

      And on the practical: Is it time to think of another field of work? Even something not desirable, until the economy gets better? My husband did room service delivery at a hotel (with a master's degree) when I was unemployed and we had a new baby and it was a recession (early '90s). This went on for almost a year, and I know it can be so tough, but eventually there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

      (One other thing that program of prayer taught was always to ask, "What is God teaching me?" in whatever situation one is in. Think in terms of "What virtue am I supposed to be learning or practicing?")

      Again, just my two cents. Hugs!!

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    3. I can't add anything to the spiritual thoughts here -- I completely agree with all that has already been said! Just on a personal note regarding a less desirable job, my husband worked at the Amazing 99 Cents Store after he graduated with his degree for about $6.00 an hour. This was about ten years ago. This was also during a recession, and about 400 people applied for that job. We completely understand some of those struggles. He has long since left his humble beginnings and built a strong career for himself. But even during this most recent recession, he came very close to losing his position after his company cut most of his office -- They didn't have anyone left to cut! I was pregnant at the time with our third. Now life has taken us in a completely different, exciting and somewhat scary, direction in the career department (law school with a family!). Despite our ups and downs in the last ten years -- too many to recount here -- we always survived. I hear you on the struggling. I am finally learning to just trust God on these things despite the suffering, but I'm not completely there yet. I still get extremely stressed when in the valleys :). You will be in our prayers.

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  25. Intimategeography: I've sooooo been there. We suffered years of serious underemployment and many sufferings that went along with that. Please feel free to email me. My email is on my blog. I empathize. God bless.

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  26. Nice work Leila! I'm becoming more bold as I'm hearing more and more comments about our "big" family...with only 3 kids! Crazy world.

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  27. This made me think of the book I've been reading recently. It's the story of a woman who was on the Biggest Loser. She gained about 100 pounds after her husband, 5 year old, and two week old were all killed in a car accident.
    She's talking about her life with her family before the accident, and she mentioned how while she was having the c-section for her son's delivery, they did...you guessed it, a tubal. They had their "perfect boy and girl" so they were "done". Now this poor woman has no children and will never get to experience biological motherhood again in this life. She's only in her mid-30's. It broke my heart.

    I do not understand how anyone can mutilate their bodies in such a final way. It's mind boggling.

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  28. thank you so much for your honesty. I am from a family of a "fixed" dad. It is very sorrowful for our small family. I think my mom is sad, too. She has 30+ first cousins!

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  29. IntimateGeography,
    I will pray for you tonight. Please know that I am financially in a somewhat stable place, I have three boys, and when I was young I worried and worried and worried about financial ruin and all that. I would now gladly move to a much smaller house, have only one car and never eat out (not that I do that anyhow) if I could go back and have my children earlier to as to have more and to not have wasted so many years. Ask and accept help from others and accept that you might never be able to repay it. Asking for financial help from someone was anathema to me. I thought I had to prove to the world I could do it all. It led me straight into a terrible eating disorder.

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  30. I agree with Mary. Do you have a good St. Vincent de Paul nearby? What about relatives who might help?

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  31. IntimateGeography, Earlier today I was talking to a friend of mine about all the trials in my life and how quiet God is being. She told me "You need to remember that the Teacher is always quiet during the test." I laughed with her but it's true, and just the reminder I needed. It's hard right now, but He's there waiting to see what kind of answers you come up with.

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  32. I've been in that same conversation before, a few times, but did not have your courage!

    As someone who considers herself beyond blessed to have conceived one miraculous time and perhaps never again, it still makes me so sad to think about all those who can conceive at will and yet permanently cut off their fertility. And to think many would probably think they'd rather be in our shoes.

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  33. I should note that I am usually like everyone else and I avoid such face-to-face discussions like the plague, ha ha. But this time, I was strengthened by the recent memory of something JoAnna had written. (She had the same discussion with a random woman recently. The "Were you broken?" line was right there on my lips, thanks to her.) And, this A/C guy seemed very approachable and kind, so that helped. Plus, he was the one who brought it up. So, I wish it were courage, but I think it was merely that the conditions were ripe. Maybe God knew I needed material for a blog post??

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  34. So often, it's the man/husband who hopes for more! (Which I find touching and also sad when he is pressured into getting "snipped"). I realize a lot of women would argue they have to carry the baby, so it's their "call," but really, that bothers me in that it denies that marriage is a partnership as is parenting and that dads count just as much as moms! And I always felt like if I could meet a man who was open to life, he'd be a great find. :) (Which I did, thank goodness).

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  35. Barbara, as usual, I'm coming into the conversation late. I had only scanned the comments when commenting the first time, I feel bad now that I was joking around (about your big mouth, Leila) when you were feeling so bad about something that is so hard.

    I just wanted to say that I totally understand where you are coming from. Both emotionally and financially. I think most of us can say this, actually. We've all been there.

    Growing up, there were times when I would sigh and think, "Why do we have to be Catholic?" There are times when it's a heavy cross to carry. It made me different. Unique. "Special" according to some unkind students. I was a virgin, always one that didn't laugh at that dirty jokes or when a student was being teased. I was targeted as "Christian" because of the way I behaved. Sometimes it just seemed like it would be easier to just be like the rest of the world. But at the same time, because of my faith, it saved me from falling into the mistakes that so many teenagers fall into. Because I was a virgin and resolved to stay one, I never worried about teenage pregnancy. Because I didn't laugh at those jokes, I was excluded from the crowd that most likely would have caused me to go downhill with them. It was hard to understand at the time, but looking back, my faith kept me on the straight and narrow. Obedience does this too. And as hard as it is to be obedient to the Church, I'm sure you see how she is protecting us in the long run.

    Very quickly, let me just say that we also have been there financially and continue to be! From the time we were married, we have relied (mooched) on my parents. I got pregnant right away and we needed to move out of my one bedroom apt but had no money for a house. My parents generously bought a house, and we now rent it from my mom. We had a 5 year plan to move out. Within those five years, the economy went down, my husbands hours got cut, I had 2 more kids, and our saving kept depleting. Then just when we began to get back on our feet and I finally returned to work as a nursing assistant, I got pregnant again and our money had to go to bills to pay for the hospital stay. Nine days after my baby, I had a heart attack and our medical bills then went to my ICU stay, helicopter and ambulance ride and all else that went with it. After finally paying that off, I again got pregnant, and had to do multiple drs visits for close monitoring and now our savings is gone.

    We are still mooching off my mom, but trying hard to do what we can to pay our own bills. We really want to move into a house of our own, if not rent from someone else to relieve her of this financial burden. My dad died a year and a half ago, and she has enough on her plate.

    So I do get where you're coming from! We've all been there, and it's so hard. I'm sure I'm repeating what others have said (didn't read through all the comments) but I will be praying for you. It's so hard not to become discouraged but even if you're just acting on a will to believe, God will work with you. I really like your blog by the way, you are so insightful. God has done so much with you and continues to.

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  36. Just one more thought, and then I will shut up.

    Jesus said hanging on the cross, "My God, why have You abandoned Me?" If Jesus can say it, so can you. He gives us permission to be completely human and to question Him.

    I had said this prayer (or something like it)one day when things were going badly. I was trying to keep my chin up and be brave all day but finally blubbered out, "God, I'm trying to act Christian here and do this right, but You're not HELPING ME!" It was a completely human and honest prayer, probably exactly what God was waiting for. After that, my day got easier because I finally asked for help.

    If you're wondering why He's not answering your prayer, then just ask Him. Hash it all out with Him and be blatantly honest. It's what He's waiting for. He already knows what's in your heart but he wants your honesty and trust to lay it all out in front of Him. You'll see, then He'll answer your prayers.

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  37. So awesome Leila. Convicting but not judgemental. Good for you. I was in the doctor's office the other day and when the nurses and doctor found out I had 5, they were all in shock, but not as shocked as they were to find out I wanted more! I just said "You know, they are each jewels, and I just can't wait to see what the next one will be like! They are such blessings." All of them were open mouthed, and then shaking their heads in disbelief.

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  38. @ intimategeography I just wanted to send you a cyber hug. When everything seems to be going wrong I just focus on things that go right and am grateful for them. Sometimes the littlest things like my morning cup of coffee, when I smile at a stranger and they smile back, it changes my perspective a bit and opens the conversation with God, what you're going through is tough no doubt.. and nothing I can say will make it better but being that you're made it this far, you'll make it again. I have noticed that I am drawn to other people (in an office or social setting) and then later on in our friendship I realize that they are Catholic too; and what I am seeing is the Holy Spirit in their hearts, you have Him in you, find comfort in His presence, it will all work out. My hugs and prayers are with you.

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    1. Yep, Catholicism is hard, but oh so awesome. I've written a lot about unemployment on my blog. Like many, I had a retirement fund but no more. I have debt from here to the moon. I'm underemployed. I have no spouse, no children. Somehow I am happy. Work as hard as you can to make ends meet and give it to God. Do NOT try to out-think God. That's what I learned.

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  39. Leila...LOVE THIS! It sounds as if it was a beautiful conversation and one that surely left him thinking. Even if he does not get "un-broken" he will surely never make that remark to a stranger again (which is a total score in itself!).

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  40. Leila, I love that, "Are you broken?" I will be borrowing that if you don't mind. I hear the "I got fixed" line a lot. Our 7 beg for more siblings as well. So awesome how that happens in big families. With my recent surgery, the kids were just as sad as my hubby and me. (I'm pretty sure that's grammatically correct, the homeschooler in me likes to be correct!:D However, it's early here!) Have a blessed Triduum!! Thanks so much for your blog. I LOVE when I see a post in my inbox; it makes me smile!!

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  41. It's such a sad conversation!

    So true about the seasons. I'd kill for 4 babysitters! Oh my gosh!

    Even being at home and filling dinner-one sister had Hannah, one sister did the dishes and my mom and I cooked. My load was cut and it was so nice. ;) lol

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  42. I love that you had that conversation with him :) How beautiful.

    As to the answer to your question... considering I have layed out in excess of $45,000 trying to get "fixed" and still not being able to... I'd say sterilization is getting broken. On purpose.

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  43. Becky said, "Jesus said hanging on the cross, "My God, why have You abandoned Me?" If Jesus can say it, so can you. He gives us permission to be completely human and to question Him. "
    That is a very good point Becky. I needed to hear that.

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  44. For some reason this story brought tears to my eyes. What a great witness you are! Last night at my son's preschool meeting, when the guest speaker was introduced, we were told she had a big family of 3 boys. And the introducer was shaking her head in awe.

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  45. And the beauty of Psalm 22 gets even better. When Jesus said those agonized words, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" his Jewish hearers would have immediately recognized them as Scripture (they were very familiar with the Psalms), and they would have immediately known that Psalm and its ending. What starts out in agony ends in salvation and the triumph of the Lord, with the defeat of evil and the Lord ruling the nations. It is the most beautiful thing, and it's hope for anyone who feels crushed and abandoned.

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  46. I have heard that men can get reversals much easier than women. Would it be too tacky to mention in these kind of conversations? Maybe plant a little seed to get him thinking about possibly fixing his "fix"?

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  47. I love reading your posts. Thank you so much for posting this.... I love the idea of "fixed" really being "broken".

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  48. It's funny - I get the same sense of hidden sadness from so many couples I know who got 'broken'. There's a sad sense of wondering what could have been. They always get 'broken' while the youngest is a baby or young toddler. Then, after a few years, life gets much easier, and I suppose that's when they start to ignore (by necessity, since they got themselves 'broken')the inevitable baby fever that comes along once life gets simpler.

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  49. @intimategeography--first, a cyberhug, because you're in a tough, frustrating spot. Second, you mentioned the tension between being an academic and a mother--whoa boy, do I know that one! My guess is you're surrounded by people who have maybe one child, and who think of pregnancy/childbearing/motherhood/womanhood in radically different ways than you are coming to see them as a convert to Catholicism. This has been one of the biggest struggles in my life, as I have a Ph.D. and 3 kids myself, and it's tough not because I sometimes feel like two different people, which can't be good. I'm in the process of working through those things myself, so I just want to say--blessings on you, and I will be praying for you.

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  50. Leila, I'd take it one step further and say not only would they recognize the Psalm and its ending, but they (those who overheard Jesus say "My God, my God...") would immediately be confronted with the reality in front of them, and the fulfillment of Scripture in front of their eyes. Because that Psalm also speaks about the casting of lots for clothing, and other very specific details that were (and had already) taken place right then and there.
    :)
    I love me some Bible as Literature :)

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  51. Miss Leila,

    Great post. Much more pleasant and probably more effective than the line I normally use, "What are you, a dog?"

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  52. Leila, that is a sad conversation.

    We need to change the language from getting fixed to something else. You (not you you) are taking a working part and making it unworkable.

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  53. what a great post. thank you for sharing and speaking truth into real life.
    my good friend's husband had a vasectomy because i quote "they would have had to buy a bigger vehicle". so at age 23.. a boy and a girl. he became fixed.

    it still makes me sad.

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  54. lidiapurple, I think I will do that next time! I will remind him that it can be reversed! :) Have several friends who have done so.

    may b, that is so sad. I have a friend who did the same, at age 22. Many years later, they are very regretful. :(

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  55. Hmm...I'd might have to steal that line from you. For me the conversation probably would've been a bit different though.

    Him: "...and then I got fixed."

    Me: "I wish I could get fixed. At 11 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. That means my immune system decided that my joints were foreign matter and have been attacking them ever since to the point where I can barely move my wrists and can't turn my head very well. It would be lovely to be able to fix my immune system's thought process so I don't have to be on all of my medication. What was broken about you?"

    I don't think I could even imagine what the answer would be like. I would say "I wish I could get fixed", but in reality I don't know. If the opportunity presents itself for me to end my arthritis I would, but I don't think if I had the option of going back in time to fix myself I would do it. Being 23 and explaining to people why you can't join them with things that are normal for my peers to do for fun (like bowling, basketball, soccer, etc) and hearing "You're too young for arthritis!" (Apparently the arthritis didn't think so.) can be annoying after 12 years of it.

    However I have found an inner strength that I don't know if I would've ever found if I didn't have it. I was 12 and my arthritis was progressing quite rapidly and I was sitting in the doctor's office every 3 months hearing about how I'd have to have wrist and knee replacements by 21 at the latest and/or be walking with a cane/in a wheel chair and would be in therapy over and over again. I was listening to therapists tell me after I had just started learning to play the flute that I would have to give it up since my fingers were curling inwards towards my palms and while they could straighten them they would curl up again and I wouldn't be able to spread my fingers to reach the keys. I had my peers calling me "grandma", asking why I moved so slow, and why my joints were so big. No one seemed to understand and I seemed to be the only one that had such a sickness. With all of that, like someone above mentioned in their time in the valley, I just cried out "Why?! Why have you abandoned me?" to God and heard (I'm not speaking metaphorically either) "Just wait a bit longer, you'll see." Not even two weeks later I saw an article about a boy in my town who at age 8 had recently been diagnosed with RA as well. It went to explain about how the arthritis was progressing and what was being done to treat it. From that I found out that there was a new drug (Enbrel, it's a self injection medication) being used and got permission from my doctor to try it since the other medications weren't working very well.

    It's now 12 years later, I've been third seat in my high school band on flute, I still play my flute, I've never had wrist/knee replacements, I don't walk with a cane, I don't need a wheel chair, and the best thing of all was that because of the medication the spread and severity of my arthritis has slowed down so much that I have had little to no loss of motion in my joints/little or no bone damage for the past 6 years.

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  56. Whenever someone says: "Because of your arthritis you can't..." I turn right around and try. Sometimes I fail, most of the time I don't. I've learned that I myself determine how limiting my disease will be to me (whether it be doing things I know I shouldn't and then living with the painful consequences the next day or someone saying I can't but I know in my heart and soul that I can so I do it and surprise them and encourage them to do what they think they can't do).

    For people going through tough times, hang on. Trust me God has way better plans for what you're going through than you can even imagine. It's ok to cry and question, I can't even count the number of times I wanted to yell at someone because of my frustration and God was a very easy target so He always got the brunt of it. Yet each time I would yell I would turn around and look at what I've got and see that while got isn't answering my prayers for "A cure right now!" I saw the support of so many people around me and other things that God allowed me to do.

    It's been 12 years for me and people still ask me "How do you do it? I don't know how I would've gone on after hearing all of that from my doctors."

    To me it's come down to a simple prayer, "God, I'm gonna do it again. I'm gonna put my trust in you to make sure I don't screw something up too bad. They told me I can't do something because of the life you have given me and you know how I hate that. I ask for your protection. Not my will but yours be done. Amen."

    I know it's kind of a crude way to talk to the Lord (and trust me I can get very flowery and poetic when I'm sitting in awe of something he's done for me), but I have learned to give Him all of me including my way of talking to those I hold extremely dear. If I can look my earthly father in the face and say "Can you be on the look out to pick up the pieces I'm gonna go out on a limb again?" Why shouldn't I turn to my heavenly father who has known me just as long and say the same thing?

    The Lord has given me the chance to be an observer. I don't know how many people pass the same things I do and when I point out details they say, "I didn't even notice that. That's neat." just because they have the option of always being in motion without having to take a break. Take your troubles, give them to the Lord, you can ask Him for what you want to happen, but just because you don't get it doesn't mean He's not listening. It's more likely He's giving you just a bit more support in the form of something small to get past the moment so that later on you can see what He really plans for you.

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  57. Fey, your words are inspirational! God is using you in mighty ways. Thanks for putting it into perspective, what it means to be "fixed".

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  58. Fabulous, Leila!!!! I'm getting caught up over here. Loved this line "But nothing worth doing is easy." AMEN! You are so right and I will remember that when I'm pulling out my hair.

    And CL (I think)- I totally agree and have used that line before. "You're not broken- I am!!!" Fertility is not a disease!!!

    Love your perspective and your heart, Leila. Love you!

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