Friday, September 30, 2011

Religion on Beta day #2

My religious beliefs are dense and complicated. I’ll start by saying I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but it’s how I feel and I recognize everyone feels different ways.

I believe that there is a higher power. I do not believe that he/she/it/they is/are actively involved in our lives.

I don’t pray, I don’t know how to pray.

I used to be very religious. I was raised Catholic, went to youth group, went to church every Sunday. But then the Catholic faith started making less and less sense to me. I broke from it in college and haven’t missed it, with the single exception of Christmas Eve.

I don’t believe in a Christian God. I don’t believe that people of other faiths are going to hell if they don’t accept “Him”. I don’t believe in hell or heaven at all, but a much vaguer type of afterlife.

I believe in the teachings of Christ, but I don’t believe that Christ died for our sins, etc. I believe Christ died for my sins in the same way that Jonah lived inside of a whale – symbolically.

I do believe in something. I just haven’t ever been able to put a name to it. I’m not atheistic or agnostic or Christian – if I had to pick I guess I’d say I’m a diest.

When people tell me they’re praying for me, I appreciate it. There are also lots of ways to do the same thing that prayer does, and I appreciate anyone sending concentrated compassion, love, and help my way.

When people tell me “It’s all in God’s plan,” I get pissed off. Don’t tell me that, ever, please. Especially now.


Today I got to the hospital at 6:45 to have my blood drawn for my repeat beta. I usually get there right at 7 when the outpatient lab opens. I was early today so I went down into the depths of the hospital to go to the regular lab with all the scary machines and stuff.

On the way out I passed the chapel. On a whim, I went in.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to read the Bible. I didn’t want to kneel and pray. So I just sat, closed my eyes, and took some deep breaths. I felt myself relax.

On the way out, I noticed a prayer book. Every prayer had a check by it. It moved me to think of someone sitting quietly, meditating on all of these problems.

I read through them, and it helped put my situation in perspective. There is a lot of suffering in the world.

Then I wrote one for us. I wrote “Please pray for my baby, who is only the size of a grain of rice today, but is already loved so dearly. We worked for two years for this pregnancy and faced a lot of heartache along the way. Now I am finally pregnant and very scared.”

It can’t hurt, right?


Chickenpig said...

I would say that your faith and mine are very similar. I do pray, in a fashion, but since I don't really believe in a man in the heavens with a white beard listening to our prayers, I'm not quite sure where that prayer goes. For what it's worth, I'm sending my prayers for you out into the Universe, hoping that my thoughts are heard by whomever and whatever may be out there. Please, please, let this fetus grow and thrive, let it be healthy, let this pregnancy continue worry free, may this fetus grow into a baby and be born healthy and well. Please.

Emily said...

I'm hoping that your beta comes back as such a great level today that you have no reason to worry about anything.

The World Needs More Nerds said...

Great post - very thoughtful and not offensive at all. I loved your note to your baby I even got a little misty-eyed in a good way :)
On a personal note, I think you might have just helped me answer the question of what religion I am! I'd never heard of deism but a quick trip to Google tells me it is spot on so thanks!
Sending lots of positive thoughts for your beta results!!

Alex said...

Great post - I love your thoughts on religion. Very similar to mine. And I teared up when I read your prayer request. Sending you good vibes, or a prayer, or whatever, to you and your little embryo!!!

infertile-thoughts said...

Great post, very thought provoking and not offensive at all. It was honest and I really liked that. I am struggling with "my faith" right now and not sure what to do about it or where I want to go with it. Also, I HATE "God's Plan". Really? He planed this for me then? What kind of God does that?!? So irritating. Again, thanks. :)

Roccie said...

I worship at basically any house that has a door when I am bargaining for a Take Home Baby.

Mrs. M said...

I hope that this doesn't offend you, or seem like a bid to snare you back into the Catholic Church. I won't be offended if you don't post it. I do want to let you know a few things about Catholicism, though, as a theology student - you see, I hear and see Catholics hurt others all the time because they aren't actually clear on Catholic doctrine. There are a million well-intentioned parents and Sunday school teachers getting it just a little bit wrong, and I think that these things can hurt families and individuals.

Catholicism doesn't require that you believe in a man-shaped entity sitting on a quite literal throne; you can if it helps you, but you don't have to in order to be a Catholic. There is a very big theological question as to what the incarnation of Jesus was for - you would be in the company of a lot of Jesuits, for instance, if you thought that a literal interpretation of "died for our sins" was a little simplistic and actually kind of horrifying. Catholicism isn't Biblically-driven or founded (though it does respect the aims of the book) and never has advocated for a literal interpretation of the Bible. Even if a person doesn't "feel it" when she reads the Bible, she can still be a good Catholic.

Importantly, I want you to know that no matter what people might tell you, IVF is not against the infallible teaching of the Church. It was a letter from Pope John Paul II, Humanae Vitae, and not written in the same capacity as an infallible teaching. A LOT of people are mistaken about this.

Again, I respect whatever beliefs you have and will evolve for you, but I can't stand the thought of someone feeling estranged from Catholicism because she was taught incorrectly about what she had to be or believe! Catholicism doesn't preach that people who have other religions are not getting into heaven, so please don't think that I'm trying to "save you" or anything. Who even knows what heaven is?

I do pray for you, not because I think God is going to come down with a pointy finger and make all this business awesome, but because prayer prepares us for whatever happens - it makes a space where we suddenly value peace - and lets us know we're loved.

Anyway, truly, if you ever get a wild hair and want to talk about Catholicism or Christianity beyond the cliches that people have spouted at you - which are, yes, so irritating - I'd be more than happy to. I'm really glad you were able to use the hospital chapel for whatever you needed it to be, in that moment. That's what it's there for.

Colleen @ ID said...

Humanae Vitae is Paul VI not PJP II. Catholicism is the truth, sorry you left your faith. God is active in your life. Just tonight he helped me find a screwdriver to tighten the teeny-tiny screws on our double towel holder. I could have just kept throwing boxes or maybe cursed a bit, but don't think he would have bothered to help me then. I don't agree with other things Mrs. M and I think deism is lame. I pray you come to know the living God, and feel him stir in your soul. Do you not feel your soul either. Don't know how someone could read say the First Letter of John in the Bible and not have their soul stir. If you feel it or miss it on Christmas Eve, then I have hope you will come to know the incarnation is real, Jesus did not symbolically die for our sins, he literally did. Jesus is literally present body, soul, spirit, and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. Not sure how you don't miss that if you were raised Catholic. God bless you and your pregnancy. I hope the love that swells and overwhelms you when you hold your baby provides evidence that God is indeed active. Your suffering from infertility was not his plan for you. There is a cause for it, you might not know until you leave this earth, but there is a reason, and it wasn't God's plan for you.