Monday, April 13, 2009

The Need for Grace

Yep. I've been feeling sorry for myself lately.
It's easy to do.
I only have to think about my upcoming 39th birthday and the fact that I have no husband, no boyfriend, no children. ( and a full-time job that just went part-time. Whoo hoo. )

Never mind the affliction of renewed symptoms which are the only proof that I am a woman, in terms of a physical body - a body that will likely never prove it's feminine worth by bearing a child.
See, when Mr. Burns and I started dating in 2007 - I began experiencing pain where there had never been pain before. In my breasts.

At the same time, one of my favorite journalists - ABC's R*b!n R*berts - was sharing her experience with breast cancer - and urging women to get checked. I decided to see my doctor.
No cause for alarm. The pain and tenderness I was experiencing was not cancer. My doc said it was peri-menopause.

I was in a state of disbelief. I actually said to her, "Do you mean to tell me that I am 37 years old, finally met a man I could think of marrying - only to find out that my childbearing years are even less than I thought?!!!"

She nodded. I love my doctor, but she wasn't sympathetic - just matter-of-fact. Which is fine. Heck if I want sympathy, I'll hire a shrink. She did however, share that she went through it too - and warned me that it's really, really lousy.

Oddly enough, a year later I wasn't experiencing those symptoms anymore. I was back to normal and taking normal for granted.

But now they're back. My typically very flat chest suddenly feels as though it's bursting with lead. The water stream from my shower hurts like he!!. A bra feels like a torture device.

It's all just a reminder that my clock is ticking in an empty room. If a clock ticks in the forest and there's no one there to hear it - does it make a sound? Does it matter?

On the upside, I bought a new bra and it seems I suddenly fill a B cup. Yay me!

Enough about my b**bs. That's a bit of a sidetrack. It's really just a painful reminder of how alone I am and that I'm running out of time.

That I spent the best years of my life (and my best physical condition) practicing abstinence - all the while watching people who don't share their faith, don't live for God and surely don't practice abstinence - getting everything EVERYTHING that I pray for.

I grouse that while I am certain my reward is in heaven - it would be nice to get some reward on earth.

I know. I'm a real piece of work!

But in the end - as much as I mutter about it - I wouldn't change what I do for the Lord. I don't exactly regret it. In actuality, I'm not abstinent for the reward. I do it because it's the right thing to do. And tempted as I may be sometimes - it's not as if I'd rather be a hoochie. When you know the right thing to do - you can't just turn around and do the opposite because it's easier. Even if it is easier.

So, in the midst of my pity party I clicked on the blog of one of the angels of the Internet - Angie at Bring the Rain.
She shared the beautiful Easter story that she reads her girls from their children's bible.
They nailed Jesus to the cross.

"Father, forgive them, " Jesus gasped. "They don't understand what they are doing."

"You say you have come to rescue us!" people shouted. "But you can't even rescue yourself!"

But they were wrong. Jesus could have rescued himself. A legion of angels would have flown to his side-if he'd called.

"If you were really the Son of God, you could just climb down off that cross!" they said.

And of course they were right. Jesus could have just climbed down. Actually, he could have just said a word and made it all stop. Like when he healed the little girl. And stilled the storm. And fed 5000 people.

But Jesus stayed.

You see, they didn't understand. It wasn't the nails that kept Jesus there.

It was love.
Yes. I may grumble about my cross. But as Angie pointed out - it's not the religion - but the relationship that keeps me close to Christ.
I do what I believe because I love God! (if you can see that through my grumbling, you are blessed with a pure heart! That's for certain!)

I know my problems don't sound as great as Angie's or Christ's or R*b!n R*berts' or many, many other people's - but they are mine. My afflicted life is the one with which I encounter the world - so even though it may not seem so terrible to anyone else - it is my cross. Every one's cross looks lighter by comparison. Admit it, you think so too.

It's just that in so many ways, this is not the life I imagineed. Being alone. Struggling just to get by.

Meanwhile -I pray for the grace to carry my cross without the whining. Maybe one day, I'll catch up.


girl from florida said...

TRS- I find your blog so inspiring. You mention feeling discouraged, but you bring about such perspective and wisdom in so many of your posts. I read your post today, then I sat down and prayed for you. I just know God has something amazing in store for you... I can't wait to see where your life takes you.

PS. Is the pain in your breasts just once a month? I also get that- badly- and my doctor told me it was inflamed milk ducts acting up during my cycle... maybe it's not peri-menopause after all.

TRS said...

Thank you GFF.

I'm emailing you some details about the pain to see if it's similar.


AmandaStretch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinxie said...

I love your perspective and hope, even mixed with sadness and doubt. I am so grateful that I found your blog. I, too, have been relating much of Christ's last days to my own plight as a single woman, the loneliness He must have felt, at the same time as an all consuming love I can't even comprehend. And now, He is there for me, and for all us. We, too, need to be there for Him, showing that we love ourselves as much as He does, and follow His words.

Thank you for your post.

Song Lee said...

Believe it or not, your thoughts are probably the thoughts of anyone in their 30s who have yet to bear a child or find a spouse. I feel your emotional pain. You write what I feel, and it is a breath of fresh air. I admire your ability to remain abstinent. It's tough and takes a true relationship with Christ. I always enjoy your blog and look forward to more.

auntie said...

obviously, i'm catching up on your blog after being out-of-touch for a few days... :)

you are so right about our crosses, and how everyone else's seem so much lighter and beautiful and sparkly. i was just thinking the other day about several people i know that have done pretty much everything EXCEPT what's right over the years, and somehow they have the things that i want. how is THAT fair?? well, of course, it's NOT fair, but that's not really the point, is it?

i think what we don't always see about people's crosses is that they might be shiny and sparkly on the surface, but there are probably spikes digging deep into their flesh, into their souls, that represent their hurt and disappointment. just like what you are feeling, right?

i just re-read your sentence that says "it's just that in so many ways, this is not the life i imagined." there's a quote you've probably heard (and i have no idea who to credit it to) that goes something like "you must give up the life you expect so that you can enjoy the life that awaits you". that's a tough one to swallow, but it's really helped me keep things in perspective during my struggles the last year or so.