Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Be Not Afraid, part 2

I mentioned in my last post that I really connected with the song Be Not Afraid for the first time ever at Mass on Father's Day. I've always loved the song, but I never felt like it applied to me.

Until now.

"You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst."

Barren desert? Yep, that is exactly where I am. In a desert of barrenness. Now, I will admit that I have become hypersensitive to fertility-related language over the last year. But words are important. We use particular words for particular reasons. It's not just any old desert, a mostly dry kinda place; it's a barren desert. The song which I've sung so many times got my full attention because of that one little word: barren. I was tuned in. Good thing too, because the second half of that sentence is a promise.

You shall not die of thirst. He isn't going to let that happen. I am making my way through the desert, and it is everything horrible about being a desert, but I shall not die of thirst. This isn't going to kill me. Being infertile, being barren is not going to kill me. I will thirst powerfully, but God promises that this thirst won't kill me. He will bring me through, not matter what happens, no matter whether we leave the desert in this lifetime.

I hope you find that thought comforting, because it has in fact been comforting me. I have a discomfitting story to share, but then I'll come back to this metaphor, ok? Ok.

Just as my pregdar tells me when someone might be expecting, apparently it also helps me figure out who is experiencing fertility issues around me. An acquaintance of mine from a long time ago had some posts on facebook that made me suspicious that she was having some trouble having a baby. So, I wrote her a message and asked if everything was ok. She confirmed my suspicion that she has infertility, but told me something so shocking. Her husband left her after three years of marriage, because she can't have children.

Not cool, dude, not cool.

Now, I am not close with this woman, and who knows what the other factors might have been, but wow, I had never really considered before what it would be like if Husband were so anxious to have children that he'd leave me in order to do it. He has assured me that he married me because he loved me, and that he won't leave me even if my baby-making potential remains very low. Whew! I would just ask that you say a quick prayer for this young woman, as she is preparing to marry someone new and see if they can figure out the fertility puzzles in their lives.

How does this circle back around to the song?

Well, at Mass this past Sunday, the psalm we sang was simple and lovely: I will praise you Lord for I am wonderfully made.

How hard it is to remember that sometimes on this journey through the barren desert! I am wonderfully made. I'm not a mistake. My health issues do not define me in God's eyes. I may be IN a barren desert, but I myself am NOT a barren desert. I am wonderfully made. That applies to all of us, no matter what we have "wrong" with us physically or mentally or emotionally. People on earth may not recognize it, spouses who have promised to care for us in sickness and in health may not keep their promises, but we are WONDERFULLY made.


P.S. You have probably noticed that I can quote church music like crazy, but the Bible or Catechism, not so much. What can I say? I'm a vocalist! And those who sing pray twice, right? Right?!


  1. I've read so many IF bloggers that were worried about what their husbands would do if they never were able to get pregnant - some even told their husbands they were free to leave, since some other woman could give them the child they desired!
    Luckily, I never had that worry - I knew from the beginning that Hubby was 100% married to me for ME, not for my reproductive capabilities, and maybe I'm selfish, but I'd never have thought to encourage him to go elsewhere to have kids. Gah.
    Anyway, there is definitely more to us than our barren wombs, I agree :).

  2. Beautiful reflection! And while I can't carry a tune to save my life, I relate to music so much as well.

    I am heartbroken that your friend's husband left her, though I am hopeful for her in her new marriage. I will keep her in my prayers.

    I've told The Man he can go find someone else that can give him children, and the look in his eyes at such a thought was one of the morst healing moments on this journey. I'd not have blamed him if he did leave, but I sure am glad he didn't!

  3. I love that, the thirst will be bad, but it will not kill us. So sorry to hear about your friend. I can't even believe that! You know, with all people in the infertility blogs, it's so great that this NEVER comes up. Praying for her!

  4. Right!

    We ARE wonderfully made, and I love your reflection on this! What a powerful insight!

  5. That poor woman! I'll pray for her!

    I'm like you in that I can quote sacred music much better than sacred text. I guess God knows that I listen better when He sings to me than when He speaks. Hopefully He appreciates it when I sing to Him too. :)

  6. Yes ... Those who sing pray twice! That's what I tell myself when I warble through a song. I'm not the most in tune singer. Not one bit. :-)
    I am SO sad to read about your friend and how horrible her ex was in leaving her!? Because she was infertile. Cruel. I mentioned to my DH the same option ... He could leave me due to the fact that I can't have kids ... But he says that's the last thing that is important to him.
    We all have good men in our lives. I'm so thankful for that!