I have three living children, and a number of babies in heaven. Despite my miscarriage problems, about which I could have done nothing, I have sometimes wondered how delightfully large our family would be if I had not been so stubborn in my youth and young adulthood.
No, wait ... an amendment. In my youth, I was ignorant. When I gained some knowledge, I became stubborn.
The ignorance came from a childhood that was without religion, other than the cultural trappings of Christmas and Easter and a generic mealtime prayer. But, as I grew up and began to ask questions about religion, the stubbornness crept in.
No, I will not be submissive.
No, I will not buy into Christian myths.
No, I will not enter the Catholic Church, which is patriarchal and oppressive.
Sigh. (Why hasn't someone invented an icon for sighing? I'll pay for one.)
My stubbornness kept me away from Christianity for a long time, and then away from the Catholic Church for an equally long time. What if I'd been more open? What if I'd let my guard down, and just tiptoed in that much sooner? What if I'd been open to children before the age of 30? (I talked a little about this in the "I'm so predictable" post.) While it's true that I probably would still have had miscarriages, who's to say what else would have happened in my 20's?
Two thoughts, and two previous writings, come to mind. One is that we can never judge a good Catholic family by the number of children. I'm not saying here that God punished me for my stubbornness. But, I am saying that there's a consequence, for good or for ill, for all of our actions and choices. One consequence of my early stubbornness is that my family is smaller than it might have been. That's a simple fact.
Which brings me to the second thought. Saying, "What if?" is not only not very helpful, it's often counter-productive. What I'm saying here is not that I'm wallowing in the "what-ifs" of my life. They do cross my mind, yes. But I'm not despairing. I'm simply recognizing that choices have consequences. I have paid a price for my stubbornness, and the blessing is that it makes me examine my current life choices all the more carefully. It forces me to think, pray, and act, rather than presume that "there will always be time."
For me, the time to homeschool is now. The time to be the best mother I can be is now. The time to pursue the closest relationship I can possibly have with God is now. The time to write is now.
I'm done with being stubborn. I've found freedom in submission to God, and it's a freedom I could not have believed, imagined or described when I was bound by my stubborn ways. But, describing the paradox of "freedom in submission to God" is another post, and I'm out of time for today. I may stubbornly want to stay here writing and reading, but God, Anne, Betsy and Ramona have other plans.