Saturday, December 20, 2008

from the archives: I'm So Predictable

I wrote this in '05, my first year of blogging, and have rerun it each December since then.

I'm rerunning it again, because that's part of what makes me so predictable. And, it's all still true, except that Anne-with-an-e is now old enough to babysit, and Ramona gets easily through the Mass. And, this year, though our date night may not happen, since Atticus and I indulged in an overnight getaway last weekend, we'll still have the same conversations. And the ending?

Predictable and true.


My husband and I have a holiday tradition. Every year, close to Christmas, we get a babysitter, go out for Chinese food, buy all the last-minute ...

** (WARNING: Santa spoiler ahead) **

... stocking stuffers and generally fall in love all over again -- with each other, with our children, and with the magic of Christmas. We talk about our days, about my parents and his, about holiday travel plans, about how we'll keep the youngest child happy and calm during the long Christmas Eve Mass. And we talk about how we can't believe how drastically our Christmases have changed over the years.

You see, when we married, we didn't want children. Children were nice enough for other people, but not for us. We didn't want the mess, the commitment, the responsibility. We were happy to be "child free" as opposed to "childless."

Then something happened. I became a Christian.

Oops. Short-circuit in the selfishness department. I began to long for a child. Soon, Atticus's heart caught up with mine in the procreation department, and we set forth to create a family. After some heartbreaking miscarriages, we had Anne. But only one child, Atticus said. One child is enough.

Then I became a Catholic.

Oops. Short-circuit in the openness to life department. We had Betsy. Several more heartbreaking miscarriages later, God awarded us with Ramona, and here we are. Falling in love again at Christmas time, and crazy, head-over-heels in love with our children.

And all because of of a Child born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Had Mary said, "No, thank you, I'd like to remain child-free," I would be childless. There would have been no conversion, no short-circuit, and most certainly, no joy. How does one thank God for that?

I always seem to do it in the same old, tired way.

I cry.

May you, too, shed some tears of ineffable gratitude this Christmas.


sarah said...

It's as lovely a post now as it was then, and yes I'm weeping a little over it now as I have in years past. I'm so happy for you that you found the way into a beautiful, love-filled life.

Anonymous said...

Karen, thanks for the post.

People often ask me, "Father, how do I pray?" We have this strange notion that we can only approach Our Lord with perfect composure, as if we were speaking at afternoon tea. He made us with all our emotions, quiet and loud, frantic and calm. He knows what we need and where we are and what is best for us before we even approach Him. So then, approach Him with tears. Approach Him with a deep gratitude. It would be a lie to approach Him any other way. Show Him the depth and dynamism of your joy with tears.

Jesus says, "There is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not have need of repentance." That means all of us. We so often think that He refers to everyone except us. We could not be further from the truth. Thanks be to God for the, "Then something happened. I became a Christian...Then I became a Catholic." What generosity and mercy there are in this most wondrous God! What delight you give Him by your life in Him! Thank you.

God bless you and yours!

Sarah Reinhard said...

Thank you so much for posting this again, Karen. I remember enjoying and relating with it last year and I enjoyed it and related to it again this year. :) I too cry. A lot. :)