Sacrifice

I am not good at sacrificing. Maybe no one is "good" at it (sacrifice is sacrifice because you give up something important), but I just feel particularly resistant to giving up this part of my life. I don't totally know why. Thursday I had a doctor's appointment. The baby is growing right on track, and I saw the little heartbeat on the screen. But as I looked at the image, I didn't feel the wonder and amazement and love that I felt for my first two babies. Instead, I felt disconnected, like I was stuck in a surreal world where nothing made sense. Seeing that image made it seem even less real. And it breaks my heart that I can't accept that I am indeed pregnant and will have a third child early next year. Why can't I wrap my heart around it? My head understands that I'm pregnant. My body sure does too; I'm going through the motions, taking care of my body,  feeling the physical symptoms, but my heart just isn't in it. I've prayed for God to open my heart to this new life, to help me accept my irrevocable reality. Silence. God has left the building. Maybe not entirely, since He left me a few people to love me, listen to me, and help me... even to teach me a thing or two about sacrifice. Maybe I'm too busy throwing a screaming tantrum to listen to everything He's saying. 


I have a friend who just recently donated a kidney to her dad. A kidney. A living organ. A literal piece of herself. If she had any doubt or inner struggle about whether or not to do it, she never showed an ounce of it. Donate her kidney? Sure! No problem! That’s sacrifice. And she made it look so easy. There are things in her life she had to give up because of this. Like martial arts. And salty food. Not to mention undergoing major, painful surgery and giving up her summer for it. She did so unflinchingly. Even cheerfully. This summer, my friend donated a kidney. What did I do? I whined about being pregnant.

I knitted her a kidney… she (and her dad) loved it!

Our old parish priest once said a phrase in a homily that has really stuck with us (so much that a friend even gave us a garden stone with the words written on it): “Where there is true love, sacrifice is easy.” Sacrifice has been on my mind a lot lately, ever since I realized that it does not come easily to me. See, it goes beyond being unable to wrap my heart around this pregnancy. It’s that I’m selfish. Sometimes for the right reasons but other times because I like to be comfortable, I’m set in my ways, and because, well, I’m just selfish. Yet my beliefs, my morality, and my chosen method of family planning all require a certain degree of sacrifice on an almost daily basis, coupled with a big helping of Trust in God. Not exactly compatible with selfishness. Or my tendency to be impulsive… Or my need to control certain things. You know, like my future plans that make God laugh. I had this idea of what my life would be like, and up until now, it was going just as I had envisioned. Cue the crying spoiled child. So it’s taking me some time to adjust. But I will. I know this plan of God’s will be even better than what I planned for myself. Now if I could just feel what I know too…

Like the words on this stone, my ability to sacrifice has faded… time to find it again.

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