There, but for the grace of God, go I.
There are lots of situations that phrase can apply to, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." I'm not an alcoholic or a drug addict. I didn't hurt anyone the times I have driven after drinking. I didn't find myself in a marriage that didn't work. Just like Mary was saved from original and actual sin before it happened (by her Immaculate Conception), I've been saved from a lot of stuff before it happened.
But one that really struck a nerve with me this week was in Verily magazine: I Donated My Eggs, and I Regret It. I didn't donate my eggs, but I almost did.
I was in graduate school, and extremely poor. While I had a teaching assistantship and an outside job, I still made less than $10,000/year and worked or went to school all the time. The cost of living was low, and at the time, I had $0 debt, so I was able to make it work without even going into debt by the end of it. However, there were ads in our school newspaper that called for egg donors. You could make really good money, like several thousand dollars (and this was about 10+ years ago). They preferred women below 30 who were healthy, smart, etc. It seemed easy, like I could do some good for society and make some money. So, I applied to donate my eggs. I filled out all the paperwork about my background, personal health, social history, intelligence, family history, etc. I also sent a picture, which was required. At the time I thought, this is a win-win. I could make some money as a poor graduate student, and these strangers could have a child. I wasn't sure I wanted children at the time. I wasn't Catholic, there were no moral dilemmas. To me, it seemed about as difficult as taking some hormones for a few months, then cha-ching, get the cash. I had taken the BC pill with no obvious side-effects, and so I thought it would be similar.
Well, thank God, along the way, something inside me made me hesitate. I thought about having offspring I didn't even know about roaming the world. Someone with my nose or my walk or my cheeks...that I didn't know personally or possibly didn't even know existed. I thought about running into them years later, and something made me hesitate.
I went so far as to apply and talk to the agency on the phone several times. I'm not a model or anything, but I do have a very high IQ and was very healthy at the time. I fit their criteria. I think that made me appealing to the prospects, and I was poised to take the first steps with the agency.
Eventually I stopped taking their phone calls and didn't go through with it. I figured, I was making it on my tiny salary. It would be nice to have the extra cash, but I didn't need it. And there was that hesitation.
A few years later, I remember sitting in Catholic Church when from the pulpit, it was mentioned in the homily that surrogate parenting, IVF, and using these types of technologies for reproduction was immoral. It's the first I'd ever heard that. While I was skeptical and still not Catholic at the time, I thought, "Well, at least I didn't do it, one less thing to worry about."
Fast forward to now, and I thank God I didn't do it. I understand now that it violates the sexual act and natural law. I know about Theology of the Body and practice NFP now. As much as I feel for infertile couples, I do understand the greater ramifications that such an immoral action would have had. They are now finding that there are major problems with the hormones given to such donors, not to mention the angst explained in the link about creating a human life that you are separated from. There are alternatives, such as NaPro technology, which work with our bodies instead of against them.
A quote (questionably attributed to Albert Einstein), "I fear the day when technology has surpassed our humanity." Whether he said it or not, we have arrived at that day.
I love a good conversion story. Head over to The Heart's Overflow to read several of them compiled recently: Volume I, Volume II. I really enjoy seeing how God works in everyone in a way they can perceive. Every conversion story is so different and interesting.
Sanity, Sanctity and Sexuality.
This article by Father Dwight Longenecker talks about how saints are a balance of masculinity and femininity because they are a picture of what we will all be in heaven. They are not effeminate men, aggressive females, nor are they asexual. They are not macho men or Barbie doll girls, but they are a completed fulfillment of what we are meant to be as humans.
I thought it was a rather profound and fascinating article. I never felt like I fit the stereotypical female. I'm an introvert, I hate the color pink, and I never played with Barbies. My husband doesn't fit the stereotypical male, either. He's extremely expressive and emotional, he hates football, and he's a great cook. I realize these sound like really superficial reasons for not being traditionally masculine or feminine, and that's exactly my point. They are superficial ways of measuring that. We don't really fit the superficial mold, not that we are just walking saints who are fully integrated like the people Fr. Dwight Longenecker references. But, this article gave me hope that by accepting myself and growing in holiness, I will actually grow in what it means to be a woman.
With Theology of the Body and my Catholic faith, I'm trying to figure out what exactly it means to be a woman. It has always been a confusing and conflicting thing for me. Don't get me wrong, I definitely identify as female, but I don't feel like I have good female role models - I've got a lot of secular feminist examples and doormat "submissive" Protestants in my background. Isn't there a happy, healthy medium of what it means to be a woman?
What is authentic, Catholic femininity?
My coworkers lately are driving me nuts. I don't have a holy stamp to put on that, or a way to redeem it and say that I see Christ in them. I don't. I'm just annoyed and have to figure out some ways to deal with it.
In the words of Miranda Preistly from Devil Wears Prada, "That's all."
In the words of Miranda Preistly from Devil Wears Prada, "That's all."
Halloween / Reformation Sunday.
We don't have kids and won't be passing out candy this year, but Halloween weekend coincides with "Reformation Sunday." This is the day when Protestant churches gloat about the fact that they aren't Catholic. To be honest, it breaks my heart. Whether they vocalize it or not, they'll be saying, "Thank God we aren't like those people. If it weren't for Martin Luther, we wouldn't know how important the Bible is, or how wrong Rome is, or what the "real gospel" is." This year is the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant revolt.
This is not Christian unity. As they sing "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," the misunderstandings just get deeper and deeper, the chasm between Protestants and Catholics just gets larger, myths against the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church just perpetuate.
I used to think that all the denominations were just part of a beautiful tapestry, that none of us had the complete truth, but that together, we did. Now, I see the thousands of "denominations" as a vast misunderstanding of what Christ wanted for us as his followers, which has resulted in chaos, confusion, division, and yes, hate.*
*If you think Protestants don't hate Catholics anymore, you should meet some of my family members. (Yes, I know most aren't like that. And, yes, I'm sure there are hateful Catholics too.)
Called to Communion is a great website that answers a lot of the objections of Protestantism to Catholicism. David Anders points out that Calvin and Luther would not recognize modern Protestantism, and that the Evangelical Christian churches do not adhere to the teachings of early Reformation leaders. This study led him into the Catholic Church.
Al Kresta's show, Kresta in the Afternoon, on 10/28/2015 in Hour 2 addressed this really well. Take a listen here if you'd like. He discusses this in an historical, balanced way, but doesn't have time to go into too much depth.
Speaking of the weekend, I am planning a surprise "stay-cation" for my husband and myself this weekend. We are re-visiting a hotel we stayed at for the beginning of our honeymoon last year (before leaving for the rest of our honeymoon) and going to eat at a cool restaurant in the area that we ate at right after getting married last year. It's only a few miles from our house, but a little fancy. We haven't been to either place since then. I got a discounted rate, and we have the free time plus an extra hour of sleep. I've devised some rhyming clues to tell him where we're going...but not until Saturday. Should be fun!
Call us Renaissance persons or... multipotentialites. I just watched this Ted Talk by Emilie Wapnick, and it really resonated. If you've ever felt like you "missed your calling" because you didn't want to do just one thing with your life or were good at more than one thing or had very diverse interests...you might be a multipotentialite.
I have degrees in music and in a foreign language. I have worked in the music industry, higher education, and for the church (both Catholic and Protestant churches). I currently work in higher education in a job description that seeks someone with a computer science background. Sometimes I have an existential crisis because I feel like I should be doing more in music. I also am interested in possibly getting another (fifth) degree...this time in Theology. Due to my personality (an INF/TJ), I tend to be obsessed with something or completely uninterested in something. Emilie says "follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes..." My profile on this very blog says, "I believe that following those little rabbit trails of interest can sometimes lead you to your destiny..."
Idea Synthesis, Rapid Learning, Adaptability are three skills Emilie identifies in multipotentialites.
Wow...soo I think I'm a multipotentialite. Emilie divides the population into specialists and multipotentialite. As the latter, I have to say that I think I'm a specialist in multiple areas, or a specialist for a limited time in many areas before moving on. What about you? Does this understanding make sense for you or someone you know?
Anyway, another fascinating look at humanity. I love Ted Talks!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Have a wonderful weekend.
From this morning's Divine Office:
"Let us adore Christ who offered himself to the Father through the Holy Spirit to cleanse us from the works of death. Let us adore him and call upon him with sincere hearts:
In your will is our peace, Lord."