November is the month when we are prompted to think about everything for which we should be grateful and for which we should give great thanks. Truthfully, we should count our blessings and give thanks every day when our eyes open, throughout our day and again when our heads embrace the sweetness of our pillows as our day ends.
My long life has been full of tremendous blessings. My loving parents surrounded me with love, protection, wisdom and faith. There were 5 children and many struggles financially and health wise. My Dad was drafted into World War II when their 3rd child was 2 weeks old. My Mom, with war rations, was responsible for caring for 3 children, ages 3 and under as well as one very stubborn English Bull dog. I was very young, but I do remember the great joy that filled our home when my Dad came back over a year later! In all their struggles, I cannot remember either of my parents saying, “Why Me?” Even when, during my Dad’s time in the service, one of our generous neighbors planted a garden in our front yard of what were supposed to be potatoes, but which turned out to be turnips! I mean, how grateful can one be for hundreds of turnips? Even so, my Mom WAS grateful and managed to trade turnips for coupons to buy milk.
None of us travel through this earthly life without some sadness and difficulties and none of us travel through without laughter and joy. It has been my profound honor to be included in the journeys of so many. This wondrous work of teaching the Creighton Model allows me to be a very intimate bystander/prayer warrior for my clients. They share their joy and their sadness with me. My Grandmother always said: “Sharing brings twice the joy and half the care.”
It has been said that tears are words that the heart cannot speak. I have listened with my heart to the sobs of a Mother, five months into her pregnancy, who just got the news that her baby had multiple birth defects that were incompatible with life. She and her husband had been treated for infertility and were ecstatic about this pregnancy and now she was advised to abort. We truly cannot imagine the agony of this couple. She would call and cry when people noticed the pregnancy because they would tell her how happy they were for her. She did not want to suffer through 4 more months of this. Even so, she and her husband decided to give this baby every minute of earthly life that they could, until God called her home. They loved her so much. My client did ask, “Why us?” and I said because God knew that no one else would or could love this baby as you do. In the last month of this pregnancy, this couple prayed that the baby would be born alive so that she could see them, and they could tell her how much they loved her. Their precious daughter died the day before she was born into this world… and their world crumbled. We all cried together. We had a conversation after a little time had passed; she told me that she was better able to understand just how strong love can be because of the very short time
this precious baby was a part of their lives. Another of my clients who suffered a miscarriage said it so beautifully, “I carried you every second of your life and I’ll love you every second of mine!” And so, this Mom, whose baby was not alive at birth told me that she is comforted by the knowledge that she did give her every possible minute of this life and she will love this child for all eternity.
It has been about 2 years since those tragic events and now this faithful couple has a rainbow baby! She is GORGEOUS! This couple now knows that there are no limits to the power of love. Of course, their second pregnancy was riddled with the fear that something would be wrong with this baby, too. They prayed, their Church community prayed, and I prayed. We all were richly rewarded with the birth of their rainbow baby who has an angel sister in Heaven. We will never forget the sadness, but we will forever be grateful for the memories and for the marvelous gift of life.
The month of November and the tremendous holiday of Thanksgiving gives us the reminder of all for which we should express great gratitude. If I were to try to write all my gratitude, it would become a James Michener sized book! Please know that each of you are on that long list of prayers of gratitude. Your prayerful and financial support are the reasons that I am so blessed with people to teach, to support, to celebrate with and to grieve with and to say so many prayers of thanksgiving.
May God bless you abundantly every day and especially as you celebrate
Thanksgiving. You are God’s gift to our world and to my life.