So far, the belly-jabbing is going well. The first night was a bit weird, and I hesitated, but now it's strangely and disturbingly familiar to me, like riding a bicycle......
Sad, isn't it?
We had a pretty full weekend. Saturday was major cleaning day-dusting, vacumming, washing clothes and sheets and hanging stuff on the line, since we FINALLY saw the sun after eight days of rain. Then we picked up Shelli and Narda at the train station and trucked on down to the McCarter Theatre to see Gem of the Ocean. It was such a powerful and wonderful piece, and there were many times that I was moved to tears. We got a bite to eat afterwards and dropped them off at the train station. It's great that I'm lucky enough that we live close enough to each other to be able to hang out.
Today I had to sing the later two Masses, then we went, along with our friends, to the Feast of St. Gerard in Newark. For those of you who aren't familiar with St. Gerard, he is the patron saint of motherhood in the Catholic Church, and the National Shrine is literally a 25 minute drive from here. People come from all over the U.S. and even Italy to the Feast, and wait in lines around the plaza to make donations and venerate the saint's statue (which is life-sized). It was overwhelming at times to watch the men and women climbing the dais where the statue was, bringing flowers, offerings of money (some people brought capes literally made out of dollar bills, which they draped around the statue) and objects such as handkerchiefs and baby clothes to hold to the statue. The most emotional thing for me was to see mothers with babies holding their children up for special blessings. Sean, being non-Italian and not a cradle Catholic like myself, had never seen anything like it before.
My friend (who had problems TTC her first child, prayed to St. Gerard, and is now having problems TTC her second) and I patiently waited, with our dollar bills and scraps of cloth, to climb the dais and touch the saint's statue, to receive special blessings that our procreational endeavors will be successful.
It still brings on my usual questions and struggles of faith-I try so hard to believe that things, like prayer and acupuncture, will help you. I want so badly to believe that. I've heard stories from other women who have prayed and had faith and that their prayers, although not answered right away, were ultimately answered by St. Gerard and they had healthy, happy children, whether they gave birth or received them through the gift of adoption.
Seeing that crowd of people holding dollar bills, flowers, bits of cloth, pictures and babies to a statue made of plaster, blessed by the Church and containing the saint's relic, asking for St. Gerard to intercede on their behalf, or thanking him for being blessed with their children, or grandchildren, showed me today that miracles can happen, if you believe. That prayer, whether it be from people you know, or have never met, is a powerful thing.
Maybe it's entirely coincidental that I'm cycling around this Feast Day, or maybe not. Maybe it's not about receiving special blessings, making donations, eating great food (and I mean GREAT Italian-American food), and getting blessed religious articles. Maybe it's about giving up your burden for someone else to carry. Even if you can't physically see that person.
Maybe that's what faith really is. And maybe that was the real reason that I was there.........for God to show me an example of what faith and prayer really means, and to give me the fortitude and strength for the battle that lies ahead.
Bring it on, Lord. I'm ready.