Friday, January 19, 2007

Faith, fear, information and preparation

I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.
Doctrine and Covenants 38:30

Remember that Seminary scripture?

I, of course, only remembered the last phrase, "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."

I've been thinking about this for a while. Very often we try to imagine worst-case scenarios so we'll "be prepared." As if, somehow, having imagined something terrible before it happens will make it less terrible when it becomes reality.

I am just not sure that's true. For example, when we lose someone we love, even if we have considered the possibility before -- even if we have known it's going to happen -- the loss still hurts.

When my mom's dad passed away in the spring of 1999, it had been coming for five years. He had Parkinson's and a head injury, and we all knew his death was a blessing for him. Still, on the day I heard the news, I drove home from work along 7th East in South Salt Lake and realized for the first time that I do the same kind of work he did -- he was a long-time reporter for the Deseret News and the Church News -- and I felt a big, gaping hole right in the middle of me, and I sobbed big, wracking sobs. Frankly, I'm surprised I made it home safely.

Maybe it really would have been more painful if Grandpa had died suddenly -- for example, if the accident in 1994 that made everything go so far downhill had taken his life instead of just injuring his brain. I can't say what would have been. I'll confess that.

But let me bring this into the present. Right now I feel like some people want me to be prepared for the worst with Z -- for her to go back to her mom. I don't want to dwell on that. I want to be able to have some faith that God will find a way to keep her with us. I don't want to risk falling into fear. I don't want these chicken-crap prayers about "whatever is best for the baby." I want to envision the best possible outcome. I want to believe that's possible.

It is really hard work to do that. Because all the information I am getting tells me to be afraid. This is a scary situation. There are no two ways about that.

And I am not sure that what I am trying to do is really faith. As we tried to conceive biological kids -- years ago now -- I came to feel that faith is not about knowing the future; it is about trusting God and His plan for our lives. I still don't trust this positive-thinking, envisioning business as much beyond magical thinking, clap your hands and make Tinkerbell come back to life.

But I don't know what else I can even try to do. And what if? What if it is really true that the power of my mind can make a difference? What if I really do have some power and some say, not just a choice whether to submit or not? I wouldn't want to screw that up.

If we lose Z, it is going to flatten me, no matter how much I've tried to prepare. So maybe I can just try the opposite.

If only I could get all the professional type people to quit trying to bust my pixie dust bubble.


Essy said...

the only way that I got through that whole time of uncertainty with Christian was by focusing on the present moment. At this moment you have this precious baby in your life who needs you so desperately...that's the only thing that is really real. The future is in God's hands, and personally I can't think of a better place for it to be.

Victoria said...

Ana, I really like what Essy said. It is hard right now, so focus on her right now and loving her with all you have. I do believe being positive and having faith makes a lot of difference in our lives. Rely on your Heavenly Father, he will do what is best for all of you. Much love my friend

Bek said...

Oh Ana,

I am so sorry to hear that and of course just want her to stay with you. The few times in my life that I knew that something was coming and tried to prepare for it (which is logic talking) I forgot to ask the logical part of me to tell the emotional part and it was hard, it stunk and we will all be crying with you if that happens to you. For now, we will have high hopes that Z stays with you. I want her mom to get well as much as you do, but I want that baby to stay with you too.....

What can we do?

Lisa M. said...

I have never really gone through this, and I have no advice, except that I think Heavenly Father expects us to be proactive, in our desires.

I think this has got to be the most gut wrenching thing in the world, and I'll add you to my prayers.

I'd beleive and hope, and deal with the pain of loss if it comes, later.

Good luck!~

PJ said...

Hi, I read your blog from time to time and I hope and pray you can Keep this sweet baby in your family. I too want the mom to get better, naturally. I think even if she cleans up there is a chance she will have set backs. So, I hope Z continues to be a part of a family that will give her the best.

Anonymous said...

When I was in law school, during finals, I had gone to Safeway to pick up some lunch. I was feeling the stress of finals, stress of being so far from home, and stress as to whether I had even made the right choice to go to school at all. I was upset and I prayed to God that he would give me some reassurance or comfort of some sort. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at the time. Rather than seeing the reassurance I wanted, I felt a different response. Two men in the parking lot had locked their keys in their car and were trying to use a wire to unlock the door. I'd had some success at this in the past. I felt that God was directing me to go and help them. I thought, "God, I'm a little busy now, I'm in the middle of finals and I don't have time for 30-60 minutes of poking around trying to hit unlock buttons." Gods answer was, "trust me, I have a plan." I'm thinking to myself, "self, this is stupid, God's not even talking to you, you're just dreaming this up, but just in case I'll sit here in the parking lot and eat my lunch (slowly), and if they are still there when I'm done I'll try to help them." They were still there when I finished. I took my key out of the car and walked over. When I offered to help I felt compelled to try my own key in their door before trying the wire. My key unlocked their door. No time out of my day, and hardly any effort on my part. The young men told me that they were out of money and had been stuck there for hours trying to unlock the door.
I was an answer to prayer for them. They were an answer to prayer for me. I was reassured that there was a plan for me, but also reminded that I have to listen to God in order to be a part of that plan, and also reminded that his plans include the benefit of others.
Maybe it wasn't a miracle that the key worked, maybe just a coincidence. But, without a doubt it was a miracle that God answered the specific prayer I made and answered another's prayer all in one fell swoop.
I don't think God wants you to sit and plead silently in inaction. I don't think that a vague sense of trust that never materializes is what he's looking for either. I think he wants you to trust that he has a plan for you and listen for what actions he would have you take consistent with that plan. In my experience this will more often than not require you to help someone else (maybe the birth mom, maybe not, that's an issue of prayer and listening for you). In helping someone else you often get the answer (how frustrating, but how fulfilling when it works.)