01 July 2007

Not Alone

I was chatting after choir rehearsal on Thursday night with B., one of the sopranos. I haven't gotten to know any of my choir mates particularly well even though I've been singing with them for almost a year now, so I've been making more of an effort to hang around after rehearsal and Mass to chat.

I told B. a bit about the marriage prep class I took with my fiancé, and about how startled I was that so many of the couples were already living together. I told her about my fiancé being accepted to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, meaning that he and I won't officially be living together until about 18 months after our wedding, a fact which had prompted one friend to joke, "You're so Catholic that not only are you not living together before marriage, you're not even living together after marriage!"

B. said, "Do you feel like the only ones?"

I said, "Huh?"

B. clarified, "Like you're the only ones not living together before marriage? My husband and I felt like that. We had been living together, but we both converted to Catholicism and realized then that we had to stop living together until we got married. Now we just feel like we're the only ones who don't use birth control."

I hugged her then. It has been feeling exactly like we're the only ones not living together, the only ones planning to use NFP to space our family rather than artificial birth control. For the first time in twelve years, I am not surrounded by a crowd of people who are faithful Catholics. I usually don't notice the effect this has had on me over the last year--slowly making my prayer life more difficult, eating away at my joy in being Christian, and tempting me to look for "loopholes"--B. noted that sometimes her husband scans Church documents looking for loopholes in the policy on condom use, even though he really knows that there are no loopholes and that he and his wife really are doing the right thing, but he is tempted to look anyway because NFP can be difficult.

I told B. that I am so, so glad she told me this, even though it's pretty personal. Living the Christian life is not easy, and it is much, much harder when you are surrounded by a culture and by individuals who don't support your quest for holiness, and who in fact often try to lead you astray. As much as I love the blogging world, there is just no substitute for sitting down with another woman face-to-face and having a talk like that. B. could be me five years down the road. They have two children so far, and their life together hasn't been all peaches and cream, but she says that she feels the presence of God in her relationship with her husband, she knows they are receiving graces because they try to follow God's laws. I was very comforted to hear her say that. It alleviates some of the fears I have; I am reminded to trust in Divine Providence and not be anxious.

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