Yesterday was rough. Sunday mass is always hard. I don't think I've been to a Sunday mass in over a year in which I've not wanted to cry, both from baring my heart to Jesus and from being around all the little kiddoes in Church (I need to write about that more sometime). I knew yesterday's mass would present a particular challenge because after mass we'd meet the newborn son of our friends, who was born this past Monday. I love our friends and of course I love their children, but I was also nervous about how I'd react and just feeling plain old jealous and depressed about still being childless when several of our friends are on to number two already.
Plus, I had rspv'ed yes to a baptism being held directly after mass - a choirmate who had her 3rd baby in June. I was starting to have second thoughts about going, but I try to be a woman of my word. So I was nervous about that too.
During mass, and especially during communion, I prayed, "Jesus, help me to put myself second. Help me to focus on others. Help me to rejoice with others."
After the final blessing but before the recessional, the priest who said mass likes to say a joke. Usually I really enjoy them - they're kind of goofy, "grandpa" humor =) But today he starts by saying, "It was so nice to see all the little tiny babies in mass today..." oh man. I start praying Hail Mary's because I'm really trying to keep it together to say hi to the new baby and get through the baptism without losing it. His joke had something to do with pregnant women and childbirth...I tuned it out. (Sorry, Father.)
After mass, I literally had to tell myself, "okay, now just walk to the back of the church" in order to go meet the new baby. There was that much of a tug inside saying "run away! run away!"
There's a swarm of people around our friends, everyone smiling and laughing and admiring the new baby. The back of the church is like baby-land anyway, every Sunday. Not a place I feel comfortable.
But I smile, and say hi to the new parents. I look at the new baby, cradled so carefully in his dad's arms, with a huge shock of dark hair. So tiny. So perfect. I feel my heart bursting with longing and sorrow. Stop it, please! No tears, please! Too late. I almost start crying talking with the new mom, and then with her mom, who's in town to help out with the baby. I don't know if they could hear it from my voice, but I had to purposefully not look at the baby and talk about something - quick - so I didn't actually start to cry.
I had to escape to the restroom before the baptism to take a few deep breaths and dry my eyes.
How embarrassing! It's like my emotions have a mind of their own. It's like the tears were welling up from a place so, so deep inside...because I was doing my very best to put on a happy face, act like everyone else, as if meeting new babies was the most joyful thing ever for me, but I'm sure my face and voice betrayed how I really felt.
Same thing during the baptism. Objectively, I know that a baptism is an occasion for great joy! A new little Christian is being born, welcomed into the family of God. But it was all I could do to not cry. And I high-tailed it out of there as soon as it was over and cried in the car and again at home. The whole experience really crushed my spirits.
Conclusion: I don't think I'll attend the baby shower. I just don't trust my emotions. Who wants someone at their baby shower who is crying? Or looks like they're about to cry? That's not the right emotion for the occasion. I'd like to say that I'll be fine, that I can handle it, but I'm not so sure. I thought I could handle yesterday, and I couldn't. I mean, I got through it, but it took the whole afternoon to recover. I guess the ache in my heart is a bit too tender right now, a bit too easily bruised and provoked.