An Openness to Life

At any given moment, you could add up my husband and me and divide by four and you would have the sum total of persons open to new life.  Or rather it is: our openness to adding a plus one to our family.  This isn't to say we aren't pro-life or that we believe in using contraception or that we don't just absolutely love Thomas (and are excited for the twins to arrive).  It just simply means we are two people who acknowledge the counter-cultural wisdom in welcoming children--giving our version of a nod and wave when it passes by-- but actually considering such pursuit sends me into sleepless nights and my husband into (straight from the page of when I informed him we were pregnant with our 1st) a ghostly white apparition.

The blogosphere is brimming with women whom I admire for their openness to life. And not in the way I uphold being pro-life in my head. They're doing it with their very lives.  There's stunning Grace who makes being saddled with three kids under three appear just about the hippest (and most hilarious) thing any of us could be busying ourselves with even when she's working her magic as trophy wife coping as a (temp) single parent while her husband's away doing doctor-y things.  There's Dwija, whose recent vulnerability and honesty in sharing the shaky start for baby #6 makes me want to reach right through my computer screen and hug her with love for showing us what a "yes, do unto me" looks like.  And there's Jennifer and her recent eloquent post which offers an unwavering commitment to her children through the willingness to love with the bold life as an NFPer. 

And there are so many more.  In real life. In the digital sphere.  Women and men who are right from a come to life Couple to Couple League magazine, modeling for me the joys of allowing God to, if so the plan, cram our homes full of people to love in ways which stretch ourselves greatly.  Women and men strapped for money and giving a hearty yes.  Women and men who've dealt with grief, infertility, and/or medical complications and giving a happy yes.  Women and men who, just as much as the next person, don't know how their lives could possibly shift into place with one more child but still lay down their yes.

And here is me of little faith.  Despite my upbringing with a mom of unrivaled moral convictions and an unmatched love and respect for children of all ages and a mother-in-law with ten kids of her own and a heart so big it carries its own kind of music into a room, I'm just timid me.  I'm no bold proclamation, no walking billboard, no announcement of God's radical love for us in the way of being open to happy additions as some sort of beautiful string of pearls, pieced bit by bit through the long years of fertility. 

The form of my bold proclamation of openness to life is when I type preggo complaints into Twitter and then erase them.  My walking billboard is a belly at 32 (almost) weeks that's measuring 37 and looks 42.  My bold proclamation is my insistence that no, the Duggers really aren't weird, I promise.

While I would be eager to slip right into my mother's convictions, my mother-in-law's heart, and my sister-in-law's steady courage... oh, or Grace's pants (because how you have 3 under 3 and look like THAT is a whole other kind of wonderful)... I'm me.  Courage doesn't come easy to me.  Thinking tangles me up in a whole mess of serious.

But I've got today.  And today means one more day to love my husband in all the ways I know, listening, learning, and laughing with my son who is such a joy to me, and savoring every kick and punch the twins have in store even when that means edging ever closer to my muscles separating indefinitely.

Openness to life is not in the longing to add but rather to be joyfully vigilant and present in wrapping our hearts around every person we come in contact with.  It's in our reaches to our grandmother and the grocer and the students I see for just one more week before saying goodbye.  It isn't a race to multiply but rather to draw to ourselves, whether in new life or old, "ours" or others'", all the souls which could use an extra sprinkling of love. 

I am open.  I am not closed.  I'm also super frightened about the possibility of more than what I've already been given. My openness at this point will have to suffice to be the absence of a closed door, a hardened heart, turning to contraception as some sort of safety net to guard me from sacrifice.

Long ago my roots intertwined with the Culture of Life.  And while I don't have a mini-bus-o-Andersons and won't look you in the eyes and say, "Why yes, I would be more than happy to have another one", I'm open nonetheless.  I've always been open to life in my own way, never set in a vision for what my family would look like, making it relatively easy to accept quickly the surprise news of twins.  If my heart (or my husband's heart) is to expand even greater, ever more willing and open to new life, I have full confidence Christ will knock on our door.  Really loudly.  Because three boys under four is noise the Good Lord is not going to have an easy time rivaling.  

In the meantime, I plan on very un-timidly loving, with the greatest openness I know, a house full of three boys and a man who is, on most days, a delightful golden color.

Our 1st "plus one"!