The Time I Told Mother Teresa No
Warning: The following story is thoroughly and strangely Catholic. Skeptics forewarned.
My husband and I hoped for children as soon as we were married. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I have endometriosis and despite a surgery a few years into our marriage, it soon seemed that we might never have children.
I was praying one summer morning in our mint green wing chair Jared found on the side of the road before our wedding. As usual, I was spaced out, thinking on I don't know what. That's when I heard her voice:
"Take care of my children."
To which I immediately replied:
"My own, first."
It was Mother Teresa. I knew the moment I heard her.
I could not respond to her heavenly request with fiat. Her request frightened me. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I was afraid of having an adopted child who didn't measure up to my standards of beauty. To be blunt, I was afraid of having an ugly child.
Is that horribly shallow or what?
Mother Teresa didn't say anything else (and I don't blame her). The following December we found we were expecting our oldest son, thanks to the prayers of four different people who didn't know each other, all of whom felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to pray for us on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Mother Teresa honored my request, despite my no.
Interestingly, our son is autistic, whose special needs have challenged me to be more accepting of others. My fears had to be confronted. My shallowness needed to be corrected. I needed to learn how to love.
If Mother Teresa were to ask me today, I think I would accept. At some level I might still be afraid, but being a mother has taught me that beauty is so much more than I thought back then.