By Jillian Zaczyk
The contents of Amazon boxes arriving to our house have morphed from bottles of wine and Rick Steve’s travel guides to baby bottles and parenting books.
That is right… Recently my husband and I found out we are pregnant.
There is nothing in life that has prepared me for having a child, but I do feel like senior year of high school and college has prepared me for what to expect from others while being pregnant. Meaning I feel like my days are filled with a million people coming up to me asking personal, overwhelming questions. As a graduate it was questions like, “Where you are going?” “What you are doing with your life?” Pregnant people get it too, but more questions like: “Aren’t you excited?!” “Do you want a girl or boy?”
I would have written down “Can I touch your stomach?” but no one asks before they do that.
For a long time, I responded to these questions with the polite, acceptable, PC answers: “Yes we are!” “Just as long as it is healthy.” In mind my and heart, though, a battle was raging of emotion, worry, fear, and anticipation.
I’ve had a lot of anxiety about will I be able to do it all: be a good person, wife, friend, teacher, mother… and still strive to be a saint? I have been weighed by guilt and shame having these thoughts. I try telling myself I should be grateful for this gift of life, and that I am concentrating too much on myself and being selfish.
Sigh…. Jesus, what should I do?
Last Sunday's gospel gives those anticipating great things some guidance. Jesus talks about the kingdom of God through two parables: one about a buried treasure, and the other about fine pearls.
While Jesus talks about the kingdom of heaven here as treasure and pearls, I am drawn to imagine any anticipated life change (i.e. new baby, marriage, job, school) or established goal as these objects. Whatever imagined, it is an object of great value, precious to the receiver that elicits great action and love. So much so that the receiver in both instances finds the gift
“and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”
I don’t know about you, but my inner monologue is screaming: Go sell everything!? My identity? My aspirations? For an unknown future? How can I do this Jesus?
This gospel’s take away confronts these emotions and thoughts. No matter if the gift was a surprise, like the treasure, or something sought after, like the pearls, both receivers choose to focus on “what is discovered not on what is given up or on the struggle” (Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of Matthew 207).
What is discovered is priceless.
Am I disposed to receive something priceless? Am I holding onto my freedom and life now too tightly to receive something greater? Jesus knows what it means to give up “all” as he has given up his life for all of us. Jesus does not ask us to give up something without having something grander beyond imagination in store.
Knowing all this and believing that I am starting to find peace in this pregnancy.
In order to receive the great value of this child or anything amazing, I have learned that I need to be open and trust Jesus. This process of great action and love will not be easy, but I am grateful for the gift of faith and the gift that pregnancy is nine months.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jillian wants to live in a world filled with corny jokes and coffee mugs that refill themselves. She is a youth minister, teacher, and missionary discovering God's joy and humor around the world. Her mission is to encounter Jesus and grow in solidarity with everyone she meets, especially the poor. Jillian graduated in May 2015 with a Master of Theological Studies from Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry. She and her husband, Jason, live in Cleveland with their lovable labrador retriever.