Obama, Hope, and NFP

This is perhaps my favorite video on all of Youtube:

“We have been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.”

Fabulous, right? I think it perfectly epitomizes why so many of my peers showed up to vote for the first time. Barack Obama convinced people that words mattered, and that there was HOPE.

Four years later it is clear that words only mean so much, but since I never thought Obama was Superman, I still love that video.

Change, hope, the power of working together to create a better world… that we all know isn’t especially likely to actually happen. This is heady stuff!

But I am not really talking about politics. I am talking about NFP and fertility awareness.

I originally planned to post about why I hate NFP a year ago. I planned to post it in the context of posts about NFP Awareness Week, NFP as a Liberator of Women, and whatever it was Josh felt like saying about why he charts.

But I left the post in the draft folder for a year, not because I thought it was too negative, but because I decided it was too Catholic. After all, as some people have pointed out, there is a pretty obvious solution to half of the reasons that NFP is challenging. I know this. In real life I have given away several copies of Taking Charge of Your Fertility but never actually recommended NFP to a non-Catholic.

Practicing NFP without a profoundly Catholic view of sexuality borders incomprehensible. I am always astounded at the strength of women who are able somehow to practice NFP despite not having Catholic husbands.

And yet, deep down, as much as I rationally know that this is crazy Catholic stuff, I still believe that it is something more. I secretly believe that NFP is best for everyone. Even though I prefer to spread fertility awareness and let others come to their own conclusions about how to live it out, I can’t help thinking that it will be best if they can find their way toward a cohesive sexuality which is never forced to separate sexual pleasure from fertility.

I know that it is absurd to those worn down by a life that is far from ideal, or even to those who are simply content with a greater dissonance between biology and spirituality. But, NFP seems to me to be an essential practice for living well as a complete person.

As the president would say,  “We have been told that we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics.” I know, I know, I know. I know that NFP is unachievable for most people and almost as often undesired. I know that this doesn’t work in the context of the world as it exists for most people. Yet I dream of what could be. I hope.

And so it makes me happy to listen to some of Obama’s best, most hopeful rhetoric, even on days when it feels like his administration is playing Boehner to my cries of “YES WE CAN live well without destroying our fertility!”

It is absurd, I know, but I still believe that there is hope. NFP has been good for me, and I hope that it can be good for everyone someday.

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2 thoughts on “Obama, Hope, and NFP

  1. Margaret

    We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand.

    In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by [our] own efforts and even beyond [our] very expectations, are directed toward the fulfilment of God’s superior and inscrutable designs. And everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the Church…

    Oh sorry…that particular message of hope may have been “too Catholic”. :)

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