Thursday, January 21, 2010

Taking Stock

James is nine months old this week. I feel I have lived more in the last year than I have my whole life. And now, nine months after giving birth, I am longing for the keen awareness I felt there at the beginning of this journey. like most voyagers, I started off strong and have found now that my heart is tired. I think I was running on adrenaline for the first 6 months of motherhood and in the last 3 months it’s become obvious that the adrenaline has run out and I’m in need of some recharging.

looking back

There is no room for numbness during pregnancy. Pancakes tasted like heaven, an orange was not just an orange, it was juice sent down directly from God. Sleep was deeper and dreams more vivid. Pain and stretching was felt from every corner of my body. My feet felt the grass underneath more sharply than any previous spring. My husband breathing next to me at 3 am was cause to stay awake and wonder if our son would look like him. Every star in the black sky was shining as a reminder that God had his hands on all things, including the tiny soul being woven into a baby in my womb. Nothing went unnoticed it seemed, everything was felt during those nine months. I am not romanticizing pregnancy. My first trimester was miserable, and I really thought I might just fall apart by the very end, but looking back I think even the aching was a kiss from life itself.

The day James was born was preceded by several days of labor. I stubbornly wanted to give birth naturally and it was that stubborn determination that got me through the worst pain of my life.

There is nothing that could have prepared me for the panic I felt during those hard contractions. I knew it would hurt, but I did not know it would feel so....wrong! Everything in my body wanted to run from the pain, wanted to avoid it, ignore it, hide from it. I did not feel strong, I did not feel determined. I felt about six years old and wanted to curl up in a ball and weep. (which is sort of what I did)

By the end of labor the moments in between contractions seemed shorter and shorter so that just when I thought I could take a calming breath another pain would start up again. I was a small boat in a great storm, helpless to the intensity of the waves swelling around me.

And it was the most alive I’ve ever been.

I can say that, I suppose, because there was an end. Because the minute James appeared, the waves calmed immediately. It was as if Jesus himself had said “Quiet, be still!”

My sweet boy was 8 days late so he did not require much cleaning once he emerged. They gave him to me right away and there we were. Mother and child, for the first time. I do not remember certain things about those moments after birth. I don’t remember, for example, the nurse giving me instructions (on God knows what), or the clammer of tools and the bustle of hospital personal in and out of the room. I don’t remember the pain of stitches or the shame of being exposed to a room full of strangers. The things I do remember center around James. His ears, his lips, his warmth. I was alert to all things James. 

Days later as I looked at myself in the mirror I knew that his birth would be my proudest moment. I felt like it was my initiation into womanhood, into adulthood, and in those first weeks I was living moment to moment like I never had before. (With a newborn, you don’t really have a choice). It was that forced change that has saved me I think. Saved me from the numbness.

two thousand and nine was quite a year for me.

But now, in a new year and a new season of motherhood I am...fading a bit. I'm starting to feel a slow drip of anesthetic creep back in to my heart, and it’s obviously time to take some action. So action is what I will take. If we become what we worship, than I suppose I should worship the God of life, of light, the God who makes the sun rise in the morning and the waves crash onto a rocky shore. Now that I know what it is to really live, I can not settle for just getting by. Even if pain is involved, I will be thankful for the pain- that my heart might beat stronger and my feet might walk with more conviction.

O Lord, if it be not spring time in my chilly heart, I pray Thee make it so, for I am heartily weary of living at a distance from Thee.
-Charles Spurgeon

signing off for a little while to do some “house cleaning”...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Psalm for Haiti

Psalm 57

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

I cry out to God Most High, to God,
who fulfills {his purpose} for me.

He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me;

God sends his love and his faithfulness.

I am in the midst of lions;
I lie among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress. 
They dug a pit in my path—

but they have fallen into it themselves. 


My heart is steadfast, O God, 
my heart is steadfast; 
I will sing and make music.

Awake, my soul! 
Awake, harp and lyre! 
I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; 
I will sing of you among the peoples.

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; 
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; 
let your glory be over all the earth.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Few Resolutions

I'm in a funk. It happens this time of year, I get lost somewhere in the traveling and snow and the memories and the pie. Oh, the pie. But It's a whole new year and I suspect I will be out soon. Of the funk, that is. In the mean time, here are some of my resolutions.

1. Exercise
the most common of resolutions for good reasons. My reason is two fold. I think working out will give me more energy throughout the day. And I think it will be a healthy stress reliever. So I'm going to attempt some sort of regular working out. I've tried in the past. and failed. But I feel good about 2010!

2. Live in the moment
I too often lean forward or turn around instead of sit down and pay attention to what is going on right at that moment. There is so much of the last few years I don't even really remember because I wasn't fully there when it happened. I am a good wanderer, which lends itself well to songwriting, but not well to living life. So I hope to find a balance.

3. Breath deeper, and slower

4. Give. Give. Give.

"Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you posses. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace"

Ken Nerburn, Letters to My Son