Life got busy; the blog got neglected. You can see that; it’s no big deal. But I’ve missed it, and I’m back.
The past month has been heavily weighted on the theology side, and lighter on the mothering side. Three weeks of conferences back-to-back. Lots of preparation to get ready and processing to follow up. More reading and writing, and more importantly, many interesting people to meet – all of whom are thinking or writing or ministering about vocation in the broadest sense.
Our meetings have given me renewed energy about the importance of this project, and renewed hope about the future of the Christian church. At a dark moment in the Catholic Church’s journey, this is no small thing.
But the ramped-up pace of work has made me appreciate what a challenge mothers face who work full-time outside the home. Getting baby, home, and self ready to dash out the door in the morning is a whirlwind on good mornings and a hurricane on bad days. We’re blessed with babysitting grandmas and a new part-time sitter. But the flurry of keeping it all together over the past month has reminded me that even on the best of days, things around here are held together by a thread.
Sometimes the thread is strong. F and I are in a groove with work and home, S is happy and growing and sleeping well. Other times the thread feels weak. The clutter and mess and stress pile up so high that I wonder how I ever get any of it done. I’m cranky and gloomy and impatient and selfish. I don’t pray; I complain and worry instead. Nothing flows.
Scrambling to set up child care for the summer, I realize how dependent I have become on having someone to watch S on a regular basis. When our sitter quit on us, it felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. I have grown to love my work and believe deeply in its importance. But in order to do it, I need help with S. And when that becomes uncertain, then it really feels like everything in my life is hanging by a thread.
But I realized the other day that it’s ok to have everything hanging together by a thread. If that thread is my vocation, and faith in God. We all have to string together the disparate pieces of our life and our selves, and the only way I can make sense of it is by and through and in God. Which means I have to release. And trust. A challenge.
We used this poem as part of our reflection on vocation with the various groups we gathered on the subject – theologians, pastors, ministers, researchers. I’ve loved this poem for a while, but only seized on the thread imagery after these musings as of late. Enjoy:
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.