Pregnant women inhabit time in a whole new way. I'm 20 weeks, we declare. As if we were the child within us. As if we were the time itself. Our relationship to these womb-weeks is totalizing. Time means everything: how much time the baby needs, how much time we have left. But womb time is also unique, unfolding inside chronological time, tucked into the calendars that define our lives. Any attempt to translate the calculation is imperfect: more than 9 months, less than 40 weeks. Every due date is a guess. This time is hidden, humbling, and holy. It shows us how to wait. What does womb time teach us about Advent, a sacred season of waiting? Womb time is dark. We cannot peel back skin to peer inside. Even high-tech glimpses via ultrasound are shadowy and grainy. We see as through a mirror, darkly, until we see face to face. Womb time is vulnerable. Early weeks are shrouded in anxiety, even secret. Later months bring their own tenderness: shifting symptoms, … [Read more...] about waiting in womb-time
Waiting. In the body. I look twice as pregnant as I am. Two babies kick inside my stomach. Finally my husband can feel them, too. My hips ache. My stretched skin is impossibly itchy. All day long I walk the thin, tiring line between nausea and needing to consume calories by the thousands. When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I stop in shock. Is that my body? Meanwhile the toddler starts to potty train. Meanwhile the bigger boys maul each other like lion cubs and need wounds tended. Meanwhile five people still require clean clothes, hot baths, three meals a day. I cannot escape the body. Waiting. In time. I'm 19 weeks. Expectant mothers become time. We claim our place in the countdown of pregnancy as our identity. As if we own weeks and months. As if we become each milestone that passes. Each week brings extra appointments, scribbled on the once-smooth planner page. I calculate time for child care, work schedules, school drop-offs, rush hour traffic, how … [Read more...] about waiting.
Women don't have chapters in their lives. They have seasons. I listened to her as she pushed the stroller, worn plastic wheels swiveling over cracks in the concrete. Freshly planted pansies lined both sides of the sidewalk; I don't know why I remember them, but I do. I must have realized in that moment that she was saying something important, a truth I needed to tuck away. One of those finely polished gems that a sister slips into the hand of a sister, years before she needs to know it. I can't recall the context of the conversation. Her first baby was still young, the curly-haired toddler in the stroller. So we were probably talking about the transition to motherhood, the shift in identity, the struggles to sort out the balance between work and home. All the same things we still circle around in our conversations today. But I never forgot those words or the way her voice rose with possibility and hope when she spoke. We have seasons. . . . It's an obvious symbol for … [Read more...] about we are seasons
My kids are off to school this week, and I've been busy behind-the-scenes with writing projects I can't wait to share very soon! In the meantime, here is a prayer for all of us in the midst of transition: to a new season, a new schedule, or a new school year. A prayer to God who guides us all. You are Alpha and Omega. Bless the end of our summer and the beginning of our fall. You are Abba Father and Rabbi Teacher. Bless our homes and our schools, our families and our communities. You are Wisdom of the Ages and Beauty Ever-New. Bless our study of the past and our dreaming of the future. You are the Creator and the Word. Bless our building and designing, our reading and writing. You are counter of our hairs and caretaker of the sparrows. Bless our big and small decisions, our light and heavy worries. You are healer and reconciler. Bless our bumps and bruises, our fights and failings. You are the sower of seeds and the reaper of … [Read more...] about a prayer for a new school year