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.
Lots of people love Oh, the Places You'll Go! I am not one of them. I know it's mostly good-hearted cheer, encouragement for the journey, and wise words from a man who'd seen enough of life to know that the secret lies in looking ahead. But these two pages drive me crazy: "...a most useless place. The Waiting Place..." "NO! That's not for you! Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing." What's wrong with waiting? Most of us spend much of our lives waiting. Waiting for a situation to change. Waiting for a relationship to heal. Waiting for health to improve. Waiting for a holiday or a homecoming. Waiting for test results, an acceptance letter, a job offer, a new opportunity, a shift in scenery or season or mood. Aren't we all waiting somewhere in these winding lines? For crying out loud, Christians are supposed to be waiting all the time. Lest I be accused of being too harsh on Dear Seuss, I get what he's … [Read more...] about dear dr. seuss: you’re wrong
Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. How easily we pass over them, eyes set eagerly on Easter Sunday. Or anticipating Thursday's opening of the Triduum. Our first half of Holy Week probably looks a lot like yours. Work. School. Kids. Meetings. Chores. Bills. The lackluster pregame show before the big kickoff. The forgettable prelude before the fanfare. The ordinary before the extraordinary. But the church's calendar claims these three are holy, too. The earliest days of the holiest week are in-between: not quite Lent, not quite Easter. It is a time of anticipating what is right around the corner, practically within reach. We are almost there. The Main Event looms large on the horizon. All signs point toward its arrival, but the journey here has been so long - can it really be coming? Ahead of us lies both pain and joy, suffering and peace. How can we possibly prepare for all that? How can we hold all this tension at once? These are the last days. They matter. Soon we will remember how … [Read more...] about the forgotten days of holy week