About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

Motherhood is not a biological designation
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« Christmas is a kill joy. | Main | A letter to my parents who live 1,676 miles away »
Wednesday
Dec192012

Newtown.  

I had not thought of Friday's shootings as an act of terror until this morning- when I dropped my five year old off at school, and there was a policeman guarding the entrance, and we couldn't leave our kids outside under the breezeway anymore, but had to walk them inside through the front door.
When I could see the fear on parents' faces, and the thought: "This could be the last time I kiss my baby goodbye," in their eyes.  
And I live halfway across the country from Connecticut.
And this is just one school.
This fear is not the way things should be.

I think this is the refrain of every heart in the wake of this tragedy: this is NOT the way things should be. 
 

I think we know, deep down in our groaning places, that this world was not meant to be broken, and these hearts of ours, were not meant for the daily breaking.

 

This is the first Advent we've used Ann Voskamp's advent wreath. It's never struck me before that the symbol of Advent is a pregnant woman on a donkey.

That one of the metaphors for the greatest story ever told is pregnancy.

 

Each night, we move Mary one tiny step along her spiraling path, and her journey seems to go so slowly.

I remember being pregnant, how those last weeks crawled by; how with Kyrie, who was a week late, I woke up every morning thinking, "Is today the day?" and went to bed every night thinking, "maybe tonight is the night?"

I lived those last weeks in a state of constant preparedness: careful what I ate, how much sleep I got, if my bag was packed, had I taken a shower, maybe even shaved my legs? (like in the middle of birthing, with my nethers bared for all the world to see, I'm actually thinking about some stray leg hair?)

How with each day that passed without her appearance, I feared the unknown a little more, I felt the weight a little heavier; it got harder and harder to to plod on.

 

We inch Mary along her path, and I think of her plodding on into the unknown, so agonizingly slowly towards Bethlehem.  Mary waited, not even knowing what she waited for, and as she waited, she grew. 

It's a story of long suffering. 

 

Our pastor's wife reads from Romans in church on Sunday.

She says,

That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.

We are enlarged in the waiting.

We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us.

But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

 

I think of Mary sitting on our kitchen table.   She started out her little Advent journey with only one candle to light the way, but each night, we add another light, and her path grows brighter with each long day that passes.

Could this be true for us? Then why does the world seem to grow darker?

 

And then our pastor comments: 

The problem with waiting is that it requires us to stay present to the ache of what is missing. It asks us to sit with the pain of what we do not yet have.

 

So this is why it feels so dark.  

It's in the pit of my gut as I rubbed my little five year old's mohawk and kissed him goodbye, trying not to cry in front of him, as I thanked his teachers-these everyday stewards of our childrens' safety- and took in the brave looks on their faces, as I held the door for other parents dropping their treasures off-this daily letting go and trusting the unknown. It's in my voice when I get to the car and call my husband, finally breaking down and crying that it's not fair. We shouldn't have to feel this kind of fear, and he confirms that yes, he has new security procedures at the middle school where he teaches special education to emotionally disabled kids-the very population profiled for these kinds of tragedies, precious kids who have their own everyday stories of suffering and brokenness and victimization.

 

It's in my anger, my groaning like birth pangs when I cry out to God, when are you coming back? Why is life like this? Why do these things happen?

 

I sit in the middle of the ache and I remember that even as a pregnant woman grows more and more anxious for her baby to arrive as she gets larger, grows tired of waiting, of the ache, 

our anticipation for our rescuer is fed by the aching awareness of brokenness.

 

The more I rant that things aren't right, the more I long for the one who will make it right.

 

I wait for the rescuer to come back, to make this world new, to set the captive free, to, even as our President prayed, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

 

But all I can really pray for right now is comfort for those who mourn.

 

I feel so helpless.  What can we do in the face of such brokenness?

I am reminded again of pregnancy- this feeling of helplessness, that something is happening to you that you cannot control, and all a woman can do is wait.

Can we hope, even as a mother does, that all the pain and sacrifice will be worth it because on the other side of waiting is new life?

That waiting does not diminish us? That waiting enlarges our capacity to love?

 

Then this is my prayer: God, help me to wait well. Help me to stay present to the ache of all that is broken. Help this ache to feed my capacity to love. Help me labor to love.  Because love is the only thing that can make things new. 

Amen. 

 

 

 

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