In the Beginning

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written on January 5, the first morning returning to work in the new year

“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”

My 2015, I lay before the Creator. A shape-less, useless lump of clay. Wet and slimy, it sticks to my hands and I am overwhelmed. So much is yet to be known – what will be shaped from this day? This month? This year?

Will it be a strong structure that can withstand the wear-and-tear of whatever is to come? Will the structure created be so bound to the temporary that by 2016, it will be relegated to a shelf as a relic to days gone by.

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Baptized in Muddy Waters: This Journey of Calling

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DSC_0781The day has begun with the early summer sunrise. A cry woke me earlier than usual, so I find myself with time to spare. I prepare my mind for the day ahead, but I can’t get past the next hour. My day depends upon what I find in the crib… crusty-eye that daycare nurses will label pink-eye? Or a clearer eye that has already been cured enough by the eye-drops from the previous night to allow us to pass by without detection? Continue reading

It’s a Rollercoaster

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Scribbles on a paper, torn and tattered on the edges from the trip home. “It’s a rollercoaster,” he exclaimed as he showed it off when I arrived to pick him up from daycare.

Now it sits on my kitchen table.

It stares me in the face as I prepare for the task of the day: to walk a young man through the valley of the shadow of death. Continue reading

Eleven Months and Ten Days.

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0829367999002Eleven months and ten days after his first arrival in this world, it’s time to say goodbye to the intimate role of being the source of nutrition for my youngest. As the days come to an end, I give thanks for the blessing that it was – to nourish, to comfort, to sustain this little life from my own. It was gift. It was blessing. From the early days in the hospital to the grueling first months. From the return to work with all the embarrassing mechanics to the nighttime bedtime routine with all its sweet tender moments.

Since the beginning when we savored that first golden hour after birth, there has been an invisible tether that kept our personhood interwoven together. We have been two human bodies in deep need of one another, sharing in our fragility and strength in a way in which no other human relationship can compare. Continue reading

Embracing my calling as HOMEmaker

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On my day-off from work, I look ahead at the day… the sticky messes, tall laundry piles, empty pantry, and long to-do lists to make home for my family. It is a day that is mundane and yet it is one of the most important I have all week. My resume says I am a Minister to Youth. My paycheck and our daycare bills tell that I am a working mom. And yet, at the heart of it, I am first and foremost a HOMEmaker.

For some, my calling as a HOMEmaker will be perceived as traditional and predictable. Some might assume it to be old school or even a role of gender discrimination. My previous-self would judge my current-self. I would reject this calling for I am a supporter of women’s rights and daughter of the modern age.

Life has a way of changing you. Parenthood has a way of changing you. Continue reading

Personal Training for the New Year

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“With the coming of the end, a great bustle and business begins to shake the nations of the world. The time of the end is the time of the massed armies, ‘wars and rumors of war,’ of huge crowds moving this way and that, of men ‘withering away for fear,’ of flaming cities and sinking fleets, of smoking lands laid waste, of technicians planning grandiose acts of destruction. The time of the end is the time of the Crowd: and the eschatological message is spoken in a world where, precisely because of the vast indefinite roar of armies on the move and the restlessness of turbulent mobs, the message can be heard only with difficulty…

To leave the city of death and imprisonment is surely not bad news except to those who have so identified themselves with their captivity that they can conceive no other reality and no other condition.  In such a case, there is nothing but tribulation: for while to stay in captivity is tragic, to break away from it is unthinkable – and so more tragic still.

What is needed then is the grace and courage to see that ‘the Great Tribulation’ and ‘the Great Joy’ are really inseparable, and that the ‘Tribulation’ becomes ‘Joy’ when it is seen as the victory of life over death…

It is not the last gasp of exhausted possibilities but the first taste of all that is beyond conceiving as actual.”

~Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable..excerpt found in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

As Thomas Merton writes, Jesus was born in a stable away from the world that crowded together for the census. Away from the machines of individualism, consumption, and fear, I seek to walk farther out to the fields so that I can be one of those who receives the good news of new life born in the most unlikely places.  The magnetism to the world’s highest esteemed products – success and happiness – is strong. In this new year, may I work on my own personal training – strengthening my muscles to break away as I practice… Continue reading

To Know the Heart of a C-Section

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Machines beeped as the straps monitored the baby squirming around in my belly.  Little room left, we were only hours away from meeting him for the first time.  We settled in for the long labor ahead… a book in my dad’s hands, needlepointing in my mother’s hands, and an iPhone in Drew’s hands. I leaned back and closed my eyes.  Unable to take in all the anticipation, I tried to quiet my mind but I couldn’t help but wonder about the pain and ecstasy of bringing this baby into the world.

Breaking the silence, the nurses came flooding in.  Drew stood to read the monitors and my parents emptied their hands as the nurses acted.  They were quick, calm, but anxious – turning me on my side and placing the oxygen mask on my mouth.  “The baby’s heart-rate is too low – he can’t handle these long contractions.”  A needle stuck in my side aided in returning his heart-rate to normal but the words “you will probably need a c-section” lingered in the air. Continue reading