I prepare now to enter into the liminal space where created life moves from the divine unknown into the worn, faulty hands of flesh. They say that you cannot see the face of God and live. To welcome the newly born might be just like that. Just as this baby boy will emerge from this divine-human threshold, we will perish and be born anew. A new me will emerge – born of death and resurrection and heeding the call to go out and embark on a whole new world.
For the ones who receive the newborn into our care, standing in the threshold is a risky place to be. The only way to the threshold is through pregnancy pains or adoption anxieties. The pressure weighs heavy, distorts our very physical bodies, and leaves us trembling before the mystery.
As my frame grows, the aches and pains increase. I can’t help but let out small verbal outbursts daily routines demand me to bend and stretch these small bodies of ours – mine (32 years) and yours (33 weeks). The growing pains are reminders of all the aches and pains still yet to come. It is as if my Body is remembering the physical suffering and stretching and making room to come. It is as if my very physical frame has its own memories stored within that require their own processing in preparation of upcoming transitions.
The Body’s memory triggers the Mind’s. I begin looking at the calendar to prepare me for the long December nights that will bring the long December days to follow. My Mind sees the rounder face in the mirror and struggles to resign to its shape, knowing that this face will remain for many months to come before I can climb out of the valley created by pregnancy’s manipulations. It is not simply vanity or selfishness that the Mind triggers. It is the naming of time before I truly recognize myself in the mirror, before I feel the runner’s high after letting my feet fly on the trail, before I feel the fabrics and see the sights of my clothes packed away this past spring, before I remember fully who I am.
The life is known: baby brother, boy #3. The name is close to being known. The items have all been retrieved from storage. He moves and kicks, perhaps even practicing prenatal yoga. And yet now is still the waiting time. 13 more weeks. It is too early for him to burst forth, breathe this common air, and join this human pilgrimage . His presence may be growing more pronounced every day, but we are still living in the pregnant pause.
The life is known: a return to Louisville for the next chapter. The jobs are secured. Our home will return to our possession next summer. Our minds leap and jump and stretch. We imagine the ways our life will return to “normal” and the ways it will feel as an all new beginning. The year cannot be rushed nor the days counted down. The days prescribed have too much to teach us. We are living in the pregnant pause.
Somewhere deep within me, life is growing. Distinct and separate it will one day be. But as for now, it is one with my life. That which I consume, it consumes. That which I enact, it joins me in participation. We are fused beings whose physical union is temporary but whose relational union is eternal.
The external world will be changed, just as any life brings effects to the people, earth, and time with which it lives. Brothers will shift in relationship as they seek to include another sibling. Parents will shift in patterns as four arms now care for three lives. Extended family will have one more to hold and to name.
Friends are being grown alongside this one, all school peers still in wombs around the city and beyond. Future teachers might not yet have found their callings. Future professors are college students with dreams and a lot of hard work ahead of them.
All will change. But for right now, I hold the change within. Continue reading
Three peers in ministry.
One small office.
Huddled together, her smile and the light in her eyes gave away the surprising news. After over three years, it was finally here – a positive pregnancy test. I don’t remember what was said, but like a film clip, I remember it in the silence – wide-eyed disbelief, stunned faces, tears streaming down our cheeks.
Three peers in ministry.
Three women pregnant at the same time. Continue reading