I have been practicing rest lately. It takes intention: quieting my mind, making peace a worthy chore among chores. Choosing space and stillness over chasing and filling. In those moments, I try to let go of each tense and tired muscle, let my body be: all mind and soul, marrow and nerves.
A prayer, a pause, a plea.
Mostly: a surrender.
A reminder: I won’t unravel, I won’t fall to pieces. I am not holding myself up or together through my goodness or my grit.
I was created to be without trying so hard
I was crying when I called and I hate to do that. Sobbing in a way that made him worry that something was actually wrong. Something was wrong, but it wasn’t an easy something — it wasn’t a thing I could point to, blame, explain. It was everything and nothing and me. It was me.
The day had begun with such hope — dewy and crisp and intoxicating and here I was at three o’clock watching the day float in ashes, taunting and messy and working their way into everything: hair, floor, soul.
Now back to work, him and I, reporting to our polar worlds, warming & warning to keep the frost from making its permanent home between us.
The storm passed and the sky was moss and indigo and a hot breeze exhaled through the screen, a sigh: there is peace and quiet and the promise of a clean day soon, unmarred with my imperfections and expectations. (one in the same?)
“It’s so much pressure,” my cheeks were wet but I wasn’t sobbing anymore, I was only whole hearted, “I don’t want to mess it up. They are humans. Actual, real life humans with souls and skin and they are soft and shapeable and so much. They are so much. I’ve never wanted to do something right so badly in my life.”
A few weeks ago, on an early Friday morning & my baby’s birthday, I went–wrapped in a dusty blue and wrinkled gown–to have a scan of my chest, convinced that the tightness and radiating pain was disease weaving its way into my bones and breasts. The scan was clear, but my mind is not.
I’m not sure where the ache came from, all at once or over time? A sign of growing up and watching the world fall down? How do I live in this tension without being torn apart?
I remember the first time I was alone at home as a kid, the panic. Being alone with myself felt like danger, mortal and weighty. I never told a soul. Instead, I drained myself to never be alone, clinging to friendships and noise and the next thing. Working, blistered, to please others and to distract myself, but never refilled.
I cannot even name what my fear was/is, but the silence would snatch me. I still cannot think about being stranded or outer space or eternity or driving during rush hour without wet hands and a pulsing heart.
I don’t want to be the one that motherhood swallows.
Last Tuesday at work, the world started spinning and I couldn’t make it stop, make sense of it. They took my blood and gave me no answers.
So, here I am.
Frayed, fragile, worn.
How did this happen on my watch? If I ask, shame will gulp me whole down her slimy throat into the dungeon of her belly. There is no light here, yet every flaw feels illuminated.
It’s not that I don’t have faith–I wade often into its cool and deep relief — it’s just that, for me, faith is an intentional and hourly choice, a surrender, like letting go one tense muscle at a time and feeling it there: reminding me I don’t have to hold so tight. I won’t fall apart. I was created to be without trying so hard.
This week marks the first time in over six years that my body has not been an actual source of life or sustenance for my babes. Being their everything has been the hardest and easiest thing. I’m tired. I’m tender. There are days I see it in their marble eyes: I am the most beautiful thing in the world. I see it in my eyes too: this is the most beautiful work. And then there are days I hardly recognize the worn and weepy girl I see in the mirror. And yet, AND YET. I have never been as whole as I am, right now. As I am, a mother.
What motherhood demands of me has stripped my facades and my fear and my faith to its barest bones. And I like what remains: God it still good, motherhood is still good, life is still good.
Their love buoys me and buries me.
I will live in this tension without being torn apart.
I was created to be without trying so hard.
I will rest. I will pursue peace. I will strive for goodness. I will surrender all else.