The reason that we are not fully at ease in heart and soul is because we seek rest in these things that are so little and have no rest within them, and pay no attention to our God, who is Almighty, All-wise, All-good, and the only real rest. ~Blessed Julian of Norwich
I sit this morning in the unexpected quiet and wonder when it was that I last fully felt at rest. In my mind, I replay my adult life. Was it early in my marriage? No, a difficult job and a first pregnancy troubled me that whole first year. Was it the first year I was a mother? No, I spent that year frantically trying to figure out motherhood, flitting to and fro, book to book, having endless conversation with friends who were also new mothers. And so it has gone, year after year, always something to learn, always someone to consult as I seek to figure it all out.
The explosion of the internet fed the noise in my brain. As I found more and more information, more and more communication, I lost more and more rest. Literally. How many times have I sat here in front of this screen, when really I would have been better off praying myself to sleep?
There's just so much to know! There are just so many people from which to learn! It's such a big, big world. And now it's all right here at my fingertips. Conversation. Discussion. Debate. It's all so interesting.
The closest I have ever come to being fully at ease was the last few weeks of bedrest. Though I was anxious regarding birth, I was not anxious about the other aspects of my life. In order to preserve and pursue my peace, I had winnowed my contact with the world to a very tight circle of friends whom I knew would keep directing me towards Him. Of course, I had none of the "outside world" with which to contend because I never left home. But even at home, I was careful to preserve peace and to preserve interior stillness often enough to hear the Lord.
Even now, I relive the day Sarah was born. Sometimes, I am fully awake. More often, I am half asleep. I remember the ride to the hospital. I remember I tried to make one phone call to one friend. She didn't hear the ringing. She never picked up. And then, it was just Mike and God. There was silence around us as we drove through the countryside in the dark of that autumn night. The midwife on call called about halfway there. She was frantic. No peace there. Just Mike and God. All that blood. Life and death. And absolutely nothing left to say. Peace settled as night turned to day. Grace was palpable. I couldn't have asked for more.
I settled into a room and continued to wait to see how God would write this chapter. The thing is, I can't remember the phone calls. I know I talked to people that day and I know I asked for prayers but I absolutely cannot remember the conversations. I remember Michael coming in with a dozen roses and I remember thinking how Kimberlee and Molly would so approve of his choice of flowers. I know he stayed a long time; he missed classes and training. But I don't remember a word he said.
I can't remember the conversations. I can only remember the grace.
I do remember the doctor. In my memory, she shone. Very strange. I was sure she was one of God's great gifts. But I'd never met her before that day. Never had a conversation. And really, she talked and I listened. Not much conversation there. And the midwife with whom I'd had all those careful conversations, nurtured that precious friendship over all those years and all those babies? She was out of town. Never did she suspect I'd deliver so early and she'd miss it. No. It wasn't in the conversations of the day that I found rest. Not at all. It was in the willingness to relinquish my will in order to know His. I stopped seeking. Stopped asking. Stopped looking to other women to shed light on this matter or that. For that space of time, I saw the things that were little and I was embraced by something much bigger.
Have mentioned yet how grateful I am for the hazy clarity of the memory of Sarah's birth?
That's #20 on the gratitude list.