Love is patient

September 15, 2014

Love is Patient // Fiona Lynne

Life slows down radically when you have a newborn to care for.

She takes her time to eat. She takes her time to be rocked to sleep. When she’s in the mood for playing, her games are slow too – the same funny face or little movement over and over again. Dressing her is slow, as I gently persuade her to “bend this elbow, now straighten that one”.

My own activities decelerate too. Emails are written in stages, taking a couple of days to be completed. I add things to online shopping baskets and finally get around to pressing ‘order’ a week later. Going to the post office waits for the right moment when she’ll be happy taking a trip down the road with me.

I’m not used to this speed of life. I love to be productive. I love to be busy. When I had a job, I always got the most done under a time pressure. Tell me that this campaign brief needed to be written by next week, I’d procrastinate making cups of tea and re-organising the filing. Tell me it was due by the end of the day, I’d have that and about six other tasks done and dusted with time to spare.

Some days, I get so frustrated by this new speed. I want to be doing doing doing, and all this sitting around holding the one toy she likes while she inspects it intently for the hundredth time… Can’t she just learn to grab it already??

I’m currently reading my way through a book called Slow Church. Last week I read a passage where the authors quote from the book Compassion: A Reflection on Christian Life by Henri Nouwen, Donald McNeill and Douglas Morrison. It said this:

“They define impatience as an “inner restlessness… (that is) experiencing the moment as empty, useless, meaningless. It is wanting to escape from the here and now as soon as possible.””

This was one of those moments when the words seem to jump out the page and whack you over the head.

I’ve tended to define patience as long-suffering, which I then redefine as the necessary ability to put up with really annoying people. This definition though, it brings it right into my world today. It brings it down down to that sofa where I sit shaking the owl-shaped rattle in front of my wide-eyed two month old’s face.

Do I really see these moments as meaningless? Recognising that I sometimes do hurts. I don’t want to feel that way about any time I spend with my precious girl. And yet, I’ve become so accustomed to a certain pace of life, a way of defining a moment’s meaning by how much it produces.

The authors of Slow Church went on to write, “If we as God’s people have any hope at all of slowing down and savoring the richness of life and God’s abundant goodness, then we have to address this impatience that lies deep in our hearts.” 

I picked up this book because its title appeals to me. I’ve spent time and effort the past couple of years, learning to appreciate the goodness that comes in the slow moments – over long dinners with good friends; in late night conversations with my husband on our balcony; on journeys to new destinations as I became happy to just get lost and see what will find me.

But I’m beginning to recognise that I’ve only been scratching the surface. This richness and abundance of life is available in every moment, not just the ones I manufacture and plan to be that way.

Maybe this is something I’ll start to learn through being a mother to my wee girl. She goes determinedly at her own pace. There’s no trying to speed her up or slow her down. She will choose to dwell in each moment for just as long as she needs to, pulling each fragment of meaning from it, without even realising she does so.

It’s not an easy lesson. I still feel the emptiness of not being productive as I’ve come to define it. But I want to fill up that emptiness with the true abundance there is to be found here.

After all, the first word used to describe love in that most famous passage, is patience.

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found treasure #2

September 8, 2014

A few more things I’ve found online recently that have stayed with me. First up, this sweet video…

 

Cleaning my Cup, by Kelley Nikondeha

“Here’s the thing… leaning into the weightier matters of justice involves some invisible work. I need to address my own prejudices, repent of my own judgments, pluck out the splinters obstructing my own vision – and the logs, too. I need the quiet places where I can sit, listen and maybe hear the Spirit blow by. The sight of my own complicity in systemic sins might make me weep.”

Kelley is one of my favourite deep thinkers and this certainly had me pondering how often I jump into shouting about change needed and where I see injustice out there, without inspecting my own heart first.

 

Archbishop of Canterbury offers monastic gap year at Lambeth Palace, on The Telegraph

“In a major break with tradition, the Archbishop is inviting 16 young people to move into the 800-year-old palace by Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament, for a year. They will form a new monastic community, living by the principles of the Rule of St Benedict which prescribes a daily round of prayer and silence as well as work.”

Ohmygoodness. If I was in a place in my life where this was remotely possible I would leap at the chance!

 

The Top 7 Reasons Why You’re Mom-Shaming, by Kim Simon on Scary Mommy

“The Mommy Wars are collapsing our confidence one snarky Facebook comment at a time. We are breaking each other down because we’re crumbling inside, our pre-motherhood identity slowly disintegrating under the weight of the laundry, the groceries, and the thirty thousand jackets and sand toys and leaky sippee cups that our kids have left in the car. Motherhood is hard. So why are we so cruel to each other?”

I like to pretend the Mommy Wars is something that other less-mature women engage in. But in my more honest moments, I know I’m not immune – or innocent. This is an insightful article trying to really understand the why behind this phenomenon. It helps me identify my own weak areas, as well as maybe having a little more empathy for other Mamas when I see them engage with weapons drawn…

 

For When It’s Too Late to Turn Back, by Bethany Suckrow

“There is this hard, messy part of every adventure that no one wants to talk about. The part where you realize that you are very far away from home, and you’re really on your own. The part where your expectations meet reality. The part where it gets frustrating and expensive. The part where the plans you make collapse into one another like a stack of dominoes. The part where you have to tell yourself, “it’s too late to turn back now.” The part where you say a few swears because you’re scared.”

This struck a chord with me as a new mama (although she’s writing in a different context). I’ve found myself looking down at my sweet girl and thinking, Shit, there’s no going back now. And it’s like Bethany says: it’s not that I regret this, it’s just crazy hard and scary and new some days.

 

What have you read recently that stayed with you?

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