I’ve a cup of camomile tea next to me, the house is finally clean after we did a morning team effort to banish the dust balls and cobwebs, and I’m sitting in our rocking chair, the sound of Rasmus tapping away on this computer at the dining table. There are a bunch of thoughts waiting to spill out so I think I’ll just let them. Grab a cup of tea of your own and come along with me if you like…
A friend asked me why my blog had been so silently recently. The truth is, I’m not a brilliant blogger. I love to write, and I love sharing that writing with you here. But to be a “blogger” seems to mean so much more than just writing – it’s about writing to a schedule or regularly, finding your niche, figuring out SEO and posting everything on facebook and twitter and pinterest and google plus (does anyone actually use that?).
But that’s not really what’s been stopping me writing here as often as I did before these past months.
I’m 18 weeks pregnant now, and things are going well. We have monthly ultrasound scans here in Luxembourg and so Rasmus and I get the reassurance of seeing our baby growing healthy and heart-strong each month, which has brought a lot of peace to us in this process.
I have this tiny bump just beginning to come. I still don’t really look pregnant yet. I maybe just look like I ate a few too many mince pies over Christmas. It’s a funny thing and so immensely special. I’m excited by every new day, how I notice the small changes in my body, how they signal what is growing and becoming ever more real to me.
And yet you won’t find me posting photos of my bump or our monthly ultrasounds on facebook or instagram. Something about that feels wrong. Perhaps because in those painfully empty months after our miscarriage, I chose to hide the updates of some pregnant friends from my feed, because their joy just made my own lack more jarring. I never begrudged them their right to be excited and to want to share that excitement with the world – I feel the urge too some days – but it hurt me at the time. And so I’m avoiding it.
This pregnancy feels intensely private to me, which surprises me no end. I mean, I’m not usually too shy about the kinds of things I share here. But nowadays, I more often reach for my journal than my laptop. There’s something sacred about this period and I want to dwell in it, truly experience it for myself before I rush to share it.
I know too though that many of you would love to hear how it’s going. Some of you are “real life” friends and many of you have hoped and prayed with us for this baby. And so I want to share the process with you, want to share the joys and the fears of it all muddled up. I just need to figure out that balance, where that line lies.
Life is busy this new year. I’ve managed, with many feelings of guilt, to say ‘no’ to a few projects that I knew I would only be saying yes to out of mis-felt responsibility and a desire to just help. But I had to realise it’s not truly helping if I say yes to things I do not have the desire or motivation to follow through on, to give my best to.
I still have too much, but we’re planning and working on handing pieces over to other people, picking people I can train and work with to do some of the things I can easily let go of.
It feels good and I think it’s the right direction – the direction towards dwelling. Yesterday my body brought home just how needed it is for me to find a better balance, by hitting me with a horrid migraine that is still lingering today. It’s a reminder, I am not a superhuman (as much as I’d like to believe it). I need to work in healthy patterns of rest and renewal to my days and weeks and months.
And so I’m planning that too. In March, I’m taking off for three weeks to the UK to see friends and family. And in the midst of that holiday, I’ve booked to stay at the Northumbria Community for three days for a quiet retreat. I’ll take part in their pattern of Celtic daily prayer and mealtimes, and spend the rest of the time in intentional quiet and space to listen.
When I picked DWELL as my One Word for this year, I think I had in mind the entirely unrealistic idea that from day one I would have it figured out. My life would be a perfect balance of work and rest, family and friends. I would immediately feel the Spirit dwelling in me in a new kind of way. I’d be motivated and disciplined each day to start the day how I’d like to – in quiet and space and stretching and prayer.
Ha. Of course I know that rarely do things change overnight in the way we’d love them to – rarely do we change so fast. But maybe this is the better way, the slow determined way of change coming.
I’m reading Sarah Bessey’s wonderful book Jesus Feminist this month (slowly – to savour it) and I read something today that spoke to this part of my life:
“I learned that sometimes our most holy-mountain faith looks more like spending our whole lives making that mountain move, rock by rock, pebble by pebble, unsexy day after daily day, casting the mountain to the sea stone by stone…”
Maybe part of learning to DWELL this year is learning to exhale. Learning to release the tension that sits in my jaw (Rasmus just walked by and poked me to remind me to relax), the tension that sits in my mind, and do the daily holy work of moving stones one by one. There’s something calming in that, something freeing.
My tea is growing cold so I will stop writing and drink it. Learning to dwell hopefully will result in more cups of tea drank hot! Thanks for sitting here in the space with me. I’d love to hear where you are at this Saturday afternoon…