Relishing the Moment

This weekend I started reading the gospel of Luke in The Message and I’ve really been stuck on one section in chapter one (verses 23 – 24):

“When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home. It wasn’t long before his wife, Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy.”

This section is part of the story of Zachariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. This relatively small passage gives us a snippet into the lives of a high priest and his wife. At the point in their lives when the angel appears to Zachariah they are both old and have never had any children. And the angel appeared at the one point in Zachariah’s life that he would EVER enter the Holy of Holies and tells him he’s going to have a very special son.

Let me say this again, this is one small part of the story of the life of Zachariah and Elizabeth so I think what Luke chooses to share must be important to his point. And apparently their life had been a long, childless, and likely sad and lonely one that may have been defined more by what they weren’t (parents) instead of who they were (both descendants of Aaron the High Priest). Then Luke shares the information I am stuck on: “She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy.”

She had waited for this her whole life and had likely given up on her dream of motherhood, considered at that time an important sign of God’s blessing on a husband and wife. But when God moved and pregnancy happened, she relished it. She relished right where she was and embraced the season she was in. Like any expectant mother I am sure she thought and dreamed about the life of her future son. It’s possible she didn’t know what the angel had shared with Zachariah because he was mute when he exited the Temple. I am sure she also struggled with some of physical ‘issues’ that happen with pregnancy, especially to older moms. I had my last baby when I was 30 years old and while I know that’s fairly young, I also know there was a huge difference in how pregnancy affected my body at 30 versus 25.

But Luke doesn’t tell us any of that. All he says is that she relished the pregnancy. She relished right where she was in that moment.

This afternoon I dropped my baby, Sophalopes, off at driver’s ed. Let me rephrase that – I DROPPED MY BABY OFF AT DRIVER’S ED! I asked her if she wanted me to walk into the enormous high school building and help her find where she needed to go. She said, “Nope” and practically ran from the car. In fact, I am not sure the car had come to a full stop when she hopped out. And then I pulled over and burst into tears. Simultaneously I was caught between mourning the passing of one season (I was finally promoted out of Middle School after 9 years last week) and rushing headlong into an uncertain future. And I am struggling.

It’s hard to relish the moments we’re in. Some are hard, some are celebratory, some are flat-out horrible. Some are a combination of all of the above.  Most moments are completely ordinary, and those are some of the most difficult to remain in. Each moment is a pre-cursor to the next and each one is pregnant with possibility. But no matter what’s happening in any given moment it’s the only one we have. If we are stuck looking behind or can’t stop looking ahead we miss the only moment we can actually experience.

Elizabeth relished her pregnancy. Alone. For five months. And I am asking myself, can I relish right where I am without letting myself be crushed between the weight of the past and the fear of the future?

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Just because I enjoy laughing at myself, I’ll give you this little peek behind the curtain so to speak…I decided to experiment with some different writing locales to help me focus so I tried a local bakery/coffee shop today. I put in ear plugs to mute the satellite radio that was playing a little too loud in the background. I could still hear the music, but it wasn’t distracting. Then all of sudden I found myself singing, “Play That Funky Music” out loud. Can anyone hear that song and NOT sing along? I may need to find another spot…or charge admission to the show.

 

 

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Cleaning As I Go

I am woman who likes to clean as she cooks. By the time I serve a meal (which lately isn’t very often because I never know who will be home at dinner or worse what anyone wants to eat) I like to have the bulk of the meal preparation cleaned up. For instance, I just made myself a scrambled egg for breakfast, when I sat down to eat the egg I already had all the utensils used to make the egg in the dishwasher and all the ingredients back in the refrigerator. And the stove and countertop are clean. I find it very difficult to sit down and enjoy a meal while the kitchen is a mess.

Furthermore, I can’t move onto dessert while the dinner dishes are still out. I have to clean up the dinner dishes before I can serve the ice cream, or cup cakes, or whatever. In other words, I struggle to enjoy one moment until the remnants of the last one are nice and tidy. But that isn’t real life, is it?

JellO Salad

(Remember these?)

I’ve been in the middle of a messy place for many months. In my last post I mentioned that I was uncomfortable with my own thoughts and that they are playing tug of war with some of my most closely held beliefs. I’ve been waiting for those thoughts to tidy themselves up before I shared them. But that hasn’t really happened. I told a friend I feel like I’m waiting for the Jell-O in my mind to set before I can pull it out of the fridge and serve it.

I’d like to say it’s for some noble reason, but the truth is I’m a big chicken. I am afraid others will look at my mess and judge. I am afraid of being misunderstood. I am afraid of being wrong or being perceived as wrong.

As of this moment, the Jell-O’s not set and I’m done waiting for it. I’m pulling it out of the fridge and serving it up. There may be times we have to drink it with a straw because it won’t stay on the spoon, but I’m rolling with it. I don’t know how often I’ll be serving and I don’t know what I will be sharing, but waiting on everything to sort itself out in a nice and tidy presentation isn’t working for me anymore.