Holy Monday–Listening for the Sacred Story

I wonder what it was like Holy Monday.

Was there tension in the air?

Thick and sticky humidity foreshadowing the thunderstorms about to roll in?

I sit here this Holy Monday…slowed almost to a standstill.  Time somehow changed its passing.  I see the day lilies poking their green heads through the front landscaping.  Where have the last four years gone?  It’s been a whirlwind of life and love.  Of family and profession.  Of breaking out of the cocoon to flap in the breeze.  I’ve spent so many days flapping.  Convinced myself that only my wings could keep me afloat.  I forgot to trust the breeze.  To savor the sweet smell of spring.  To sail on the current of another’s flutter.  

But today.  On this Holy Monday.  This Holy Monday I perch on a branch to stop and drink it all in.  It’s not time to do; it’s time to be–be-ing; in the being I am breathing.  Discovering a joy for words I thought had abandoned me forever.  Words cobbled together in other times and other places.  Words telling other people’s stories:

The Lord called me before I was born / while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. / He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; /  he made me a polished arrow in his quiver he hid me away. / And he said to me, “You are my servant. Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” /  But I said, “I have labored in vain, / I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; /  yet surely my cause is with the Lord, / and my reward with my God.” (Isaiah 49:1-4)

So many mornings my eyes and heart rush over the words of the prophets.  I convince myself I don’t have time to sit.  Time to ponder.  Time to pray.  The truth is I don’t want to pause.  These stories…these stories somehow are also mine.  Stories that remind me I am part of the fabric of a tale much larger than the small moments I see.  Stories that remind me the flying has less to do with the flap of my own wings and more to do with knowledge and trust of wind and sky and community.  Stories that remind me I am connected to the thousands of stories ever told.  

I’ve spent four years flapping in the breeze and on this Monday, I pause to read.  To savor the words of other stories.  

There’s something in the sitting.  The savoring.  The stillness.  And I know that through this loss of womb, words will be born from barrenness.  Words and sacred story.

You CAN’T Have It All

One of the big lessons of 2013 for me seems to have been “You can’t have it all.”  This might seem harsh, sad, or defeating at a first read.  But I have to say I actually find this lesson to be freeing, empowering, and relieving.  For the first time in my adult life I am neither in a career or striving for a career.  The breathing space of the last three months has opened me to realizing that the myth of wonder woman having and doing it all is just that…a myth.  At least for this woman.

It’s true, I am a recovering perfectionist.  A perfectionist who isn’t focused as much on perfect details, spelling, or cleaning but perfection in terms of expectations of myself.  I may need to cut myself slack in ways and places.  But I also believe there’s a gift in this perfection…the gift of accepting and acting on…you can’t have it all.  Perhaps I could keep fighting my own nature, and try to regularly repeat…”this is good enough; this is good enough.”  But for me that mantra didn’t seem to do much more than get me up and on the hamster wheel daily.  Until my unexpected sabbatical in the wilderness, I didn’t realize how divided I felt day and night.  Until my unexpected sabbatical in the wilderness, I didn’t realize how much of the last three years were spent fighting my own nature to prove that I could in fact have it all.  Until my unexpected sabbatical in the wilderness, I didn’t realize that in the world of blended family, time is gold.  Nights, weekends, and holidays especially.  That’s where forming family happens.  The good, the bad, the irritating, the idiosyncratic.  In my specific case, I didn’t fully realize how much career had prevented me from being present during these moments.

Much of the last three months have been grieving the loss of the myth “I can have it all.”  Fighting with God, fighting with myself.  Letting go of the myth that career and vocation are the same thing.  As my family and I travel into 2014, I walk with anticipation into a new sense of self and vocation.