Friday 31 December 2010

Getting out of my own way ... again!

My friend Debbie recently helped me learn a lesson I've grappled with for years.  When I want something to get better, to change, or when I need help, I pray.  And then, when life feels uncomfortable (and by that I mean, when life is not going my way) I think that my prayer hasn't be heard.  I wonder if I'm all alone... why others can manifest their desires, but I can't.

What she told me helped me understand the 'gritty moments' of life differently.  Einstein said that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome. If I want things to change, then I have be willing to let something different happen in my life in order to allow change to flow.

By allowing life to get a bit 'bumpy', I open myself up to something new.  I can regress and try to control events, to restore everything to the way I like it, but that's blocking change, evolution and growth.  It's closing the door on new opportunities and possibilities that might enrich me far more than the status quo.

It's challenging when life throws me a curve ball, and when I don't know what to do next.  But at least now, I can see those moments as doorways to an even fuller expression of who I am, into new experiences...

God is in the small things

It was meant to take five hours, door to door: it took 19 hours.  James and I were due to return home from Cork on December 19th - Snow-Swept-Saturday!  As a result of the snow, a trip that was already a wee bit challenging, took on a life of its own! 

We spent hours in airports and on the plane (5 of those hours just sitting on the tarmac in Cork Airport), and finding transport from Standstead was impossible. Perhaps it's because of hormones, new-mother-tiredness, or a combination of all the above, but I didn't feel as strong and resilient as I normally do that day. 

Yet traveling with an 8 week old baby wasn't as hard as it could have been: in all the chaos, waiting and crowds, there were so many tiny moments of grace ... a space to breast-feed in privacy in the middle of a crowded airport, strangers who volunteered to carry the pram down flights of stairs to and from the plane, a baby changing room appearing as if from nowhere, and James himself barely cried that day (which is unusual for him!)...

It was the sort of chaotic day I would rather not live through, but there will always be such days: days when everything falls apart, when it's seems so easy to feel alone and vulnerable, when the illusion that we are in control of our lives  is swept aside. 

Looking back on that day now, I see that I wasn't alone.  God was with me, in the small things.  Those small graces were an invitation to surrender to feeling powerless and put my trust beyond myself, to be willing to fall and trust that I would not be hurt. 

I didn't have to do it on my own.  I didn't have to have full control.  I could (and did) pray for help and then - and this was the tricky bit - trust that, when I took the first steps, help would arrive.  And it did - time and time again that day.

Thursday 23 December 2010

Invisible grace

It has been such a long time since I last posted: an indication of how time-intensive babies are!  What I have discovered about myself through pregnancy and giving birth is this: It is my challenges - the moments when I am required to go beyond my own limits, that are the doorways to grace, to an expanded, fuller version of who I am.

Giving birth was easily the most physically challenge event of my life.  It felt as if I kept going to my pain barrier and then had to go beyond it.  Time after time after time... I've never felt like my body so intensely before.  What amazed me was that I was able to go beyond my own limits, my own ideas of what I could or couldn't do.  My limits were figments of my imagination - not ultimate reality.

Since James has arrived, I guess I've been playing with my mental and emotional limits too!  The exhaustion, on top of a difficult birth, does test new mothers.  And I'm no exception.  But it is amazing how - yet again - I have been able to rise to the challenge. 

I really 'get' that having challenging experiences opens the doorway of grace. The grit isn't in vain, it allows me to create my own pearls!

No pictures this time as James is crying, so I need to go!  Wishing you a grace-full Christmas and New Year.