Friday, July 17, 2015
Sacred Time: A Rebirth As I Get Ready to Give Birth
I mentioned a few weeks ago that vacationing with a toddler is not the same as actual vacationing. Vacations with extended family are a mixed blessing for this homebodied introvert. Time I might ordinarily spend alone or with my husband, like after Aaron goes to bed, was instead spent hanging out with my nieces and nephew, playing board games, or sitting around talking in a group. Andrew has given me such a gift in his parents and siblings, and never am I more aware of it than when I crankily, sometimes guiltily feel like I'd prefer to leave the group and be on my own.
That's not to say I think always opting to spend time and energy with others is a morally preferable choice to spending time alone; in fact, in most cases I don't think it's a moral issue at all. But self-knowledge is a good thing, and the more I've come to know myself, the more I've seen that I am much kinder and more giving in groups when I've had time to recharge by myself.
I struggle constantly with time. Mustering the motivation to get something done at a certain time, when I think to myself that it could be done anytime or that doing it later isn't a big deal (when, in reality, the demands of caring for a 1 1/2 year old means I really don't have any time when I can do whatever I need or even want to do) is a constant effort for me. I try to remind myself that time is sacred, for the simple reason that Christ freely chose to enter into it, all for love of us.
During the school year I work three days a week, and starting after vacation, I was starting my summer schedule of working one day a week. I started feeling a hunger to use all that new time well. Working on my book and helping a friend with a writing project of his own have taken significant time away from this blog in the past year, but in all honesty, there were also a good amount of days where I just plunked down in front of Netflix, happy to temporarily relax, as soon as Aaron napped and ignored things like dishes and tidying up that I know help me to actually relax (please tell me I'm not the only one who experiences ridiculous bouts of cray cray in a messy living space). I'd been feeling unfulfilled creatively and just generally stressed. In a way, our vacation felt like a final break from what had become my normal routine.
Typically I'm not much of a list-maker, but I sat down and made a list of projects for the summer as soon as we came home. Some were necessities, like research for another car and carseat and recommitting to the budget plan we've followed on and off since Andrew and I got married, but I also resolved to do one creative thing I enjoy, like journaling, knitting, or playing my ukelele, each day. The break from screens has been such a breath of fresh air--the other day I found myself drawing with Aaron's crayons after he went to bed!-- and to my great contentment, these creative pursuits have motivated me to get more practical things, like chores, done as well.
Why am I telling you I am the ultimate lazy housekeeper with the hobbies of a hipster (whom I do not, by any stretch, consider myself!)? It's so clear to me why I hungered for greater productivity and purpose. In letting some tasks I should've been more responsible for fall by the wayside, and just in the busyness of our life, I knew I'd also been ignoring my spiritual life. I like to pray the Rosary in the car while running errands, but since Andrew has had our car for his summer job, I haven't been driving as often, and as far as just prayer from the heart, I'd become so quick to fill my hours with sound instead of silence. On some days, Aaron's bedtime prayers were my first prayers of the day. For shame.
I stumbled onto this site recently (Please, please, please click over! You will love it; I promise), the work of a fellow alumna from my alma mater, and was awestruck by the poetry and beauty of Carolyn's writing. I felt a spiritual kick in the pants, and I also felt a little envious and nostalgic for my former self, the one who had time to sit at the foot of the Blessed Sacrament at her leisure. I know, though, that at this season in my life of marriage and babies, my prayer life has been called out of the chapel. Service and sacrifice for my family, all in the name of God's glory, is the day to day prayer my vocation asks of me, and I've been praying so often to meet it with love.
I walked to confession on the 4th of July and sobbed at the end for the joy of coming back to the Father, of just making time for Him. On the way home, it started pouring buckets. Seriously? I know how contrived it sounds, but hey, the weather's not up to me. I just stopped crying and cracked up, marveling at how, on Independence Day, of all days, I had just been loved by Christ in his infinite mercy and the true freedom it brings. I'll take that baptism for what it was: home.