When I threw out my back several weeks ago, both my chiropractor and Nich gently reminded me that I needed to listen to my body and allow myself to be okay with not accomplishing as many things in a day as I was accustomed to doing.
That was a hard lesson for me, to realize that by trying to be "efficient" and "productive," I could actually contribute to harming myself and/or the baby. And I think I only partially learned the lesson -- to slow down physically -- and didn't fully embrace slowing down in spirit.
Currently, one of the nicest aspects of life for me is sleeping in until I am woken up by my husband's kisses in the still-dark of the early morning as he heads off to work. (I used to wake up and get out of bed when he did, even on days when I wasn't subbing, so that I would feel "useful." Now, I try to go back to sleep until he wakes me up to say goodbye for the day. I love our brief but sweet talk and then watching out the window to wave to him as he drives off to work. And now that it's not pitch-dark anymore when he leaves, I enjoy the few quiet moments afterward in the rosy-orange of the dawn.
I've been missing seeing most of this as a blessing until now, because I've felt I needed to do-do-do at the same pace I always have, especially when I've had no subbing job for the day. I was raised on the principle of works-oriented accomplishment, and I learned my lesson well. But I'm beginning to realize that perhaps the best way to grow this life inside me is not exactly the same as the way I tackle most of the rest of my life. "Full steam ahead" probably isn't necessary -- or good. Now that I have decided to stay home for the last month of this pregnancy, I'm learning to cherish the moments given to me.
Looking out the window today, I watched as hundreds of birds -- little ones -- flew across the sky where blue met the pink and orange of the sunrise. I must have watched for a good ten to fifteen minutes. I am not by any means a birdwatcher, but there was something special in seeing them this morning, in having the time to watch them, to be aware that this slowing down is indeed a blessing.
"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner