Friday, July 13, 2012

By the Time I Finished, I Came Out New

This morning, I read a post by Judy Douglass on going low. It's about motherhood, but it's also about choosing the "lowest place" in all things. Judy writes about what it means to "go low": you go last; you give up your plans to defer to others; you sacrifice sleep; you forfeit your own time.

I need to read it. I need it like I need air. I wake up with the little ones bouncing around me wanting to bake cookies, play dolls, read, and swing on the swing with me. But I want to be alone. I want to sleep. I want to read poetry.

They need hair brushed, sunscreen applied, laundry folded, emotions soothed. All day long.

Once, before children, I slept until noon. I strolled downtown to a coffee shop and drank a leisurely cafe mocha while reading poetry books and composing thoughtful poems of my own.

The whole day belonged to me.

Then I became a mother, and I was depressed for years and years. I wrote this in the midst of one of the hardest days, and by the time I finished it, I came out new on the other side. 

Steadfast in Motherhood

Split-pea soup on the stove;
chicken pot-pie in the refrigerator;
ingredients for morning waffles made ahead;
laundry, folded; bed, made.

I’m here, God, with candles lit
in the middle of the day.
Just me, with a steadfast heart,
like some pebble thrown out across
a pond, settled in generations of silt. 

I still believe and wait for wonder to seize me
in the midst of flour, sugar, and peas.

This morning at 8:00 I drove
to get groceries. The check-out line
was long enough for me to read every headline,
study a hundred other women’s lives,
wrapped in silk and chocolates.

I kept thinking of my soft, warm bed
where once, I slept in
for hours, then sipped cocoa, reading poems
in the middle of the day. Maybe here and there
a light-hearted phone call.
Me, pampered, but with a lost heart
wanting freedom
with only myself to please.

God, you have saved me from myself.
You recreated me in a new recipe.
I’m the pebble that shines because of the
elements that cover and consume it.
You let others dine on me and be satisfied,
and I let myself wash away with the dishwater.
You have come, in the midst of myself,
and saved me.  
Have you learned to take the lowest place? Teach me!


Jeedoo said...

We make a great team, Heather!

Elainelaurin said...

my youngest was very colicky for 10 mons, at the 6 mon mark i was beside myself, and remember saying.. you better dig in for the long haul and find something inside to meet this, i did , we tease her about being a high maintenance baby and she responds with,... tru, and i am  a high maintenance adult, and that modeling has taught her to attend well to her maintenance now, and taught me that i am so much more than i think i might be in any given moment

aarasmussen said...

I love this post, and the poem...amazing, isn't it, how writing can so often be a life raft to take you to the other side?

Live with Flair said...

 Yes! I feel that way about writing, Alizabeth!

Live with Flair said...

 We do!!!