within/without: waiting

Nine months ago, to the hour, in fact, I was googling “how to tell if your water broke.”

(Because, yes, dear readers, you can’t always TELL. It’s not like it is in the MOVIES. And you definitely feel like a complete IDIOT when you call the hospital to inquire about the above question. Although later that night you will feel vindicated – and also mind-blowingly terrified! – when the nurse returns with your test results and declares matter-of-factly, “Oh. Yes. You’re going to have a baby. Tonight.”)

But I digress.

Nine months ago was S’s last night in utero. I wonder what he thought then, in his warm baby sea, all dark and lovely. Blissfully unaware of the crazy departure ahead.

I remember that when F & I left the house that night, for what we laughingly assumed to be our first-time-parent-false-alarm trip to the hospital, that I bent down – even with that awkward huge pregnant belly – and hugged the dog tightly to say goodbye. Because even though F & I were convinced that it wasn’t really my water that had broken, that we still had at least three weeks till my due date, something instinctual inside me told me that this was the last time it would just be the three of us – F and I and the crazy beagle.

I hugged that dog tight around his neck and whispered, “i love you.” It was silly, I thought; I didn’t want F to hear. But something inside me told me that all of our worlds were about to change.

S’s small world was about to change more than anyone’s. From inside to outside, darkness to light, known to unknown. His journey of becoming was ending and his time to come was now.

This weekend F and I both remarked that we’d realized last week, or the week before, that S has now spent more time outside the womb than inside. Although pregnancy seemed endless while I was in it, it now seems like a blur – a quick movie montage of morning sickness, growing belly, tighter clothes, slower walk, aching back, baby kicks, restless nights, nesting furies.

But when I look at S today – how much he has transformed in the past nine months of ex-utero life – I’m astonished to think he was inside me for an equally long time.

Waiting. Growing. Changing. Becoming.

I mused about this fact all day. What does it teach me, theologically speaking? Why do we take so long to gestate?

I realized that it teaches me about preparation. Decisions, discernment – they take a long time. We may feel ready or think we are prepared, but God’s time is not our time. There is much that must happen behind the scenes before we can act.

Waiting is a theological act. It teaches us about our Creator. It is also a spiritual practice. It teaches us discipline, and hopefulness.

Patience is a virtue; however, it is not mine. I don’t like to wait – I want to act. So even when I’ve been praying about something for a long time, musing for months, when I feel that I’ve come to a decision, I want to act. Now. But that is not always God’s way.

Tonight, on the eve of S’s nine month birthday, God’s mothering Spirit is speaking to me of calm over anxiety, peace over pressure, waiting over doing.

S spent as many months in the womb as he has spent outside – and look at all how he has grown and changed and unfolded in those 18 months combined! What if I spent as much time preparing and waiting and trusting in God’s unfolding of my own life as I did in acting?

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