Category Archives: Spiritual

Milestone Mulling

Milestone Mulling

Milestones often kick off a time of contemplation for me.  It’s like I’m just walking down a path – la di da di da – and suddenly I look up!  And I see how far I’ve come!  And I see my surroundings aren’t the same as when I started!

So I stop.  And take stock.  And think.  And eventually start walking again.  The time I spent around our 10th wedding anniversary (10 years!  It stopped me cold.) ended up being a hard period – but the work I did, the therapy I accepted, the communication built between Andrew and me, I feel is so for the good now.

This past week had a series of milestones all in a row, which means I’m feeling extra-contemplative:

– my brother and his wife had their first son, Charlie, who is named after my grandfather who passed away this past Christmas.

– Andrew turned 40.  40!

– I found a grey hair in my eyebrow (I know, what?) and had what I’m pretty certain was my first hot flash this morning.  This plus a couple of other symptoms leads me to think my body is saying “Welcome to the early days of perimenopause, Erika.  How ya doin’?”  (Answer – a little WTF about the whole thing, but in general just fine. Yes, going to doctor just in case it’s something else.)

All of these things are good things, or rather, to be expected things, normal things, things on the path…but I’m standing still and mulling right now.  Gonna swim down into the depths for a little bit, and am interested to see what I bring back to the surface with me.

Re-post from St. Stephens Episcopal Church Blog: God is always there as we journey towards Him

Re-post from St. Stephens Episcopal Church Blog: God is always there as we journey towards Him

Well!  I was asked to contribute some thoughts to the blog run by my church, St. Stephens Episcopal, here in Ridgefield, CT.  They ran this today – enjoy!

 

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God is always there as we journey towards Him

JULY 6, 2017

“Mommy!  Mommy!  MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!”

Ugh.  While my children did the appropriate amount of night-waking as infants and toddlers, we are well past that stage right now, and I am having a lot of difficulty with this 2am Mommy-alarm.

“Mommy, I’m really really really scared!”

Deep breath.  Get out of bed.  Stumble across the hall.

“Mommy,” my 6-year old tells me, “I woke up, and I was all alone, and GOD wasn’t there.”  He is sitting up in his bed, clutching his Winnie the Pooh, and the fear is real on his face.

I sit next to him on his bed, pull him into my lap, and hold him close….and wonder what on earth I’m going to say.  My general rule of thumb with him is to only answer the question he asks, and it’s gotten me through a lot of questions and ponderings as he begins to grapple with the more complex nuances of our world, and the Divine within it.

After my grandfather passed, questions of death and the afterlife naturally came up.  This is what the Bible says, I’d tell him, and this is what I believe, I’d share, but this isn’t something you can know, it’s something we trust in faith.  And it takes a lifetime.  And you change your mind a lot.  But that’s okay, because God is always there as we journey towards Him, working this all out.

He became enraptured with the Apostle Paul this past spring, and how he was one thing one day, and then ZAP he became another.  “Is being Jewish wrong, Mommy?” he asked.  “No,” I answered, and this is what the Bible says and this is what I believe and Jesus tells us to love, love, love and God loves everyone and that’s hard to wrap our minds around, but that’s okay, because God is always there as we journey towards Him, working this all out.

“Why do I have to give some of my toys to charity?” he demanded angrily as we prepared a box to donate to the upcoming Nutmeg festival.  This is what the Bible says about giving, I say, and this is what I believe, and boy is it hard sometimes to give, but that’s okay, because God is always there as we journey towards Him, working this all out.

God is always there.  I realize whatever he has asked, I’ve reiterated this as fact.  With all the nuance and area for interpretation I’ve shared with him, the fact that God is always there has never been up for discussion.

Yet, I don’t always feel that God is there.  There have been times when I’ve felt loved and cared for in Her arms, when I’ve felt the Holy Spirit lift me up and out, when Jesus has been just in my peripheral vision…and there have been times when I’ve called out in pain or for help, and it’s seemed as if my prayer is going into a void.  When a tragedy strikes, and I can’t process how a God who loves us so much and is all-powerful could allow it to be, and so how, how, is God there.

And finally, I remember.  When I was six.  I walked into the living room and found my mother sitting on the couch, hands relaxed and resting on her lap, eyes closed.  “What are you doing?” I asked.  “I’m praying,” she replied, “I’m listening.  Sometimes if you hold yourself very very still and quiet…you can hear God.”

I took this very, extremely, literally.  This seemed a magic trick I could surely do.  That night, I lay in my bed, and held myself very very still and was so so so quiet…and NOTHING.  I wasn’t sure how long I had to stay doing this, so with tenacity I maintained my still quiet state until (of course) I fell asleep.  I woke up the next morning so disappointed.  I truly believed God would say, “well, hello there, Erika! Good work being really still and quiet!  I love you!”  I kept my experiment, and failure, to myself…but it was the first time I allowed the thought to enter my mind – is God really here?

Six is a big age for existential angst, apparently.

“Baby,” I say to my son, “I know exactly how you feel.”

“I was all alone.” He sighed.

“I know how that feels.” I said.  “Honey, everyone feels that way sometimes.  It’s okay if you can’t feel God and that makes you feel alone or sad or mad.”

And maybe our next existential crisis could happen at a time other than 2am, I thought to myself.  Yawn.

Flowers and Beef Broth

Flowers and Beef Broth

Had some stirrings of spirit in the past few days.

Yesterday was glorious and sunny, but a little chilly – so the briskness woke you up, and then the sunshine uplifted you.  I did a big grocery run, and on the list was mint for mint juleps this weekend (Derby Day!).  Rather than pay the $5.99 for a sad packet of mint leaves from the grocery store, I wanted to buy a mint plant that could give us minty goodness for the whole summer season.

Pansies,_Town_Gardens,_Swindon_-_geograph.org.uk_-_779584I went to an Agway I pass on the way home from the grocery store, and bought my mint plants (3 small seedlings – going to put them all in a planter and start a kitchen garden of herbs on our deck)…and while I was there, I bought a hanging basket of pansies.  I kind of became smitten with pansies when doing the Easter Flowers for my church last month – I saw them starting to bloom at the greenhouse, and they just looked so colorful and dear, with their smooshed surface and bright designs.

I hung up the pansies, and set out the mint, and – there – spirit.  I was content in the moment, and eagerly anticipating the future, with these plants.

Then today, it’s a drizzly cold rainy day.  I’m working from home (Isaac threw up last night, so we kept him home just in case it’s a bug and not I-ate-a-whole-container-of-raisins-because-autism), and I’m wearing an oversized button-up sweater.  I just heated up some beef broth leftover from making beef stew (with leftover brisket, and I tell you what, YUM) and the salty warmth and beefy flavor is just so comforting and good.  I trend anemic, and I’m always amazed at how satisfying eating iron-rich foods is for me.  (Not just beef/red meat, although let’s be honest, it’s the tastiest way…).

I tipped my bowl and drank the warm broth and – there – spirit.  Appreciating the flavor of the sip, and feeling ready to continue with my day.

There’s hope, I’m saying.  I won’t be lost forever.

 

I took an online quiz yesterday (because why not) and one of the questions was “who’s your top priority?”.  The options were MYSELF, MY SPOUSE, FAMILY, WORK, OTHER.  And I went, “huh”, because let’s be honest, my priority right now is myself.  Get myself out of this funk, get myself right again, me, me, me.  I think this is okay, in a put your own oxygen mask on first so you can help others kind of way.  But still…not fun to select MYSELF.  Dude.