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.

Re-entry

Re-entry

We were so smart and kind to ourselves this year!  We returned from our annual Ohio summer trip on Sunday, and due to the quirks of the holiday weekend, had all of Monday and Tuesday off before we had to be back at school/work on Wednesday.  It was lovely – slow, easy, summer days to get the house back in order, play some video games, assure Mako we love him and when we leave we will return, try a new cocktail from Southern Living (recipe: HERE, and verdict – eh, it’s okay.  Not gonna replace my G&T for summer cocktail preference.), etc.

But this morning, I forgot something.  I forgot that the first days of school (in the fall, and in the summer) the bus company really doesn’t have it all figured out yet.  They seem to prefer to do a trial by fire on the first day, so the times they tell you for pick up and drop off are really just kind of made up.  In my stay-at-home life, I just planned a very easy day for the first days, since I knew I’d be standing by the road, squinting to see if I could spy a school bus, for an hour or so in the morning and the afternoon.

stop-1206475_960_720So, this morning, Andrew and I both had to be back at work to remind our bosses that we’re valuable, reliable, employees…and the buses were 45 minutes late.  Which means we were 45 minutes late.  And as it was happening, I was like, “Erika, you forgot, you dingbat!”.  And, poor Andrew, he’s used to me taking the easy flex day since I have the more flexible schedule…but now I do Isaac’s earlier bus to get to work on time, and he does Kai’s later bus to get to work not-too-late since he can work late and I cannot (have to be home for bus drop-off).

I suppose I should be indignant that the bus company can’t seem to figure this out…but I’m honestly at the “this is how it is” phase.  I’ve been doing first days of school with Ridgefield Public Schools for 8 years now.  This is, absolutely, always, how it is.  Is it rude to parents, cruel to autistic kids who thrive on schedule, and unprofessional in general?  You betcha, but, it is how it is.

I just have to remember this fall…