Christ comes not to bring peace but to cause trouble, but it is trouble that detaches us from harmful patterns of behavior, opens our hearts, leads us to greater freedom and ultimately saves us. –Michael Casey, Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Interactive Christology
After reading over the last blog post a number of times, I realized that the conclusion is just too abrupt. As it is often in life, I want to skirt over the difficult times and fast forward to the freedom and salvation. But the truth is as I eluded, motherhood has been painful and clarifying and freeing all at the same time.
It happened for me subtly at first; the urgency of feedings and diaper changes at all the most inopportune times and then with the tender heartache of playground scuffles and hurt feelings…the growing awareness that my life was not my own. The day in and day out work of raising children erodes your false self like the ocean waves persistently lapping against the shore. You continually put your children’s needs before your own, and schedule your life around theirs. But that Divine work is slow and can be easily sabotaged by growing resentments or even the desire to build-up a new false self, the supermom.
And then at some point the storms hit, putting everything in perspective with a piercing truth…your children mean more to you than your own life. For me it happened when my child was betrayed by her best friend, and when I heard the psychiatrist say my son had multiple learning disabilities. And then there are the tsunamis, when the counselor told me my daughter was bulimic, and when I sat with my depressed son trying to convince him his life was worth living.
These are the moments you never want to have but they are also the ones that open hearts and usher in a greater freedom. In the midst of the crisis you are completely and utterly present. Every meaningless pretense falls away. Having exhausted all your own resources, as the mystic says, you fall to your knees. In those (in retrospect) graced moments I get it. Those moments are unitive. I am completely brought out of my own head, my own self-centered ways, my own way of seeing the world–I am one with my children and we are all wrapped up in the Almighty.
In those moments there is such clarity. I understand my relationship to the Divine One. God is all-powerful. All my strength derives from this Love. And the troublemaker is there too, never leaving my side.
I won’t say that I am happy for the bulimia and the depression and all the mess of life. If I could, I would wish them all away. Rather, I accept them for what they are. I am trying, as the poet Rumi suggests, to welcome everything and everyone who come to the door of my life. But it’s hard. What I can say is that I burst with gratitude that I have a Strength to draw on. And I am ever so grateful that there is One who ushers me into freedom, bringing me the truth of who I really am.
The sun blinding in its reflection off the creek behind our apartment.