Waiting for “It”
In the wee hours this morning, I finally started feeling contractions! At 4:35 am I awoke to an intense tightening of my abdomen; not very painful, but enough to let me know it was a contraction. Laying there in the dark, first caution and then excitement welled up in me as I thought to myself, “This could be it!” They continued every 10-15 minutes as I tried to rest quietly, checking the clock, thanking the Lord, and finally, waking Seth when I couldn’t keep the secret anymore around 5:30.
Being three days over my “due date”, I am eager to get this baby out of my womb and into my arms! So I was ready to call the doula, have Seth tell his substitute to cover him at work, and get this party started! “Let’s see, 6:00 am now, get through early labor here in the comfort of home, head to the hospital later today, and maybe have our son before midnight. October 27: that’s a good date to be born!” I had it all planned out in my head. 🙂 And yet, here I sit seven hours later, feeling a little too good to be in labor. Hmm… Tick-tock goes the clock.
Isn’t that just like life? We are always so eager to get to the next stage! Whether it’s graduating, getting the job, finding the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend, getting engaged, getting married, getting to retirement, getting the kids out of the house, or just getting past this crazy day…it’s so easy to focus on getting there, wherever the next “there” may be. Before I was pregnant, I so desired to become pregnant; and to be honest, I really have enjoyed this phase of life. But now that society has communicated that my baby should have arrived by now, I struggle to stay content and focused in this moment. It’s natural to feel that way. But really, isn’t all we really have this moment?
Ann Voskamp writes beautifully of the gift of this moment concept in her recent book, One Thousand Gifts and on her blog (http://www.aholyexperience.com/ann-voskamp/). Look how she describes this phenomenon of always being in a hurry to get there:
“Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…. Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.”
I know I do that sometimes. In my impatient waiting for “next”, I completely miss out on now. If I’m not careful to be fully present and grateful for the moment of life I am in right now, I am blind and deaf to the beauty that surrounds me, I am throwing away time. What small act of love can I perform today that might echo throughout eternity? How can I nourish myself and others with the abundant grace that is offered today, which I may find myself in need of for tomorrow’s journey?
Now this doesn’t mean that I won’t prepare for the future. It’s definitely important to have goals and dreams and to take the steps required to reach them. I am not advocating laziness or aimless living. Our goals for the future should guide our choices today. But still, we cannot live in tomorrow.
I choose to live now. I will not just “get through today” until that miraculous moment I long for. Yes, I look forward to what’s to come–you’d better believe I’m excited to look into the eyes of my son, and that I’ve double-checked that our bags are packed, etc! But it’s easy to glamorize the future and miss the miracle of this moment. The truth is that, once my labor does start in earnest, I’m going to experience a lot of pain before we get to the other side. Maybe that’s why Jesus counseled us “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Speaking of which, I just felt another contraction!)
Today really is a gift. The fact that you and I are alive right now, breathing air, considering these words together, is a miracle in itself! So let’s live fully in this moment, with its blessings and its challenges.
I’d love to hear what that means for you today.