Sometimes we stuff things so deep inside us that we actually forget they exist. Until the day when something triggers something else and what should have been a benign reaction turns into a full scale nuclear meltdown.
Most of the time after the meltdown the pressure is released and we think we are free to go. But what happens if you dwell in the midst of the explosion? Walk amongst the ruins and take stock of why things blew up like they did? Life certainly makes it easier to take the path of temporary relief from the tension and climb out of the sinkhole, unknowingly stuffing yet again. But what if this time is different? What if this time, real change is approached with grace and patience? What then?
Today I coughed up a big emotional furball. Sorry for the terrible analogy but it is just descriptive enough to fit the situation. As I began to talk, it began to unravel. It started with the small things, the temporal things that are currently bothering me. My lonely little details. But those details moved out of me with force and speed and barreled right past the usually comfortable level of communication right on down the road to “I can’t believe I said that out loud.” Well, shit, there it is. Laying there for everyone to gawk at, poke. Luckily, the company I was keeping during this meltdown happens to be well trained at such situations and quickly helped me to realize the significance of what had been said. He also asked that I stay there. Sit and look at the damn furball and this time try lovingly to examine its parts, so that I may become whole.
Becoming a mother is one of God’s most precious gifts. There is a moment right after birth when you see that little baby for the first time and it is just spiritual. The air is sucked out of the room and you tread lightly as you reach for the tiny quivering creature because you are so aware you are on hallowed ground. I love that part of motherhood. I love looking into the eyes of my children and knowing that part of me will always exist in the movements, thoughts and expressions of someone else. However, this is where motherhood becomes complicated. This is where it falls down and threatens to take you with it. Becoming a mother is so physical in the beginning. First you are sick, then you get fat, then you are tired, then you are emotional. Then comes birth. All physical. This is all good preparation for the physical challenges of motherhood. The staying up all night, the chasing, the constant verbal negotiations.
However, pregnancy and birth doesn’t quite prepare you for the loosing yourself part. The “who the hell am I and what does mother mean?” For some moms this whole complicated set of emotions comes with the first child. I did not experience that. I sailed through the first kid. I lost the pregnancy weight, I passed all the milestones, I excelled at mommyhood! Then came baby two. This is where I lost me. I took one look at Joshua and my life as I knew it was over. I don’t know why. I don’t know what was inherently different this time, it just was.
So I have been struggling the past two months with these emotions. As Joshua rounds the corner on his first birthday, I honestly don’t know where this year has gone. I have been walking through life as an emotional zombie, medicated with busyness, details and events. Today I stopped. Today I let the nuclear explosion happen. When I stood on the precipice of the sinkhole looking down at all that I was feeling, all that I had been hiding, I was shocked. How could this be me? How could I have gotten to this place?
As I hold this emotional furball in my hand tonight, searching for answers in its curled up edges I am encouraged. Life is not easy, motherhood is a daunting task. Sometimes though, you get the sense, like in the birthroom, that you are on hallowed ground. That something spiritual could be happening, if you let it.