Thursday, April 30, 2009

Going Quiet

Adenoid update: gone. J's adenoid's were successfully removed and the whole process took less than 40 minutes. Seriously, we were at the surgery center for a mere two and a half hours. I asked if we could stay longer since it was so nice and quiet, but the nurses politely (and forcefully) kicked us out. J is doing very well. Too well. They told me it would take at least twenty-four hours for the anesthesia to wear off and he would be pretty groggy. What they should have said was that he would basically be a drunk toddler: as much energy as usual but none of the coordination and prone to lots of mood swings. He is blissfully asleep right now and my husband even witnessed some nose breathing. There might be hope. (In answer to the question of the day, "What the heck do adenoids do, anyway?", here's a link.)

I wasn't so sure of that a few hours ago. Like I do in most stressful situations, I had a break down just after the crisis was done. I threw a toy, cussed a little, cried a lot, argued with my husband, and vowed to make an appointment with my therapist.

However, like scripture tells us revelation is not in the earthquake or the wind or the fire but, rather, in the stillness that we feel after those things. Once my fire burned itself out I heard at least one of the things God has probably been trying to teach me all my twenty-seven years: be quiet.

For my birthday my parents gave me Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water and, while the book was not everything I wanted it to be (which of course it couldn't be because L'Engle is like a surrogate mother for me and, at some point, all mothers must fail their children so they can grow), I got something very important out of the book: a new prayer, "Lord, slow me down."

I think part of my reaction to my depression is to push myself. I'm so afraid of falling apart I overcompensate by trying to do everything at once. It's a good distraction to the gnawing emptiness. I also think it's just part of who I am. For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to feel everything and know everything and be everything--I'm always seeking the next step or sensation--preferably all at once. Knowledge and experience are heady drugs and fill up all the places inside me that are empty. I think that's one reason why I like to be pregnant; somebody else's being fills up my emptiness and I can slow down for a little bit.

Of course, part of managing my mood disorder is learning to appreciate the present and experience it fully instead of shunting things away to be dealt with later. It's about not distracting myself. It's about listening to what message the chaos is hiding. It's about slowing down. So, like Madeleine L'Engle, I've been praying that the Lord would slow me down. That He would make me quiet.

Be careful what you wish for.

Apparently, the only way the Lord could slow me down was by giving me enough rope to hang myself. Or, more aptly, by giving me enough projects to exhaust myself. Tonight I finally quit trying to fight the exhaustion and I'm slowing down; I'm going quiet.

For the first time in my life I'm cutting back and saying no. I've already backed out of a couple obligations and my blog is the next step. I'm a little bummed--I'm always sad when a friend gives up blogging because I love hearing their stories (even though I'm terrible at commenting!)--but it feels right. I need to quit focusing on my noise and busy-ness and start finding the slow and quiet things and listening to them. In my haste to become some sort of awesome writer I forgot the number one rule of good writing: listening. Good writers listen to everything around them, whether spoken or unspoken. And to listen like that you have to slow down and you have to be quiet. I've scratched the surface of that idea in relation to my kids and it's been amazing. It's time to open up the rest of my life to the quiet.

I'm not going to quit blogging entirely. This thing is an important brain dump! I am, however, going to be sporadic. In my mind once or twice a month should do. The cutbacks include Mirthful Mondays. Sorry. Maybe one of you should take that over that segment on your blog! Let me know if you do and I'll link to you. Anyway, if you haven't before, now is the time to sign up for my feed.

So, with all the extra time you will have because I'm not blogging as much, you should read this memoir: The Year My Son and I Were Born by Kathryn Lynard Soper. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. If I had the money I would buy every single one of you a copy. This is a must-own for every mother. In the story of her baby with Down Syndrome and her struggle to love him and herself, Soper has embedded the story of every mother and the divinity that motherhood can cultivate within us. Soper is writing from a beautifully transcendent (and perhaps fleeting) place. And because of that the book is never preachy but still guides and uplifts. It is honest and gritty but never depressing.

Seriously--tell your husband or father or whoever to buy you this book for Mother's Day. You'll want to read it again the minute you finish it.

And as a final touch, here's some quiet for you to meditate upon. These are the mountains I live by. I think that they embody some of the quiet I need to find. I need to go lay on one and fell the earth supporting me and radiating God's power and beauty.

photo credit


Anonymous said...

Nice post, and congratulations on your new born. I too felt a little down after giving birth to a pair of beautiful twin daughters late last year. It can be really tough after 9 months of expectation to find that you are no longer expecting. Men will never understand of course. Which is why I felt the need to get a little help. I contacted Janie Behr, a life coach that my friend had sworn will work through your issues over the phone in 6 weeks! I was a little skeptical at first, but Janie did a really good job of putting me at ease, and before I knew it, I had changed my focus and had moved on to look forward to the next challenges in my life. Those being the twins of course. Look her up. She turned my life around.

Coffinberry said...

So glad the surgery went well.

Running faster than I had strength is also how I deal/dealt with my own issues. It took me many years to learn to say no, even to things I would like to do (which is why I felt bad turning your offer for Saturday down, but I knew I had to do so, because I didn't have the emotional strength or time to prepare a performance like that).

I still remember the day that "Be still and know that I am God" really sank in. I was visiting teaching, and we were talking about feeling as if nothing we could do were ever good enough, when the Lord's command to Joseph to stop and be still came to mind. I shared it, we discussed it (it boggled the mind: here is Joseph, ready and willing, the world is waiting for the restoration, but he and Emma are tired and burdened and have been through some bad stressful things. God said, stop and be still. It was ok to stop and ok to be still and important, too). If God can tell the Prophet to stop for a while, even when good marvelous wonderful things are depending on him to get them done, and Joseph can listen, maybe I should too.

I don't always remember it as much as I should, but it still comes to mind now and then.

TJ said...

I'm glad stuff went well with the surgery, and I'm glad you're slowing down. I'll miss seeing your post though. :(

All the best.

Maryam said...

Amen sista- it is boring at first, but then you start to enjoy the quiet. I was super chill during my pregnancy and it was a great thing. Now I'm starting to emerge. I may start planning a new wedding for a girl at the Y. I am getting back into teaching at the Y...slowly but surely and all by my own choice. My calling isn't too much...everything seems to be balancing. SO I support you in your efforts (or lack thereof) and just want you to know that when you do start to add it all in again, you will be ready. love m

Lacey said...

I'm so glad that your discovering this quite and striving to really let it have place in your life. I'll miss hearing about you so often, but know you're doing what you need. Good luck and enjoy!

Charlotte said...

I'm so glad J is doing well after his surgery and that you have found some peace! I think you are making a great choice and I'm excited to see how this all works out. I love you!!

Jer said...

Reminds me of the first line of Desiderata. Words of wisdom to live by--thanks for the reminder.

mom of boys said...

Just wanted you to know that I'm still reading even though I rarely comment. I hope you don't stop completely. I'm glad the surgery went well, it's always nerve wracking no matter how simple the procedure.
Good luck with everything!