Thursday, June 3, 2010

Waiting and the Present Moment.

The three girls and I arrived in NH with my mom last Sunday. We'll stay here for another week while the Scientist Dad packs up our little life in GA and drives the goods north to New England. Moving with a newborn infant and two small children has required some creative scheduling, to say the least.

I have butterflies in my stomach just thinking about the first few days home alone with all three kids in the new house: all those props and helps I'd created for myself in GA will be pretty much gone. Where is the playground? Where are the art supplies? Will Bella nap in her new bed? Will the baby ever nap? What if the kids get sick?

All those questions plague my waiting days here. My mother is pretty much the Complete Nanny right now, which is so necessary when my dear husband is absent and allows me to rest and recover from childbirth. But my mind is still absorbed in Things To Come.

And then the baby cries.

She is absorbed only in the Present Moment.

Then Bella asks for a hug.

She, too, knows only the Present Moment.

Although my own brain keeps telling me how much easier this whole move would be without Ana or without Bella, I think it is actually their presence which makes the change real, true, and good. They constantly (and by "constantly" I mean every five or ten minutes) force my forward-thinking and fretting self back into the demands--and blessing--of this moment in time:

"The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams but you will only enjoy them to the extent of your faith and love. The more a soul loves, the more it longs, the more it hopes, the more it finds. The will of God is manifest in each moment, an immense ocean which only the heart fathoms insofar as it overflows with faith, trust and love."
Jean-Pierre De Caussade

The extent of my "faith and love" is the extent of my fidelity to the demands of today. Physical motherhood surely is a vocation to the present moment. I will only find the will of God insofar as I love those He has given me to love. Tomorrow, next week, and the months afterwards are not here: I can only commend them to his Providence. Right now, I can only serve him in his little ones who need me here.

My unhappiness and resistance to my vocation, I believe, comes when I think of "what might have been" had we fewer children, or more money, or better health, or this or that. Such thoughts must be rejected, because they are grounded in temptation and lead only to self-pity. There must be no "vacillation," as Mother Michael-Maria says, between what my flesh tells me would make me happier and what the image of Christ in my soul calls me to.

"I think what has happened in the world is that people have chosen to change so much in order to fit into the world and are vacillating. We’re going much too far and aren’t staying firm in what is given to us."

Waiting for life to get easier--for the baby to sleep, for the kids to be older, for the move to be completed--is not going to make me happier or holier. Surrendering to the present moment, where the Christ whom I have chosen dwells, brings joy and peace.

Let it be so!


Jamie said...

What a beautiful and uplifting post! Many prayers for you as you embark on this move. Your faith will get you through.

Annita, Mom2Seven said...

I will pray for you and your family as you make this transition. Thankfully, your mother is there. I know there is much to be done, especially with a move but try to rest and allow yourself to recovery fully. I am sure I have a few years on you... have I mentioned my oldest just turned 23? (I was VERY young when I had him ;) I can tell you, things really will take care of themselves. Just love your husband and children... and REST!
Peace and prayers, dear Erika! +JMJ+

claire said...

This morning, I thought: I should check on what Erica might have written since yesterday. Well, I should have. We are also moving, and this morning was yucky. Ugh. I let all my stress and anxiety from the 'what ifs' get the better of me.
Tomorrow is a new day, thank God.

Ginny said...

Hi, just popped over from the real learning blog, and wanted to say that I have spent the past few years really striving to live in the present moment and it has made all the difference in my life despite the fact that my family has weathered many trials during that time. I think with each child, I have gotten a little closer, a little more settled in this life, and certainly more peaceful. I love your words here, you've done such a good job of describing the process.
I can't imagine moving with a newborn, I pray you are able to settle into your new home quickly!

Erika said...

Thank you all for the encouragement! It is good to "be here" with you.

Maica Kozak said...

I hope the Aherns are settling in their new home and the journey went adventurously!