I’m a contemplative person. Over the years, as our brood of cutie-pies has increased, those moments to sit and ponder the mysteries of life have definitely diminished. I find that is a common thread, particularly amongst us mothers.
I listen as a friend talks about needing more time for herself, and then gets interrupted by one of her children who can’t open the apple juice. The conversation is paused (indefinitely) as she gets up to go and open the carton, pour the juice, and give instructions for where to drink it and what to do with the cup when he’s finished. “Where were we?” she asks as she sits down after several minutes, and we both laugh. We never finish the conversation.
Another friend had a rough go after the birth of her first child. He kept her up all night with God-knows-what ailment (colic?) Who knows. The only relevant fact was that he wouldn’t sleep, which meant neither could she. For several years in fact. She had to withdraw from almost every close relationship in her life so she could focus on caring for her child and surviving herself. Years later, she remarked that she was surprised she had any friends left, after having deserted us all.
Of course she did. Because that’s what women do. Beyond the culture-driven competition, back-biting, and vanity that sometimes has characterized us, we are all sisters. And we understand what it means to face that cross-road where you know you have no choice but to abandon the ever-failing quest for Barbie-beauty and dive into caring for these helpless little creatures who, without you, will surely perish. They get started right away, turning our faces a little too pale with morning sickness, and then promptly stretching out all that sexy abdominal skin and muscle to ensure most of us will never again (confidently) wear a bikini.
The Train-Wreck we call Motherhood
In short, it’s not really as much a cross-road as it is a giant train-wreck from which we spend many years trying to climb out of the rubble. And as we climb, carrying these little treasures on our hips, shielding them from falling debris, we find ourselves. We were never meant to be competing with one another or chasing after these ungodly images of beauty. We were meant to discover that the most captivating—the most unnerving—beauty lives within us already. And as we bend low to kiss a scraped knee or to lift a sleeping child from the sofa, the shell that has kept that loveliness concealed from our own notice, begins to crack.
Sure, we have days where we’re pretty sure we’re not going to make it. Often, we feel pretty unsung. Pretty un-lovely. We don our trusty yoga pants and baggy shirts and hit the ground running. We’re usually faced with dozens of requests and challenges before we’ve even remembered to eat breakfast. Often, the uneaten toast crusts about do it, supplemented of course with a half-eaten banana and maybe a drive-through coffee. The mirror grows increasingly offensive, and most of the people we are surrounded by on a daily basis normally take us for granted and are frequently disgruntled.
So we’ll take a moment to sit on the edge of the closest chair (or lie down on the ground if you’re me), close our eyes, recenter, and get back up with somewhat renewed purpose to see this thing through, and to do so bravely.
What does this have to do with Good Friday?
I was attempting to reflect on the meaning of this memorial day and what it means to me for most of the morning. It’s Good Friday, after all. One of the most important days for a woman of faith. Surely, there should be some acknowledgement of this in the universe. The children should all become suddenly compliant and well-behaved. The noise levels should calm to a relative hush, all other demands simply postponed in light of the importance of this day.
After all, the LORD suffered immensely and died two thousand years ago, how important could all of these childish needs be?!
I think it was at some point during the seventh or eighth quarrel that I realized life was going on as-per-usual and I was to be granted no such accommodation. Light waves of jealousy passed over my calm demeanour, of those who could lay back undisturbed on this day. Thankfully, I couldn’t give the ripples to much notice in light of the need for food, refereeing, clean-up, counselling, and more clean-up.
Even now, as I write this, I have donned my trusty earphones and plunked a solid glass of wine to my left. I think the mini-me’s have only interrupted three thousand times, asking when I’m going to hide the very symbolic Easter eggs. And I realize how very blessed I am. Blessed to have these precious little ones. Blessed to not have the luxury of wallowing in self-pity and jealousy because I’m just too darned busy. Blessed to know my Creator lingers over me and breathes strength and purpose into my lungs.
I’m blessed to know that, thousands of years ago, he came to live here with all of us. To share our toilets and listen to the quarrelling. To cry with us when we grieve and laugh at our jokes. And that he purposed to carry that Roman cross. That he set his sights on Calvary because he knew he was going in our stead.
We mothers may not have much time to reflect on all he’s done and continues to do in our lives. We may not get a lot of “me-time.” But we can know that he is with us, every day. That he sees that hidden beauty and calls it forth. That he is the one who has the final word on our value, and he set it in stone two thousand years ago:
I am worth dying for. And so are you. And so are our children.
That is the central message of Easter to me. What is it to you? Click to tweet this, and respond below!