My contractions have been intermittent for some time now. Starting. Stopping. Starting. Stopping. At first this all feels exciting. And then, after a couple of weeks of on-again-off-again, and then a couple of days of really-intense-and-then-nothing, I realize that the entire process begins to take a toll.
I’ve mentioned a book by Sue Monk Kidd before – When the Heart Waits – and it’s a beautiful book on the spiritual art of waiting. I opened it this morning, and was surprised again by how rich her story is. Like having a spiritual director on every page.
She has an entire chapter on “Concentrated Stillness,” which is a beautiful phrase and such a counter-intuitive posture for us human kind. Kidd opens the chapter with a quote by Meister Eckhart: “Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.” Lovely.
For me, these moments before childbirth have carried a restless stillness. One I find myself resisting and embracing all at the same time.
As my friend Jean says, “you’re in the tunnel.” The broad horizon of life narrows and these days become concentrated in their focus. The nesting is done. The details are done. Even the baby-building is done. Now, it is the waiting.
Waiting time can feel like wasted time because, by nature, it’s not all that productive. But this has been good for me. Playing lots of Scrabble with my mom and Jamie. Cooking. Going out to Café Lilou. Resting every day. Letting life slow. Embracing the tunnel. Being.
Feels foreign and familiar at the same time. Like this is the appropriate rhythm and, yet, also a little twilight zone-y.
Is this what Eckhart meant? Stillness is a God-space. These times of concentrated stillness are kairos moments, and that is why they feel both profound and entirely unproductive. Otherworldly.
Settling into stillness is what today is about for me. And maybe tomorrow, too. I’ve been assured this won’t all go on forever (though you reach a point when you truly believe you will be pregnant for the rest of your life). Allowing myself to step off the treadmill of trying. Slowing down to a crawl and letting myself process the resistances that surface. Admitting my self-worth doesn’t hinge on what I can produce in a day. Unhooking what I do from who I am. Concentrated stillness. A good gift.
Are you in a season of stillness? How have you responded?