Advent is a season of anticipation, of waiting in the mess of now for the joy, blessing and healing to come. I feel the anticipation in my bones.
A child grows within me, his or her movements stronger and more pronounced with every passing day. One day soon, in a glorious mess of pain and effort, she or he will enter the world. I am ready.
Today I look down from the office where I write and I see Everett on the preschool playground. He is running, running, running, and soon there is a mob of kids, all running, running, running as fast as their little legs can take them. He is so excited to meet our baby, though he has little knowledge of what this change will mean for his world. What a privilege to watch him, unseen, from this distance.
Some days I am anxious. On Friday I felt the imminence of birth in the persistent squeeze of my belly. I slept little, waiting for the pain to strike at any moment, but it didn’t come. I woke in the morning and the feeling had passed.
I stand at a threshold; everything in my life is about to change. How do I linger well in now?
Tonight, Dave and I will go to a movie. Tomorrow, dinner with friends. I will watch Everett intently, hold him close, share with him the intensity of focus that I know is about to change. I also know that I will love him all the more as he becomes a big brother; my heart, like my ligaments, is stretching, shifting, making room.
Paula D’Arcy writes of going to the woods this time of year. “In the woods, nothing rushes. The woods laugh that any date on a calendar seems more real or important than this very morning…. The woods teach me that the only entry point to divine love is now. This moment is all there is.”
Here, now, is the place we meet God.
I feel the coming change in my bones as they shift and bend, opening a path. They ache with the effort of preparation. And yet, now is all I have.
I take a deep breath, feel the air stretch my lungs. I watch the bare branches sway outside. I look down and see Everett climb onto a tricycle and ride in loops around the playground.
I am grateful. I am full.