April 25, 2011
The Pregnant Pause
It's my last week in the office before I start my maternity leave and our little guy decides to make his first appearance in the world. This is my first child, so the whole pregnancy thing has been a new, fascinating and paradoxical experience. Of course there's the usual stuff: nausea, difficulty sleeping, the weirdness of watching your tummy grow bigger each day, and starting to see the movement of new life just under the surface of your own fragile skin.
But there are other things too, other "side-effects" of pregnancy that might not be so noticeable to the rest of the world. Like the way you become less and less able to do things for yourself, things that used to be no-brainers: putting on your shoes, reaching for a dish on the top shelf, carrying a heavy laundry basket or even just making it through a busy work day. Gradually your body itself forces you to slow down, rest more, ask for more help, postpone activities--and buy a foot-long shoehorn.
I've been thinking about what it means to have times of quiet and withdrawl from life, and how these kinds of pauses can be scary things, especially when we forget our identity is rooted in Christ and not the things we have to offer the world. These pauses make us face ourselves without all the trappings of our doing and giving and performing.
But there is something beautiful and meaningful in this kind of pause because it's not pulling away without a purpose.
A pregnant pause, whether it's the kind that eventually brings a baby into the world or the kind that happens before any big life transition--like going to college, getting married or starting a new job--is beautiful because of all the potential bound up in it. Yes, it's quiet. Yes, it's still. Sometimes it feels like not a lot is happening. We might even feel powerless or useless in those moments. But there is definitely something powerful happening. And think about a world without them. How much would be lost without the pregnant pauses?
It's the stillness before a crashing thunderstorm. It's the orchestra lingering on a fermata before the launch into the last, most dramatic movement. It's Bono, frozen in a two bar rest just before he belts out that last chorus that makes your spine tingle. It's the still, deep breath of the diver before plunging straight into the pool. It's the dark stage before the spotlight comes on and the actors burst on the scene. It's the moment before the big bang, full of the potential of everything that is about to happen. It's Holy Saturday before Easter Sunday. Without the pause before, the impact of what is to come is severely diminished. It's what gives life rhythm, and it's beautiful.
So as I head into the final days of my pregnant pause, I'm thankful for the slowing. I hope all goes well at IVP while I'm gone. I know my competent team will have no problem taking over my work (and many thanks to them for doing it!). I will probably still have some misgivings about what life will look like (heck, what I'll look like--on the inside and out) after the big event. But I'm looking forward to putting my feet up, closing my eyes, and taking this final, quiet, deep breath before I tackle the hardest and most rewarding work of my life.
See you all on the other side!