by Robin Bartlett Barraza
Yesterday, my almost-three-year old dropped a pen on the floor while she was “writing” a grocery list. She groaned loudly, and said, “Ughhh. I don’t have time for this!”
After we peeled ourselves off the floor from laughter, and vowed to stop letting her watch too many Netflix shows (which is where I realize most of her witty beyond-her-years declarative statements like “Don’t even THINK about it!” come from), I thought, yeah. I’m so with you, Eloisa. Who has time for this?
I don’t have time for this.
I imagine you all feel like this most of the time. Your day is packed with work and afterschool-activity-shuttling and committee meetings and trips to the gym, and your car needs new brakes, and you have to do your taxes and you have a big presentation at work and then your health insurance calls with some sort of disputed claim and you think…
Ugh, I don’t have time for this.
Well, I will admit to you that this is how I felt when I found out that I was about to be imminently blessed with a third child. A child born sometime in the beginning of September, when church begins in full swing, and in the middle of an interim period with you all that is only two short years. A child born sometime in September when I was originally supposed to have my credentialing interview to become a minister within the Unitarian Universalist Association. A child born sometime in September when I was supposed to begin my search for a new congregation as a newly minted Unitarian Universalist minister. A child born sometime in September when my older children were slated to begin preschool and second grade, respectively. A child born sometime in September when my family is still healing from the wounds of divorce, and still getting used to new and blossoming relationships. A child born sometime in September when I was still enjoying my post-pregnancy body, light from the lack of inhabitants. A child born sometime in September when I was going to be newly graduated, and *only* have 1 job and 2 kids, rather than a job, graduate school classes, and two kids.
“I don’t have time for this,” I thought.
And then the next thought: this is my blessed, holy reminder that I am not in control, and sometimes the things I would never make time for are the workings of grace in my life. My third pregnancy and my upcoming marriage to the wonderful father of this beautiful unborn boy is proof of the resurrection for me…that there is new life after the little deaths we experience over and over and over again. That love conquers even death.
I’m not in control of time marching on, and what lies in store for me. And this reminder, too, is a blessing, just as a new baby is our precious, miraculously ordinary embodied reminder that life goes on, and not in the neat way we planned it.
Thank you, God, for my lack of control. I know life wouldn’t be as painful if I orchestrated it myself, but life also wouldn’t be as rich.
And thank you for the wide array of choices I do have, God, because I know that they are also a tremendous privilege, and nothing short of your grace at work.
Thank you for the choice to say “yes” and say “no”. The things I say “no” to reflect more and more the things that I am saying “yes” to. And saying “yes” and saying “no” is a vitally important spiritual practice. “No” to soccer practices for my seven-year-old, and “yes” to more family dinners. “No” to joining an extra committee, and “yes” to making more time for singing in a choir. “Yes” to having a third baby, and “no” to the expectations I place on myself to be the best at everything–motherhood, ministry, financial planning, laundry folding. “Yes” to gratitude and gatherings with friends, “no” to hand-wringing and cynicism.
So a little e.e. cummings for you, my friends:
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)