In nature, solstice occurs twice each year, heralding the longest and shortest of days. The first lures us outside to fireflies and cricket serenades. The second chases us back in, to fireside fairy tales and mugs of warmth.
Motherhood mirrors nature in this rhythmic dance. But the long days are filled with nagging worries, multiplying messes, seemingly mundane tasks, and little contact with the outside world. Time seems to stand still. The short days, all magic and mystery, shimmer and vanish like a comet’s tail. We savour every minute and as night falls, we kiss sleepy eyelids, turn out the light, and wonder where the time went.
Round and round we go. Long and short. Short and long. The days ebb and flow and run together. This business of bringing up farmers and physicians, warriors and poets, is not for the faint of heart. And yet my heart does faint. The demands of the day press in and I grow weary in the thick of it. In the process of keeping up with my car keys, the laundry, and a beloved stuffed sheep, I often misplace my faith. I place it in my husband. He is, after all, strong and nurturing – yet fallible and human. I hang it on the approval of others. If they think I have it all together, surely I’m doing something right. But more often, I simply neglect it, be it for busyness, boredom, or the incessant bantering in my own head.
These letters are not sermons or sentiments. While there are vast numbers who doubt the existence of God, I believe there are countless more who simply doubt His goodness. Many days I am one of them. Life gives us plenty of material with which to make our case. I stumble and squander, rage and retreat. I have questions and doubts. But in the throes of uncertainty, if I gather my wits about me long enough to look over my shoulder, there’s no denying I’ve been carried along – sometimes kicking and screaming, but carried, nonetheless. There is much mystery in the world. I think I have suffered, not from asking too many questions, but from asking too few. The ponderings here are for the certain and the cynic, the faith-filled and the fainting. For every answer that Grace has given, I have yet another question…and an inkling that I’m not the only one. Thankfully, He’s big enough. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “The prayer preceeding all prayers is this, May it be the real I who speaks. May it be the real Thou that I speak to”.
†C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcom, Chiefly on Prayer (New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1964).