Sunday, January 30, 2011

Death and Life are Messy

My swollen belly has cast a spell on the men in my life. I've been receiving multiple calls, texts and emails each day. How do you feel? Have that baby - I want to meet it! Hurry up already. They send me articles about inducing labor naturally and beg me to reveal the magic if I have a hidden time line I'm keeping from them. My dad, my brothers and my husband are excited. This new beginning is transforming each of them in magnificent ways and I'm honored to have a front row seat.

My walk has turned to a waddle in January, but things are still getting done. The house is quiet and clean. The nursery is ready to be pooped on. My desk is organized and lists are checked at work. So we wait.

Two weeks ago I started having real, painful contractions. Since Matt was out of town, Gabe took me to the hospital to be monitored for awhile. I blushed at his proud chest and his eager leadership that morning. He was so glad to be helpful and asked questions that prove he takes becoming an uncle very seriously. These pre-labor signs upped the level of impatience and excitement that surrounds me and I spend a lot of time smiling at these men, giving thanks for their silly love. Something about their stirring makes me very quiet and calm.

Today I found out that a saint in our congregation passed away this weekend and my excitement about this baby's birth took the back burner. I want to be able to write a sermon and do her funeral and celebrate her life with this congregation on Wednesday. I want to speak truth about new life while wearing an alb before I live the truth of new life wearing a hospital gown.

But that's just me being a control freak. That's just me wishing that death and life could be tidy and organized and chronological. And since it's not - since 2 Corinthians 5:17 is sneaky and spontaneous - I will draft a sermon proclaiming resurrection for a 94 year old and her loved ones while being poked and prodded by this little life on its way. And I'll hope it gets preached on Wednesday, giving thanks for the beautiful mess either way.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Making Room

I think this room used to be a dining room. Six years ago, Matt closed off the wall that connected to the kitchen to make it a proper bedroom. Since then he's had three tenants live in this little space - his cousin, my best friend and my brother. Since I moved in, it's been home to a couch that barely fit through the doorway and served as a cozy spot for reading, napping and sermon writing.

But when I started growing, my hormones selected a disturbingly bright yellow for the walls and furniture slowly moved out. Today, it's almost ready for a new tenant - one we won't charge rent. Signs of new life fill the room now that his or her arrival is less than a month away. Sometimes, when I'm wide awake at 4:30am, I wander in and turn on the night light. I sit in the rocker and enjoy the silence, anticipating the hours I will spend in this room and enjoying the decor that's already turning this space into a little barnehage.

I can't bring myself to disassemble this diaper cake quite yet. Strom did a great job creating this little tower of baby supplies and it will sit on the dresser until a little toosh needs one of these. There is a stuffed moose in a Norwegian sweater, a beautiful baby book that demands my best penmanship, a scrapbook for the baby's first year, a cream colored homemade afghan sent with love from Boston and a dala horse pillow that begot this cheesy Scandinavian theme.

Matt's graduate assistant, Tara, made a crafty growth chart that hangs on one wall. If this kid loves competition and being measured half as much as Mom and Dad, this gift is sure to be a hit.

I'm glad the nursery window faces our bird feeder. Matt loves watching the birds and I can already see him showing our baby the action just outside this window, speaking softly about sparrows and our favorite cardinal.

I've been collecting family photos for this family tree that hangs above the crib. Our niece, nephew, siblings, parents, grandparents and great grandparents hang from the twigs of this branch Cara, Olivia and I found on the trails down by the Mississippi in October.

Fisherman John and Anton both came over from Scandinavia as young boys. I catch myself inspecting these photographs often and placed them next to each other for good company.

For now, this room is peaceful and clean. No one has pooped all over the gingham sheets or barfed on the suede rocker or drooled on the curtains from Anthropologie. For now, it is simply expectant space making room for new things to come.