A guest post from One-Worder Cara Meredith ::
Today I woke up and did what any newly unemployed mama might do on her first official day of her non (paid) work life: I made a list of 100 things I could do, if I found myself bored, around the house. #25 Paint the end tables. #17 Sweep the floor. #44 Scrub clean the bathroom tiles. #6 Prepare for Julia Child’s dinner party. #8 Put away Christmas decorations. #90 Order new pictures for frames. #91 Order cute Instagram fridge magnets…
I then, of course, opened up my inbox, which to no great surprise, didn’t hold a whole lot of emails – I’m not a director anymore. I’m no longer in full-time youth ministry, rallying the students and volunteers and staff alike. I’m not responsible for raising the budget or meeting with donors or worrying about whether or not my next paycheck is going to in the red.
What a relief.
And so I sat there, with the little man to my side, just being. Me, practicing the presence of that moment of perfection, in quietness, in smiles, in peace. I breathed in his baby shampoo and kissed his forehead, his cheeks, his nose. There was no holding back. I turned him towards me and smiled – and watched as his eyes recognized my own upward turned mouth and crinkly, sparkling eyes, and mirrored back a smile that could slay the masses. And there we sat on our spit-up stained couch, – #74 clean couch stains – him then grabbing my own face and cheeks and nose, and me taking in the moment. I was patting the puppy, as Annie Dillard calls it in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, being so present to the moment at hand that the world me seemed to almost stop.
I want to live like that. This year I want to take the time stop and breathe and learn how to be, instead of merely operating in survival mode. Superwoman is fun to watch on the big screen, but emulating her in my own human life – and thus, only surviving instead of living, instead of being – isn’t how I want to exist. Instead I want to notice the everyday and I want to practice living a contemplative life, as I further learn how to respond instead of just merely react. I want to be with God, in prayer and in my attitude, washing dishes like Brother Lawrence and keeping my eyes open to Beauty around me when Canon and I wheel the BOB over the streets of San Francisco where you see cars and maybe sometimes a scooter riding all over the place. I want to be fully engaged with those around me, present in conversation, stopping to breathe and not jumping in to fill the next sentence or mentally distance myself, worrying about what’s next on my list of things to do.
Simply put, I want to learn how to be.
Cara Meredith recently stepped away from full-time ministry into full-time mama-hood, while pursuing writing and speaking on the side. She is currently finishing her Masters in Theology from Fuller Seminary, but is mostly just learning how to BE. She and her husband, James, live in San Francisco with their 6-month-old, Canon. Follow her on Twitter (@caramac54) or find her on her blog, carameredith.com.
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