Friday, September 29, 2006
Emma and Clara were three month old twins who, when they were awake, cried....and cried...and cried. I now know, in my heart, that they were crying for a mother's voice they remembered, and longed for, through long weeks in utero when the three of them, mother and daughters, were living in a quiet space of prayer and listening....Heidi talking to them, singing to them, loving them with all her heart wanting to make the very best choices for her beloved babies.
But as their adoptive mother, I often didn't know what to do, to comfort them, once we brought them home from the sweet celebration where Heidi and her family placed the girls in our arms...for they were already deeply tucked into our hearts. Dwight, Hannah (then a very, suddenly grown up eight year old) and I rocked, cradled, cooed, talked, sang and most of all prayed with them....and our efforts were received with affection, but rarely silence. There were days when I felt like the crying, from outside of my head, was so loud (crying twins are louder than you can imagine) made it almost impossible to "hear" the still small voice within...to find that deep settled place of sacred silence, that sanctuary of the soul that gave me ground to stand on with spiritual poise.
I read everything I could...books, articles, postings on "mothers of multiples" websites...for ideas about how to respond to their unspoken hunger for something that would comfort this deep ache it was obvious they felt. I tried everything and only found my peace in prayer one afternoon when reaching out to God for ideas, and being "told" that I too was His child and He would comfort us all...including their precious birthmother (for a fuller description of that afternoon see No more tears) and her family. Although this afternoon was a turning point in the girls being comforted, happy, and a deeper sense of peace descending upon our home, I felt as if something in me had shifted.
Somehow I felt as though I couldn't find my way back to that deep settled ground of stillness that I had navigated to so easily prior to their vigorous and resounding presence in our lives. I would cover myself with quilts and make a space so silent that I was sure I would rediscover it (a method I had used early in my practice of meditative prayer that often left my family chuckling as they walked over a huddled mass of patchwork carefully positioned over the forced air heating vent on cold Colorado winter mornings), I would take long walks in the woods on our property late at night when the air was cold and the stars close enough to see them wink in collusion...but to no avail.
One day their dad, aware that I loved cello music and had always seen myself as a cellist in some "past life" came home with an incredible gift. He had gone out and rented a cello for six months so that I could explore its sounds and know the feel of its weight against my chest. It was a Godsent messenger. It became my spiritual tuning fork. Once I had fed the girls and put them down for a nap each morning and afternoon, I would take out my cello and sit on a rush-seated ladderback wooden chair in our sunny, large kitchen overlooking the gardens on the estate where we lived, close my eyes, take a deep breath and draw the bow across the strings of that amazing instrument. Her tones would travel deep into my being and I would lean into her the way a child leans into her mother for comfort and assurance. With her weight against my shoulder and her neck at my temple I would drink in the deep beauty of her sound until I could hear the still small voice of God's angels in her every breath.
I didn't learn how to play any songs, or how to articulate a score accurately, but I did learn to draw that bow across her strings and find pure, clear tones that tuned my spiritual heart and silenced my disquiet. I would move through scales and gently dance with her in my chair...swaying slightly against her body. It was enough.
When the six month rental was over we returned her to the music store, but her voice stayed deep within me...I think much like Heidi's voice has stayed with Clara and Emma through the years and rises to conscious memory each week when she calls them to "touch base". A call that makes me smile and swallow a small sob of gratitude each time I am present to see Clara's smile of recognition or Emma's twinkle of delight. She is a precious abiding voice in their hearts.
This has been a year in which I have been the child crying for a voice I often could not reach. I have turned to God, when being away from those I loved was so painful that I thought parts of my heart were shattered, and I have found much comfort in remembering that the same message from God that assured me that She was comforting the girls, me, Heidi, our families as her children then, was here to comfort us all now as adjustments were made and new chapters were unfolding. But there were days when I still couldn't find the tone of that peace.
Yesterday afternoon my husband called to tell me that a dear friend had dropped off a gift for me at his office so that he could bring it home to me later that afternoon. I couldn't imagine what it was. But there, at the end of the day was my old friend (or at least a sister or a cousin). A used and well-loved old cello now sits in our sunroom waiting to fall into my arms, nestle against my chest, lean against my neck, place her cool hand upon my temple and breathe her tones into my heart with each pull of the bow. Today, the depth of her voice will help me find my ground....that deep settled sanctuary of stillness. Her voice, as familiar to me as the sound of my own heartbeat, will take me deeper and deeper into the space of prayerful meditation. Like Emma and Clara I will smile in recognition and feel that "unspeakable peace that comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love" as Mary Baker Eddy encourages us to know.
God is good. Thank you Michael.