Thursday, May 7, 2020

"i am able..."

these broken wings;
and learn to fly again,
and learn to live
so free..."

Mr. Mister's 1986 hit, "Broken Wings," will always remind me of that summer.

It had been playing on the radio for over a year, so by the summer fo 1987 it was ubiquitous in our circle. We'd moved to Boston to work for our church, and had made wonderful new friends. Our home was about an hour and a half outside of the city on a large estuary "pond" about two blocks from the ocean.

We loved having Boston friends come down to escape the city heat and water ski, brunch, watch the sunset from our back terrace or during a group walk along the beach. These were magical times in our young marriage. At least they should have been.

I was distracted through it all by a aching desire to become a mother. I could barely think - or pray - about much else. Yes, I did my job, I hosted weekend parties, I prayed for those who called for help, but the longing to be a mother never left the periphery of my heart's lens.

It became a practice for me during these times to stop and readjust the aperture of my thoughts. It wasn't possible to set this longing aside. It was as deep as my every breath or heartbeat, but I had to find a way to put it outside the focal distance of my every thought.

I am a person who needs metaphors and analogies to "get" something. And the act of focusing a camera's lens has always been helpful to me. I had to pause, often, and readjust what was central to the image in my heart.

At first it was circumstantial. I would tell myself that at work I needed to put work at the center of the lens. Then on a call with someone asking for metaphysical support, I would remind myself to adjust the aperture of my prayers to put them in the center of the image.

But this wasn't really working -- that is, until I realized that everything would be in perfect alignment, when I put God -- and His presence - at the center of every moment. Then, it always felt as if my trust was clear, my vision was clear, my heart was clear.

One thing that helped, was to remember that God's name is "I AM" -- so whatever my "I am" was at any given moment - was filled with God's presence. Wondering if I would ever become a mother, or if a project would come in on time, or if I was available "enough" to those who needed support - was not focusing on God -- I am. The same with allowing past mistakes, decisions, choices to pull me into I was, instead of "I am."

Mary Baker Eddy's statement from The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany was an ever-helpful reminder:

“Goodness never fails to receive its reward, for goodness makes life a blessing. As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing."
Not I was able - once upon a time, or I will be able -- once I become a mother, but I am able. Right here, right now.

Did this happen easily? No. It was work, work, work -- but with watchfulness and prayer, I became more aware of when my focus had shifted from the fuzziness of "I will be," or "I once was," to the clarity of "I am." With God's I AM-ness right at its center.

Whatever seems to be pulling us out of our focus on the presence -- the present tense-ness of God as "I am..." is depriving us of a clear sense of God's abundant gifts for us in this moment.

I spent most of what I call "my year of longing" in the peripheral field of "when will I become a mother?" -- or "will I ever become a mother?" When, right in front of me were friends to play with, colleagues to listen to - with a mother's attentiveness, patients to pray for, and a budding family to nurture in our young marriage.

The wings of my motherhood were not broken -- they were learning to stretch in new ways, finding strength in patience, and discovering that to trust the unseen thermals of divine wisdom was essential to flight.

I would become a mother to three beautiful daughters, and it was everything I ever dreamed. But it was learning to "mother" right where I was - in the I AM of each moment  that helped me discover who I really was.  Not someone dependent on the fulfillment of a far-off longing dream come true, but empowered by an overwhelming love within.

In these days of "waiting" -- I hope we can all adjust the apertures of our expectations to focus on the presence of God -- the great I AM, who is here, now, giving us -- each moment -- this gift of grace.

offered with Love,


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