Saturday, June 23, 2012

Abandonment

Luaniua Island curves in a long, slim embrace around one side of its atoll's lagoon.  The water on the lagoon side of the island is almost always calm, deep and warm, except for those days when the monsoon winds whip up white caps on the surf.  On days when my heart and head were in turmoil, those waters were one of the places I'd go for solitude and respite.

Slipping out down the slow incline, I'd shuffle my feet along the sandy bottom where sea grass grew like a wavy green carpet.  Stingrays often hung out there, camouflaged against the dappled sand, and to pick your leg up and place it directly down again was inviting a barbed tail in your foot.  So I'd shuffle along, stirring up puffs of debris until the water covered my shoulders and only my neck and head were above the surface.  

Most days, I tend to exist naturally in a state of high energy.  Something on my body is constantly moving.  My muscles are usually tensed, and I don't even notice it.  Especially when my mind or heart are agitated, my body tenses like a jack-in-the-box to the point where even my skin tightens.  It was at these times when the warm waters of Luaniua's lagoon were especially welcome.  

Up to my neck and utterly alone, I'd let go of the tension in my  arms, my legs, my chest, letting my knees buckle and my feet lift up from the sea grass.  I released myself to the ocean.  The sun drenched salt water received the worst of me with no judgements, only held me suspended as even my head submerged beneath the surface.  Sometimes I'd scream, underwater, my frustration or anger or hurt escaping in billowing bubbles of sound.  The ocean, like a great mother, would hold me until I draped myself in blessed peace in her arms.  

I thought about this the other day as I read an excerpt from a letter written by a 17th century theologian, Francois Fenelon:
'Abandonment Means to Sink Into the Will of God'
True abandonment is a simple resting in the love of God.  It is like an infant lying in its mother's arms.  A perfect abandonment must even go so far as to "abandon its abandonment."  By that, I mean that we should renounce ourselves without even being aware of it.  If we are conscious of our abandonment, it would no longer be complete.  For there can be no worse hindrance than a consciousness that 'we are wholly given up.'
Abandonment does not consist in doing great things for self in order to receive delight.  Rather, it consists in simply putting up with our weakness and infirmity.  It consists in letting everything alone.  It is always peaceful.  After all, abandonment would no longer be sincere if we were still anxious about the things we had renounced.  Thus it is that abandonment to God is the source of true peace.  If we do not have peace, it is because our abandonment is exceedingly imperfect. 
 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hello, Manasseh!

Being pregnant this time made me internal.  As in, focused so solely on the little life growing inside me, that everything else requiring emotional or creative power got sidelined.  Manasseh made his appearance a month ago (after 4 1/2 hours of labor!  The way a woman's body works during childbirth really is a miracle), and I have slowly been regaining my sense of self.

After the third person asked today when I would start writing again, I figured it was time to revisit this old blog.  So hello.  It's been a while.  But I'm back.

And now, I'll leave you with the sweetest chunk of babyhood this side of the Mississippi.


This is what I've been snuggling for the past month.  Aren't you jealous?