Nativity: On being prepared
First, an explanation— for the last two weeks I have pondered about a post.
I made this little pact with myself when I began blogging, lo those many years ago, that I would never post just for the sake of posting. I broke that one month a long time ago while laboring under the mistaken notion that there was some secret formula to keep people reading. It was after that month of posting every day on MrsMetaphor.com that I discovered the ugly reality that there is an awful lot of crap on the Internet, and that by posting random stuff I was just adding to it.
That’s an unsettling trend. It’s a horrible feeling, knowing that I was throwing more dross in the ever mounting pile of useless and maybe even damaging information that is so readily accessible.
So, I made that little promise to myself to work, as much as possible, to avoid that. My goal in blogging now is to post things that can be enduring, beautiful, true and authentic, no matter when or if someone stumbles upon it. I won’t have “regular” post times most likely, but I hope that when the words do come, they meet that elusive set of goals I’ve set forth. I imagine that I will often fail in the pursuit. The thought that comes to me whenever I put something out there is sticky and hard to say, or even think in this culture that extols self-promotion and egotism “May this humble offering be blessed.”
We come to the Nativity fast this week. As always, I feel I come unprepared. Despite the creeping calendar of days that offers me adequate notice it’s coming, I feel unworthy. I feel not ready, not able, not willing. And this is important. There is no good time to jump into this thing. Feeling unready and unworthy are simply my condition. This Nativity fast is not meant to beat me over the head with how awful I am, have been, will be, but rather is a good opportunity to look harder at those places in which I am most injured. This Nativity fast ought to be a binding up of those past wounds, a time of healing and making ready.
Am I ready for the birth of Christ?
I think about the month before any one of my four children was born. I was not ready, especially that first time. I thought that I was, of course, because when we pine for something, when we wait for it for a length of time, we grow tired and worn down. When we’re waiting, we often feel as though all we need is for the waiting to end. While in labor with my first kid I realized the depth of my “not readiness” and I shut that whole thing down. My labor stopped, and I hung there in the moment, trying to back out of the pain. Fear does that. It shuts us down. At some point in the process, the midwife took my hand and looked me in the eyes. She told me I was not alone, and she said that we were going to walk through it together. And we did.
Was I ready? Not really. We did it anyway.
I had prepared as much as I was able, knowing it was not enough, knowing it was impossible for it to be enough. In the moment, I had to get my head on right, or as right as I could with the distractions, the fears, the pain. I needed that hand holding, that eye contact, that assurance that we were going through this together to bring something— someone— new into the world.
We’re making ready this month for the feast, the celebration of the birth of our savior. How awesome is that? If you’re like me and feel as though you’re not ready and feel as though you’re not prepared, consider this post me, taking hold of hands here. You’re not alone. We’re going to walk through it together.