Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Space, the Final Frontier

Signs of spring

With each month that passes since Lewis' birth, I feel like I'm slowly, gradually waking up a little bit and gaining a little more space in my mind and my day and my house. I am somebody who does not do well with clutter and busy-ness and crowdedness, whether that's in my physical surroundings or my schedule or my interior life. For the past several months, my house has been filled with random newborn accoutrements that don't really have a designated space and my daily life has been crowded with needs and demands and the tyranny of the urgent. There hasn't been a lot of space for reflection and processing; one evidence of this is the fact that I've blogged maybe 2-3 times a month for quite a while now. I don't apologize for not blogging (not least because there really is nothing more annoying than a blog post saying, "SO SORRY I HAVEN'T BLOGGED") but I do observe that I feel most satisfied/centered/self-aware when my blogging frequency is more like 6-8 times a month. I am not a scrapbooker, I don't really journal much anymore, but I do really like to write and I benefit from thinking about our life and processing it and getting it down in some way before it evaporates into another moment lost to time. Life has felt a bit more open and spacious lately and less like an impossible obstacle course I am white-knuckling my way through, so hopefully I can return to a habit of writing and  reflection.

It is the season of Lent now, which has helped me carve out some openness and time for contemplation. Although I have spent my entire life within the Christian community, my corner of it is not big into the liturgical calendar and I have never observed Lent in any way before this year. I've felt an interest/attraction toward observing Lent for a couple of years now, mostly because Easter always sneaks up on me. I think that my experience of Christmas is made more meaningful and substantive because we spend the month of Advent getting ready and anticipating it; I mean, even people who don't believe in Jesus at all spend weeks anticipating and celebrating his birth in some ways. Easter is arguably a more important holiday to Christians but I've never spent any appreciable time thinking about it ahead of time or mentally preparing to celebrate it. "Maybe I should," I said to myself. OH WAIT-- THAT'S CALLED LENT. So for my first year of observing Lent, we had pancakes for dinner on Shrove Tuesday, I am reading a daily Lent devotional by one of my favorites, and I am fasting from sugar. Traditionally, one would fast from meat, dairy, eggs, AND sugar during Lent (hence the pancakes, for using up all your dairy and eggs and whatnot before Lent starts) but that seemed a little much for my first time out. I have said "no" to a lot of sugary things in the days since then, only having sugar on Sundays (when it's traditional to break one's fast-- this is how you get 40 days of Lent between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday; the Sundays are sort of not considered Lenten). My American evangelical self understands the value of the devotional reading more than the value of the fasting, but I will admit that every time I say "no, thank you" to a dessert or sweet snack I am reminded that our celebration of resurrection and new life is coming.

I've been opening up some physical space around here as well. Lewis has outgrown the bouncy seats so they've been passed on to people with new babies who can use them, the infant car seat that I never know where to keep is about to be retired in favor of the bigger convertible car seat that always lives in the car, and I've been selling outgrown cloth diapers and our semi-crappy single jogging stroller and the like. (I think that our nice stroller has ruined me for cheap strollers forever; there is such a huge difference in quality and how pleasant it is to use.) Just yesterday I did a big reorganization of my part of the closet. It was a mishmash of clothes both too big and too small for me; I had been adding things willy-nilly and it was just all very confused. I went through and got rid of everything too big, then removed everything too small that I had been thinking, "Oh, I'll just keep this here because I'm sure it will fit soon," and put it out in a bin in the garage. Hopefully, all the smaller things WILL fit soon but I couldn't see what I had to wear right now. I gain a LOT of weight during pregnancy (about 60, 40, and 50 lbs for my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pregnancies) and that is a LOT of different sizes to shift through (and OH SO MANY BRA SIZES) as I get back to normal. Whatever normal is, at this point. I have been so many different sizes over the past 6-ish years that I sort of don't know. I do know that my closet looks lovely and organized now, if somewhat empty, and that everything in there does fit me right now. One thing I have realized over all these pregnancies and subsequent weight losses is that I don't need as many clothes as I think I do. I aspire to the spare, well-edited, functional wardrobe ideal hanging in a spacious closet in a lovely organized manner. Right now I think I'm only really lacking in "functional".


Eva said...

I am in the same "very little blogging" situation, but I only have ONE kid! Granted, I also have a full time job, but still.

I am amazed at how invisible Lent has become here in Mexico. Bad catholics.

angie.a said...

Why do we feel the need to apologize for not blogging? Or, I should say "I". I always feel like I should...but then I remember it's my personal space with no obligation to anyone but me. I wrote for a couple of years before anyone really read or commented! Oh ok, they still don't. :D

I've never observed Lent either, and always wanted to. Thanks for the links!

On a stroller note...don't laugh, but there's (an annoying) youtube beauty "guru" named Kandee Johnson who just did a series on her favorite baby items. I think her baby is about 14 mos. old. She has the most awesome stroller ever.

Why do I watch her if she's annoying?? Because I'm sick like that.

Sharon said...

Jon and I are trying to do a lenten thing as well, but rather than removing something we're adding something. Prayer, to be more specific. We're trying to pray together each evening. Hopefully it will continue past lent. And perhaps that's the point of a 40-day "intensive."