Rythm vs Rut

Over the past few weeks there have been a number of PAUSE and think moments that have challenged me about the way in which my life is lived. I have had to realign goals around health and fitness, I have had to think about what I believe about rest and relaxation, I have had to think about identity vs activity and the theme through all of this in many ways has been about letting go.

My first pause moment really came during a session with my fitness trainer who has had to talk my anxiety down regarding NOT being able to reach the goals that I wanted to before the end of August (I wanted to be running & cycling regularly again and 2 months ago was categorically told that I am not allowed to run. I am allowed MILD to moderate exercise 3 or 4 times a week but more MILD than moderate was the emphasis).

Lana reminded me, again, of controllable vs uncontrollable variables. That I didn’t choose to be in a place where this was the outcome BUT I can choose how I recover from it: I have no control over the fact that this HAS already happened, but I can choose the recovery plan – and the longer and harder I fight that, mentally or emotionally or physically, the longer the recovery plan will be. Controllable variables have meant relooking at goals. Controllable variables have meant redefining what health and fitness is going to look at end of August. Controllable variables mean that there is a little bit of flexibility needing to develop in this life story.

Ironically the exercises the doctor has encouraged are all about flexibility: Yoga, Pilates, stretching and walking! Lana has built the stretching into our training sessions and I have gone looking for appropriate yoga classes/ spaces.

On Saturday I wandered up a piece of the mountain (read steep uphill) with Kate, 2 yoga mats and the intention to stretch and relax outside in the winter sun. During this time, Kate who has been doing this a lot longer than my 2 weeks – reminded me whilst in warrior pose (those of you who know me well will appreciate the irony that follows):

The weird thing is that as you relax into this pose, the stronger you get and as you get stronger, the easier it is to relax.

AHEM! I had just been thinking about ISAIAH 30:15 which reads as follows:

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. This piece of scripture goes on to talk about the plans made by people rather than turning to God’s grace and compassion – and a blessing on those who wait for him.

I was in what felt like rhythm of busyness, of activity but actually as I reflect back now: It was a rut of activity where I kept going because I didn’t know how to stop: whether because I didn’t choose to, or didn’t feel like I could, or because of underlying anxiety, it doesn’t matter. It was not a rhythm – it was a rut. Rhythm has energy in it – A rut is about repetitive action. Rhythm has beats and steps which can change – A rut is set and can’t.

So, as this new season and decade begins, it’s time to find the new rhythm, to seek the new beat and to work out what needs to be activity out of a space of identity rather than out of habit and activity; to work out where the flexibility needs to be so that the strength and rest for this next season can develop. It’s about allowing rest and recovery to be significant too.

(Actually I am pretty excited about the possiblities of all this now 🙂 )

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Between I will and I do….the “baby” question

Getting married at this stage of my life has its definite advantages. There is much of what I wanted to achieve and do that has been done.  It also comes with its own challenges.  Challenges that one would expect like learning to let go of some independence, learning what inter-dependence looks like and figuring out how to share my space naturally with another, appreciating that when God says two are better than one and a cord of three isn’t easily broken, that the bonding of this cord happens as things are resolved (this means wrestling, stand offs, choices and inevitable conflict at times). Challenges as families shift in their understanding of each other and the way that we are involved in each other’s lives.

It also means that we learn to trust another’s involvement in our lives and our life choices:  not because the other is the “boss of me” but because the other actually cares about me and wants me to be a good “boss of me”.

One of the hardest things for me, especially as we have made choices not to live together, not to sleep together and are doing our courtship the “old school” Christian way of preparing for marriage- there is lots of anticipating and excitement, but also recognising that our first year of marriage may have lots of ‘refining moments’– is the fact the people frequently feel the need to tell me to hurry up and have babies because I am getting on…. (Open private speech bubble: It’s hard not want to ask you what you know about my ovaries or my fiancé’s reproductive capacity in these conversations: Close private speech bubble)

Thank you for believing that I will make a good mom.

Thank you for being interested in our lives.

And now I am going to thank you for trusting that this is something that my fiancé and I have spoken about; have prayed about; have made choices about too.  A wise friend said to me when I voiced my frustration:  There isn’t only one way of having babies nowadays – and there are no guarantees regardless of age or planning or how much of a good parent one may potentially be. My Ouma had her last child at the age of 44, AFTER a mastectomy and a bout with breast cancer.  He is perfectly healthy.  Yes, the risks are there.  Yes, it may be harder but it also may be easier for me than for some of my other friends who have done EVERYTHING right – they eat well, they keep their body fat at the optimal percentage, they exercise, they LOVE children and they have a supportive community around them and yet, I know their heartaches and things just not happening despite trying for months at the optimal age. Not just one friend – numerous friends! There are no guarantees in any of this.

It has been hard to know how to respond when the day we got engaged people started telling me I needed to start trying; or asking how long we planned on waiting because….well, you know, Lex, you are old; or going to an appointment with the lady doctor and being told to go home and make a baby now because the egg was in the perfect place according to the scan (She got asked to behave!).  It’s hard when I know that people don’t mean this badly. 

We would like to walk down the aisle first.  We would like to be in a position, where as a self-employed person, I don’t need to work for 3 months and we will be financially comfortable.  We would like to have memories of us 2 before we make memories of us 3 or us 4.  We also know that we want to choose a baby –regardless of whether we ‘make a bio-baby’ or not.

In the midst of all the pending changes, the last thing my heart, my brain and my body can cope with is the idea of being a mom on top of this all.  Yes, there are risks. We are risking joining 2 lives.  We are risking making decisions around careers and homes and futures as a couple.  We are risking giving up individual adventures to have a joint adventure.  Allow us to risk this well before we risk together with the life of another little person.  We want to risk for and with them. We want to love them well – more than well.

Just give us a little bit of time to get there!