Holding each Moment

10176739514_0aaa3f47d5_oI am growing accustomed to an annual end-of-the-summer episode of the blues. I am wallowing in this place now, grieving the passage of time. Mourning the loss of the summer’s long days when I read and write and giggle with my children. All this and the summer isn’t even over yet.

No stranger to anxiety and depression I create strategies to lift my spirit. I will manage my sleep patterns and avoid alcohol. I will schedule time each day for that which feeds me: meditation, writing. I will stop checking my email first thing in the morning. I will read more in the evenings and watch less stupid T.V. Just making this plan makes me feel better.

These steps to avoid a downward spiral feel healthy. It’s never good to get psychologically stuck. But part of me is wondering if my desire to avoid the darkness is a desire to avoid life itself.

Into my wondering a new book arrives; a book of poetry by a rabbi I recently met. In Waiting to Unfold, Rachel Barenblat has written a poem each week of her son’s first year of life. I got wrapped up in this book immediately. Barenblat’s writing is clear and honest, returning me poem by poem to the first year of my son’s life. I appreciate how she captures the beauty of her first moments as a mother. I appreciate more how she captures the pain, the exhaustion, the post-partum depression. Each week’s poem is new; a multidimensional, complicated mix of awe, joy, exhaustion, grief, amazement, mystery and change. Barenblat’s ability to convey the undulating highs and lows, emotional chaos, and heightened nature of new life makes for one great year of poetry.

Out of Barenblat’s dark moments poetry was birthed—poetry that spoke to, resonated with, and held deep meaning for this reader. So even though there are experiences of life that I am impatient to see pass—like this time, here, at the end of the summer—and experiences of life that I want to linger—like sneaking into my children’s bedrooms at night to risk waking them with too many kisses—all of life, all experience holds potential and promise. So perhaps I need to simply hold each moment, like a newborn baby holds bottle or breast, and drink deeply of all life offers.

 

 

[Feature Image: David Precious]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Holding each Moment

  1. Thank you for this gracious review, Teri.

    I struggle with the end of summer before it’s even upon us, too. There’s much here with which I can identify.

    And I’m so glad this collection of poetry speaks to you!

    • Jo Ann,
      So great to hear from you! I saw your comment on the Christian Century’s website, but couldn’t respond there. Thank you for reconnecting.

  2. Teri,
    Wonderful, as I’ve come to expect. And nice plug for Rachel’s book.

    Grieving over the passage of time–when you get to be my age (not that I’m old, but older…) time passes so quickly you have to learn either to speed-grieve or let it go. In any case, I try to resist the temptation by prayerfully reminding myself how close grief is to joy. I try with varying degrees of success.

    Avoiding darkness doesn’t have to equal avoiding life. Darkness will find you anyway. (Mt 6:34)

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