I had a long talk with a new friend yesterday morning over tea and laptops.
We talked about past loves, new directions, character traits, and career goals. We laughed over silly things and shared some girly moments and came up with breakthrough life analogies. We opened up about some fears and hopes for the coming year and beyond.
Our conversation was like a New Year’s resolution poured into a tea cup. And then we “cheers”ed it up and made a date to meet in exactly one year to assess our actions and accomplishments of 2015. We even marked our calendars.
I started the new year with a little too much emotion, thanks to my stupid female hormones. They highlighted my normally suppressed insecurities that were suddenly fraught with unruly emotion (blech). I hated every second of feeling it – of feeling.
The overarching ugliness attacking my status quo was a condemning sense of being lost. Unfocused. Directionless. Foggy. Disoriented. Purposeless. Useless.
These arrows came at me fast and hard, threatening to puncture my confidence, poise, and assurance in the Lord. I fought them off with prayer and a nap.
I suppose we need to feel feelings, as much as I fight it. In talking with my friend yesterday, something interesting came to my mind.
During both of my children’s labors, I had an epidural. Silas’s labor, especially, was intensive – 65 hours from start to finish, complete with multiple instances of vomiting and a sudden drop in his heartbeat before I gave birth. The contractions felt worse than someone forcing me to wear Birkenstocks. But then came the epidural. Ahhh, my beloved epidural.
Having that needle stabbed into my back was sweet relief (despite Jayson’s near-fainting at the sight of it). I could finally get a break from the pesky contractions that wouldn’t leave me alone. I lay down; I even closed my eyes for a couple of minutes at a time.
I stopped feeling. It was heavenly.
After what felt like an eternity, I was finally ready to push. I was giddy at the prospect of finally meeting our baby. And so I got ready to push. Only I couldn’t feel anything.
Jayson was looking at the readings from the monitor. He could see the contractions coming on, even though I couldn’t feel them. He would tell me when to push, and I tried to push, only nothing was happening. I didn’t know if I was doing it right. I couldn’t feel anything.
And so they turned down the epidural. I had to feel what was happening so that I would know when to push.
I had to feel the pain so I could get the reward.
Thankfully the hysterics passed and the melodrama faded, helped by three things:
1) My husband’s calm demeanor (and knowing when to leave me the heck alone, for his own safety and the safety of others)
2) The aforementioned conversation
3) The following sign I saw on a friend’s Instagram account:
I’m here. And here is all I can be.
OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.