Rev. Kati Collins
Eat, Pray, Laugh
The last 6 weeks have been consumed with sleeping, eating, praying and reminding myself to laugh and savor these moments. On December 27thwe welcomed the beautiful Samantha Lucille into the world, and every day our lives get a bit fuller with wonder, challenge and love. Caring for such a fragile and strong human being has been overwhelming and humbling. Robbie and I have been closer than ever, holding hands while we pray she will go to sleep and taking turns with changing and feedings. I have held back my desire to start a whole new blog on the intensity of breastfeeding. It’s enough to say, I feel like it’s an unspoken mountain that every mother has to approach, go through/around/over, and quickly accept the reality of what your baby needs and what you can produce. For me, it has meant making personal dietary sacrifices, learning how to feed her in a variety of positions, and enduring intense physical pain, even at times while people are asking me questions or a dog also wants attention. Every moment you have to make an educated guess about what to do next, and hope for the best. Each day I practice listening to what I call my “inner guru” and trust my instincts rather than listening to the “doubt monsters” which want to second guess every decision we make.
Over the course of last month, I’ve been playing with a few words to see which one will stick for the year. Before Samantha’s birth, I was tossing around the words “peace” and “hold”. These words summarized my goals for parenting: to approach each challenge with a calm disposition and savor every moment. Now that we are finally here, I find myself needing a little more levity to get by. I started trying to make an anagram for “hold” with words I felt like expressed the kind of guidance I need now, and I ended up changing overall to the word “Laugh.” A reminder to laugh and be guided by these phrases has been getting me through the anxiety and joy of being a new mom: Love yourself, Accept forgiveness for mistakes, Unload your anxious doubts and concerns, Give thanks to God and others for their help, and Hold onto this moment as long as you can.
When we first found out we were pregnant, we laughed. We had pretty much given up on the possibility of a spontaneous or even planned and medically assisted pregnancy and then, “Suprise!” It happened. We had failed during so many other months when we were trying so hard, the positive test seemed more ironic than “success.” This may have been the result of our actions, but it was still unbelievable and felt very supernatural. My Easter Sunrise sermon the month before had accentuated how the first Easter was an unpredictable, unimaginable and (for many) unbelievable suprise. “How might God want to suprise you this Easter?” I asked. “Are you open, ready and willing to see it? To believe it?” I held onto this promise in the deepest yearnings of my heart. I prayed for God to bring us such a suprise, and when it finally came, we laughed. Our laughter came from a sense of wonder—is this God’s way of emphasizing a Holy power stronger than our human abilities? The joyful cheers of surprise from April Fools Day seemed to be echoing in our hearts.
Ten months later every day is filled with surprises, some joyful and others stupefying. Logic and peace don’t necessarily break through our desperation with the mystifying cries of an infant. Deep breathing helps, but laughter, laughter resets our perspective—especially now that she has started to laugh!
Sometimes in our lives laughter seems impossible or trivial, and other times it can feel life changing and grounding. I think I can learn a lot this year from this one word.
How could it change my response to stress if I could laugh with myself like a mother laughing alongside a child scared by a non-leathal threat? How might laughter lead me to gratefulness and joy instead of doubt and regret? May we find peace in 2019 as we eat, pray and LAUGH!