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Posts Tagged ‘birth’

Some months ago I was telling the Not-So-Casual Observer about how therapy is like giving birth. What I didn’t know then was that I was right, and that I’d actually be called upon to do this thing. Now I’m able to find comfort in my own writing, isn’t that sweet of Jesus?  He gave me the thing I needed months before I needed it, so today I could roll it around in my palm like a marble, smooth and glassy and cool.

The previous six months have been like pregnancy. The NSCO and I have been building trust, knitting together my stories and feelings with her reactions like connecting bone to sinew. Now it’s time to give birth, and I am as prepared as you can be when you’re walking into the unknown.

She calls herself a midwife. I’m glad that, though she’s never given birth in the natural, and despite the myriad things that can go wrong, she’s attended births as they’ve come through the pain of the past. I am excited to experience my own birth, to discover its nuance, its rhythm. I am grateful.

What I know is merely this: that it already hurts mightily, and will hurt more. That right before the breakthrough, I will think I am being drawn into death’s grip. That I am being ripped in two by some invisible force whose rumblings make me pause and steady myself, grateful for the temporary relief but braced for the next wave of anguish. It’s job is to wrest this life from my death grip, to squeeze out the muck and present this new thing, slippery and fragile, but strong and flexible.

Rest in the tension.
Peace in the pain.
Authentic transformation.
Transition — the sum of all grace.

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The Process

Yesterday was counseling day, and I feel like we’re on the cusp of something big. I’m pleased, and I’m terrified. As we came to a close, my wonderful counselor (whom I’ll call the Not-So-Casual Observer, or NSCO) saw a look on my face that said “Overwhelmed.” She asked what it was about and I told her that this is something like a painful labor. What follows is one of my homework assignments for this week.

Transition — the sum of all fears. You can’t see the end and you’re unsure of the outcome and you’re smack in the middle of the most. immense. pain. of your life.

You want to give up, to beg for relief. You don’t believe that you will survive the violence ripping through your body and threatening to tear you in two. There’s no turning back; it would kill one or both of you. There’s no rushing through; this process obliges its own exquisite tension.

You must make a choice: fight the agony or submit to it. Submission’s only reward is a greater awareness of your pain. It requires a gaze fixed on what feels like death itself.  As the waves wash over you from crescendo to crescendo, you fear the world will go black.

Suddenly, a sure but passing vision; a moment of supreme clarity: You are about to birth something precious, and this thing cannot come without the gift of pain. You bear down and do this impossible thing because, though the exact nature of what’s coming to you is yet unknown, you know with a marrow-deep certainty that it is worth every drop of sweat and blood and salt poured forth from you to give it life.

Hold tight now, hold tight. There’s more to you than this.

Rest in the tension.

Peace in the pain.

Authentic transformation.

This is pain with a purpose. The moment you are fully rent is the moment the light comes rushing in. Transition — the sum of all grace.

 

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