naval gazing

i feel a bit odd posting this as i am currently postpartum, but i had written this previously while i was still pregnant & never got to posting it {i think i have more saved attempts at writing posts than are actually posted... so sad}.  but then, i was recently inspired by the marvelous maryann over at the daily parable and so here it is!

it is the end of my pregnancy and i am big & swollen with belly.  i naval gaze... literally, as i cannot see much past my belly. all that is in view is that poor knob of a belly button, certainly living up to it's name.  i no longer hold the luxury of seeing my own feet or much else in my perspective.

the revelation came with a sting one sunday morning. a more hectic sunday morning than usual, if that is possible.  it was the end of the meeting, the kids were sweaty with exhaustion & quickly unraveling, not unlike their mama.  i passed the last few crackers from a now empty diaper bag which held few options of pacifying their overtired cries.  i had spent the whole morning hushing & containing them to a few squared space, organizing & administrating croissants, coffee & beverages for the guests, and most importantly, maintaining that sunday morning smile without wrinkle as my morning crumbled beneath me.

i could feel her behind me. wanting to introduce herself.  wanting to connect to someone.  and i just couldn't. so tired. so pregnant.  i couldn't meet someone new right now.  and so i turned my back to her to squash any attempt at conversation & my turned my front to my children offering them my last shred of self-control.  she persisted.
"do you need some help?" i hate that question. i so badly wanted to cry but instead mustered up my bravest "oh, me, i am fine.  thank-you though..."
long pause.
"um, i am not sure i've met you before..."
she was so soft & genuinely interested in me & the kids.  it was wonderful. just at the end of the conversation, i began to find out more about her.  much to my surprise this lovely woman had just immigrated to canada from beijing the week before with her three children.  they had nothing.  they were scared & desperately thankful for the menial fellowship that i had so begrudgingly bestowed.

i was embarrassingly convicted.  she had been so warm. so concerned about me having my fourth child.  and i had been so cold & wrapped up in my own trivial circumstance to see the vast need in front of me. and when i say need, i don't mean needy.  she wasn't needy.  i was the needy one - thinking what i was going through was the trump card to anyone else's.

she was a lifeline. a way out of being consumed by my own selfish. my own narrow pregnant perspective.  being pregnant, especially at the end, has a way of insulating one's mind into becoming egocentric & one tracked.  but there is nothing more liberating than taking your eyes off your own perceived need & looking out into the world.  it is freedom from loneliness, depression, hopelessness, self indulgent entitlement & selfishness.  this is the sting of conviction for me.

and so i take my hands off my belly & extend them out to embrace.  and i feel so much better.  so much more fulfilled.  so much less pregnant & so much happier seeing & relating to the world God constructed rather than focusing my eyes on that overdue belly. and so much prettier than that overextended naval.          

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