9 months we have been here.
9 months of life lived, half unsure of whether we are staying or going, easing into the awareness that we are here and here we will stay.
9 months of living life with family, cups of tea, dinners, conversations, sharing the hard, the reason for finding ourselves here.
9 months of trying to learn what is going on for our youngest, trying to regulate and breathe deep, trying to dance the family dynamics and help my eldest be seen in this storm.
9 months of different seasons, dark dark winter, blustery spring, the green endless light summer.
9 months of new outdoor places to explore, sand dunes, mountain streams, beaches, forest parks, play parks, mountains, lakes, coffee shops and more.
9 months of a new way of parenting, slowly dropping demands, feeling our way into what healthy screen time looks for all of us, enchanted by minecraft, addicted to roblox, conversations, pulling back, despair, frustration, understanding, seeing the benefits.
9 months of watching the affect change has had on us all, the explosions, the rebuilding, the rupture, the repair, the walking into a new way of being.
9 months of seeing that broken hearts mend, that home can be found again, that the storms pass and blue skies appear, that the blue skies go and cloud appears, that the weather can be weathered.
9 months of visitors, people cheering us on, offering love and care in these transitions.
9 months of stops and starts, of the glue gun phase, the hama beed phase, the watching tv shows all day everyday phase, the remembering we all love reading phase, the slowly getting back into bedtimes which work phase, the 3d printer phase, the memorising the whole of the horrible histories phase.
9 months we have been here.
When I wrote in my journal that we’d been here 9 months I was caught back into the world of pregnancy. 9 months is what it takes to grow a new life and birth it into the world. I feel like that’s what we’ve been doing in these last 9 months. We haven’t really started the new life yet in many ways, the baby is being nurtured and grown deep within us as we’ve lived in transition for most of this last year. We didn’t know we were going to stay when we came over, and so everything has felt somewhat temporary whilst we figured that out. Looking into the next couple of months we’ll be starting more permanent rhythms, the boys are going to a new school, we are hopefully moving house and settling down in this land. Those things feel massively like giving birth. We’ll hopefully find community to be part of, be able to use our land for hospitality in the ways we love, we’ll have breathing space and time to nurture this new life birthing in front of us.
In the meantime we wait. As I reflect on pregnancy I’m reminded that I can do this waiting for new life thing. 10 years ago and 8 years ago my Augusts and Septembers were full of waiting, full of anticipation of a life I couldn’t imagine. I can do the processing fear, the excitement so closely linked to that fear. I can walk around with the weight of pregnancy in me, leaning into now before the world will change again. Before son1 was born I used my last two months of pregnancy to read books, watch Spooks and hang out with my NCT group all in a similar stage of waiting. I prepared, washed baby clothes and tried to enjoy the peace before the storm.
This summer feels similar. I don’t know how school will go for the boys, I don’t know how moving will go, whether we will find anyone to be friends with and share more of our lives with, I long for some kind of faith community and look forward to slowly finding people to eat meals with and talk about the presence of the divine. I hope for the future, I fear the future if none of those things materialise.
I wrestle with God as I did back then, knowing I cannot trust this author of me to make everything ok, but knowing that I have always found their presence to be enough in the storms I have lived through in these last 44 years. I wrestle for the presence rather than the perfect outcomes I would like. I am desperate to know it will all be ok and I am fearful that it won’t. I wrestle for the presence of the One who made my mountain playground, the One who made me, the Ones who wrote their love all over this world, the One who whispers to me in the cool morning air, who holds me as I hold my boys, who offers love through arms and texts of friends, who shows up in books, music, tv shows and in the steady presence of a huge dry stone wall on my walks in the hills.
9 months we’ve been here. When I was pregnant with son2 Romans 8 in The Message was my mantra and hope, it talks of birth pangs, of waiting for deliverance and views this waiting as an important part of this process to new life.
“That is why waiting does not diminish us, anymore than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting… meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting God’s Spirit is right alongside us helping us along.”
I long for this waiting to enlarge us, to bring life to us, to make our expectancy more joyful, to not diminish us. It can be tempting to think of our lives as diminished since leaving the abundance we had in Brighton, what I’m starting to realise is that as we live and breathe out in this land that there may well be more space here for us to live an enlarged life, which feels different from a full on life. Space for breathing, reflection and invitation for others into that space. All amazing things which I am hopeful this new birth will bring. Until then we wait with expectancy. We enjoy the now and we wrestle for the Presence holding us in the birth pains.