It’s my Birthday. Another year to hang on the line and all that jazz. Read last years post for my thoughts on Birthdays. Here instead are some random thoughts from 5am in a tent last weekend.
It’s times like these that I realise again that I have to write, that coming away with no pencil and paper is almost a crime to my soul. My brain cries out for the joy of processing, of ordering my thoughts and putting down things that swirl around my head.
Here is the space to do that. In these canvas walls before anyone else is awake or out of the tent, here in this surreal light of dawn outside with the birds singing and the sheep making that guttural noise that clearly sounds nothing like the small baa sound we encourage our children to make.
Here is the space to write and write and write some more. Finally away from the screens, the immediate stuff that fills my gaze each day. With a head fuzzy from disturbed sleep. With my lungs aching from too much campfire smoke and with cockerels in the background I come to this most sacred of tasks. Writing. Expressing thoughts. None of them particularly inspired or new, thoughts that many have had and yet I can and I love writing them down. It seems almost too much to call this a gift but here it is. A gift to whoever. A gift to whoever feels this aching need to know we are not alone. That others have passed this way. If no-one wrote anything down imagine how greater our loneliness would be.
I hear my son making the initial noises of waking. Murmuring instead of crying, indicating he might have had more sleep than I in this strange night under the cloudy sky. I feel the ache of my back as I sit up after a night on the floor, albeit a fairly comfortable sleeping mat filled floor. I sense the strange swirling of my other son inside me and wonder what life will be like in 3 months time. I remember the other children around the site last night, the parents with their endless wheelbarrows of stuff carted to tents and wonder what life in these next few years will hold.
I remember the young couples arriving last night, the few on their own, escaping for rest, nights away from routine, peace and then try and put down my jealousy for another day, reaching instead for some kind of contentment in this ‘all consuming tempting to think there is no space for me’ kind of life. All to easy to box people up and long for the greener life of different circumstances. I breathe. I have this life. I both love and fear this life. I adore the insanity of being a mother and I can’t believe the gifts given to me. I fear the sacrifice of this life. I laugh again at my wariness at owning such a title. I am a mother, mummy, a mum. I fear of others thinking less of me now I have this new state of being. I fear alienating others. The single years still seem so much to define me and this skin still feels new. I listen too long to the voices that whisper that I should have written more, that I should be known, that a quiet and unseen life is to be scorned. The deep all penetrating truth that I am loved and need no accolades from this world to prove that is hard to hear at times and yet will not ever leave.
I’ve heard that voice recently. Despite exhaustion, despite 4 weeks of marking season and slogging head down through. I’ve heard the beautiful voice that tells me I am loved. The voice that tells me there is a place where my selfish greed and my pride can be washed away. The voice that tells me there are new compassions for me this morning. The voice that speaks of a cross, a cup and an empty grave that I cannot ignore, no matter how much I try.
I cough in this quiet and my son cries out, knowing I am close, only two canvas walls away. I sense this quiet will soon end and the day will clatter into being. I am thankful. Thankful that although times away are not measured anymore in perfect moments, quiet ordered thinking time or good nights sleep that there are good chaotic things to be learnt in this mess, this tumbling through the day with a small person in tow and this particular style of insane sacrifice.