It's an odd thing, learning to be someone you haven't been before, like substitute mama to little folks with different customs and lifestyles than yours. It's a wave-like rhythm here. Laugh, hold, feed, yawn, grump, cry, smile, love, sleep.
I don't have enough hands, enough time. I don't have enough skills to know the answer to questions like, "When will my dad get out of prison?" or "How come you have a bathroom in your house and my grandma doesn't?" Then perplexed at little folks who don't know their own last names but without prompting, fold hands and squeeze eyes tight and pray in unison, an unintelligible sort of chanting to the rest of us, at the dinner table over what sounds like poo'd (food).
I don't have enough love either, and this is a new learning…drawing it straight from the Spirit around me, pulling love out of thin air, the love poured down all around and over me, and spilling it onto them. I'm a pipe of sorts these days, a filter. God love pouring through me and spraying all over these little folks, love I don't have within me any other way.
Still, I'm the sort of woman who tries in my own strength just about all the time, tries to be understanding and patient, tries to be compassionate and selfless, and the more I hit my knees before him and plead for strength, the more I realize how I've been doing it all wrong all this time, how the coming before him in desperation needs to be first and not last ditch.
I have escaped to the front deck for a breath and a quick go at my keyboard. There is an inflatable swimming pool beside me, the kind you get for ten bucks at the superstore that lasts a few uses before deflating, and the water inside is still and even, crystal clear and at peace. I breathe the image in for a bit and practice making myself calm and cool, still and unrippled, a refreshing drink for the thirsty babes collecting at my feet. It is a practice only of channeling Love, not the love we can create in gesture and batting eyelash, but the Love that saves us when we cannot save ourselves…the love that is, the love that does.
Soon the pool will be full of babies, splashing and pouring, smacking and drinking and the water will be an explosion of sound and movement, clear liquid fireworks, and the stillness will be gone. Soon, too, my respite on the porch will be finished and I will jump back into the fray, the seven-ring circus that makes me laugh and cry and sometimes curse when they're out of earshot.
I got up early this morning just to hear the sound of silence for a bit, to remember what the air is like when not interrupted by toddler voices. It sounded like bird song and eager Saturday lawn-mowers, the refrigerator drip-drip-dripping into the ice maker and the house settling upon itself, inch by inch… my heart settling upon itself too, inch by inch. I am not a morning person but I am a woman who needs her solitude and, as it turns out, there is much to be said about hanging out in the silence early in the morning, before the crunch of cereal and plunk-plunk-plunk of the coffee pot, before giggles and whines, before flushing toilets and crashing plastic toys.
For me, the voice of God comes most clearly in that sort of noisy silence, the quiet that allows you to hear the sounds that are always there, just normally muffled under the din of daily life. It always feels like a breeze upon my neck and earlobes, a whisper that says many things but always, always says, "I love you, child."