Friday, July 16, 2010

Life and Motion Sickness

Flickr photo by DorkyMum, creative commons
I woke with a start, out of breath, trying to get a foothold on reality.
What did it mean?

In my dream, Ben was graduating from high school. We were all there, dressed in Sunday clothes, ready to take our seats in an arena I didn't recognize. But then I was on the main floor, trying to figure out which line to get in. There were masses of people everywhere, all moving in different directions, seeming to know where they were going.
I was lost. Where was I supposed to be?

"There you are!" called a voice. It was Catherine, my friend from high school and roommate my first two years at State. "Daddy brought the bookcase," she said, slinging her backpack over her shoulder. "I've got to run to Bio, but you gotta go up and see it. I don't know how he got it in the elevator but it looks great in the room! See ya!"

The dream went on, zipping all over the space time continuum, until I woke with a gasp in the dark. Where was I?
Faint lines of light had turned the wall in front of my bed into a fuzzy sheet of notebook paper. I rubbed my eyes. It was light from the street lamp outside, let in through the blinds. That's right, I was at my parents' place at the beach.

I began to get my bearings. Sam had spent a few days with my brother and his family. I'd picked him and cousin Luke up on Wednesday, and now we were at my parents' place at the beach. We'd head back Friday afternoon. It was Thursday, right?

I laid my head back on the pillow and tried to slow my racing heart.
What a crazy dream. Was I the mom or the graduate? I even showed up halfway through as mom of three year old Ben, chasing him as he ran across the brickyard, clip clopping in his cowboy boots, his yellow hair flying. I looked to my right and 20 year old Sarah materialized beside me, reaching her hand out to grab at the nape of his flannel shirt. Then I was student Becky again, and Ben was a just cute little kid, probably some professor's son. Maybe I'd have kids one day.

No wonder I woke exhausted. I'd flip flopped my way through the entire movie, trying to figure out where I was, where I was supposed to go, what I supposed to do.
Was God trying to tell me something?

I closed my eyes and remembered who I was.
I'm Becky. Mom to Sarah, who's taking a trip at the moment to check out graduate school. (Graduate school? How could that be? She's about to start her junior year in college, and it's good thing she's thinking ahead. But could she be that old? Could I be that old?)
I'm mom to Ben, who is about to start his senior year in high school. Next Thursday I'll go with him and watch the photographer help him with his tux and take his senior picture. In a few weeks he'll start working on college applications. The year will fly by, just like Sarah's did.
I'm mom to Sam, who starts middle school this year. Middle school.

How could life be moving this quickly? What happened to the years?
I'm still the same person who brought those babies home, one by one, gingerly walked up the steps to the porch, still feeling my stitches, holding them close, smelling their baby heads.

I'm thrilled for them, for all these new adventures, but I'm feeling a little little motion sickness as life whips by. It's all a little discombobulating. What will their lives be like? What will my life be like?

And then a prayer comes to mind.
It's Psalm 23. I find this strange.
Isn't that the psalm that shows up in dark times, in bunkers as bullets fly, in hospital rooms, as the family gathers around the bed?
But God, my brain protested, this isn't a dark time. It's a happy time, a time of growth and promise and newness. For my kids and for me too. Why?

And then the psalm spoke to me.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and staff-they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me, all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
Psalm 23, NRSV

Yes, the Lord is my shepherd, guiding me gently down my path, whether I think I know the route and when the path seems strange and new.
He helps me find quiet places when life is confusing and loud.
When I feel lost between roles, He draws me back to the center of his heart. He reminds me that yes, I'm Becky, mother to these kids, the holder of my life, my work, and my calendar, but I'm also his child. He carries me close, he cups my head in his hand.
He walks beside me, through all the newness, ready to comfort me, ready to celebrate this life with me.
Truly my loving cup does overflow.

Is time moving quickly for you? What gives you peace when life moves too fast?

Have a wonder-full weekend, y'all!
Love, Becky


Amy Sullivan said...

Oh time is moving too quickly! I want to grasp on to it with both hands and screech STOP, but it doesn't listen. For me when I feel as if my kids are growing up too fast usually some quality time with them gives me peace. Reading together, playing on the swings, smelling their heads...I know, weird huh?

Fete et Fleur said...

Discombobulating . . . I love this word and use it often. I also use (spelling??)kerfuffle or carfuffle.

Every year is faster than the next. I feel overwhelmed by the speed.


Heidi Mann said...

LOL Nancy beat me to the comments page! I was going to say precisely that thing: that I love the word "discombobulating"! Isn't that a great word?!

As a mom, I'm a bit ashamed to say I often find myself wishing time would go faster. Can't wait for Sept., when I don't have childcare issues because school is an every-day thing (or almost). Would love to have the kids old enough to stay home along while their dad and I go out on a date. Oh, what will it be like when we can finally have an empty nest?! (My husband and I never had an empty nest; when I married him, I became instant mom to a son from his first marriage; long story.)

But then a mom-friend will remind me, "Don't take this time for granted. It will fly by too fast!" I know, I know... but I also know I will love seeing my kids blossom in late adolescence, and will love having my kids as adult friends...

Yeah, I guess I'm a little discombobulated, too! :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

My breath fails me when I think of how fast my children's childhoods are passing!

Jeff Rogers said...

Make it three votes for "discombobulating"! I've heard it and used it (at least in the past tense), but I don't remember having seen it written.

Heidi Mann's comment reminded me of an elderly woman's question to me one day: "Why is it the days and nights pass so slowly, but the years go by so fast?" Priceless!

How many times I have wished a given day or night would speed up, only to wonder where the years have gone.

So what does it mean when a dream takes you on a crazy whirlwind tour of your life?

Laura said...

Oh, yes, Becky...oh-so-fast.

What calms me, anchors me? Just what you said -- who I am in Him. Always Mom but also forever daughter of the King.

Loved your post -- and felt it.

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

Wow. This post really pulled me and held me to the very end.

I don't have kids yet so I won't pretend to get it just yet, but maybe someday. I hope so.

Angie Muresan said...

I can't believe the little cuties I read about in French by Heart are all grown up! You're not old, though. Don't believe that for a minute.

Attic Rat said...

Yes, our lives are whizzing by. The years are speeding up. We just need to buckle up and enjoy the ride. We are blessed to have the Lord to lean on.

I used to have dreams about school and in these dreams, I couldn't find my schedule and couldn't remember the combination to my locker. Sometimes, I couldn't figure out what to wear, so I showed up at school in my birthday suit. Talk about nightmares! Sheesh!

Douglas R Dahl said...

Time appears to moving at a very ordinary pace when I look at my 2 month old...but much faster when I look at my 14 year old...does time accelerate? Thanks for the post.