The End of Life as I Know It

Today is the end of my life as I know it in our cozy house in a Kampala suburb.  We depart in a few hours for America and when I come back in about 5 months, our lives will have changed in a major way with a little new addition to our family.

The last few weeks, between our return from India and our departure for the US, have been full of logistical planning, home improvements, and preparing for our leave at work.  But it's also been full of confronting my fears about motherhood and having those fears comforted by the gentle kicks and waves inside my tummy that surprise me throughout the day.  I leave Uganda feeling full of support from the incredible women in my life.  Amongst all I have to pack in one suitcase for the next 5 months, I've found room for the beads these women gave me at my birthing blessingway to cling to during labor and room for their notes of love and affirmation, wanting to keep them with me and, in times of doubt, refer to the encouragement of those who know me well.

The last few days have been full of anxiety as I try to think through every detail of our travels - 5 weeks around the East Coast until I land at home in Indiana to await the birth.  Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC, Annapolis, Portsmouth, and Boston are all around the corner.  I have list upon list in a small notebook, reminding me of all that must be done, bought, and packed, all I must prepare for in those travels, for the cold weather, for the weeks after the birth.  My mind has been racing with these plans and I find myself waking in the middle of the night, thinking of another detail I must remember.

But today is different.  I truly feel ready.  I'm ready to step onto the plane, into my third trimester, and onwards toward a huge life change.  I've prepared well and I know deeply that all will be perfect, so now it's time to enjoy the present moment, to soak up these last few hours in my home.  Even with no power and no water at my house, in this moment I stare in appreciation at the tropical birds outside my window and listen to the chickens cluck beside the garden.  The planning is in the past and big changes are in the future.  The Now is perfect, as it moves slowly toward the end of life as I know it.

For a New Beginning
By John O'Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety,
And the grey promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.