onefootintheclay

Creativity and Spirituality with Joel McKerrow

Month: March, 2016

Do not rush this… (Reflections whilst waiting for my baby to be born).

Waiting. I’ve never been great at it. It always comes with chewed nails, grit of teeth, anxious thought. I sit here waiting for a baby to be born and my mind is pacing. Around and around. It is wearing down the carpet. I just want this Melody to arrive. The beginning note of her life sung out through the hospital corridors paving the way for her song to begin. Please come already.

Yet inside the refrain,

“Do not rush this. Do not rush this.”

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And I realise how quickly life does come and how quickly life grows and how a baby is too soon crawling and too soon walking and then the running and I know that running always is toward something and when you are running toward something then you are also running away from something. And I don’t want my babies to ever have to run from something. But I know that they will. One day. Like I run from this moment. This waiting. Running. It is the human condition. Too fast. Always only one foot on the ground. Places to go, people to see. Lives to change. A world to save.

“Fast. Fast. More Fast” my little boy calls out as he bolts down the hallway. He did not stay for long in the walking phase. Pretty much skipped it in want of the running. He is seldom still. Frenetic. Aidan Frenetic McKerrow. This should have been his name. Like father. Like son. Like society. Like you. Fast. Fast. More fast.

“Do not rush this.”

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The world is a blur most of the time. The many realities of my day fly past and suddenly I am kissing the boy goodnight and the light is off and my wifey and I collapse in bed (or on the floor if we can’t make it to the bed). We close our eyes. Briefly. Until the boy cries out five minutes later.

“Broken” he yells the other night not long after bedtime. Its a new word of his. “Broken!” His cry becomes louder. Incessant. “Broken. Broken! Broken!” He is getting distraught. I am not sure what he could have broken lying in his bed at 9pm at night so I walk into the room. He is sitting up in bed, the clip-on buttons on the leg of his onesie PJ’s have come apart. A disaster. He is holding them out to me, his face a rush of tears and panic. “Broken!!” he sobs at me again as though the sky is falling in on him, “Broken!” He in inconsolable. Even after I clip the buttons back together. All better. All fixed. It was all just too much heartache for the little man. I think of all the times in my life the unbuttoned reality feels like the end of the world.

“Do not rush this.”

The next day he sticks his hand back inside his jumper sleeve and pretends he has lost it. We look in the freezer. It is not there. We look in the fridge. It is not there either. He is delighted at the game. Thinks he’s tricked me. He looks up at me and with a huge guffaw he pokes his lost hand out of his jumper sleeve and it has been there all along and we laugh together and he jumps up and down in delight at the joke and I think how quickly you have grown my boy.

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She holds life inside her. My wife. Nine months tomorrow. My son looks confused as we tell him that Melody is arriving soon. He walks to the front door and looks out expectantly. The obvious place to look for a new guest to come. “Not from out there” we tell him as we point at Mum’s balloon belly, “from in there.” He looks doubly confused. Where are you Melody? He holds out mums shirt and looks underneath. Where are you?

We wait for you my girl. And may our waiting not be anxious. May our waiting be a holding. A preparing. A sweeping the path of your entrance into this world. A creating enough space on the inside. Too many of my days are spent running into the next moment. And so you teach me now, even now, before first breath is taken, you teach me to slow. To be present.

“Do not rush this,” you say. And I hear you Melody. I hear you.

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When Life Comes Calling (or trickles down your backside).

It always happens when you least expect it. Life. It happens everywhere. All around us.

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I was packing boxes the other day, moving house. Could there be a worse a time for life to interupt. I was certainly not looking for her. She came looking for me.  There I was minding my own business when she brushed up against me. Or, truth be told, she cycloned straight through me.

The day had been still. Hot. Sweat drips with no hint of a breeze to take off the edge. Until this moment. I looked out the window surprised. A box flew across the backyard. A cardboard box. Followed by a sheet of plastic. Followed by a trampoline. I kid you not. It was a small trampoline granted. With a net of protection all around which would turned into sails whenever the wind blew. But the wind had not been blowing. The day had been totally motionless. Yet, now, here it was. Ferocious wind. The trampoline crashed into the fence. The cardboard continued moving. So did the plastic. They were swept along by the wind. Swept in circles by the wind. By the time I came out the back door they were both high up in the air twirling around and around in a circle. It was some kind of mini-cyclone. I was struck in the face with its force and had to catch my breath. Yet, within a few moments of me walking outside, the wind had moved on from our house. I could see its path, it went over to the next door neighbours. Their trees and clothesline swinging wild for a few moments. Whilst I stood now once again in total stillness.  The wind past through me and onwards as quick as it had come. The cardboard box and the plastic though, they just kept on rising. Around and around in circles. I was transfixed. Could not look away. Up and up they kept on. Dancing. Twirling. Beautiful. Held up by the wind. It did not look possible. I stared after them. In the wake of their dervish my heart rose in recognition. I never did see them touch down. The box and the plastic. They kept going over a hill till I could not see them. Either they landed in a field out beyond our house or they landed in Oz. Either way I went back to the task of packing boxes but it no longer seemed such a task anymore. My heart was too light for that. Just a hint of beauty twirling in the air and life, she had come calling.

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That weekend she just kept on coming. The next time, it was by tickling my plumbers crack. (Don’t worry this blog is not going too far down the gutter:)

Once again I was packing boxes. The family had come home. I was bent over trying to tape together a particularly frustrating box when suddenly a trickle of cold rushed down my plumbers. Not even joking. Ice-cold. I screamed in shock. In fear. In something. I Jumped up. Turned around. My almost-two-year-old son is standing their beaming. A smile that quickly turns into an all-out belly laugh. He is on the ground shaking in laughter such was his delight. My son had just played his first-ever practical joke on his dad. His drinking water (with ice-cubes) now no longer in his cup, but dripping down my backside. I could do nothing, but fall down rolling on the ground in laughter with him. Life. She comes always when we least expect her and in ways that just seem so…inappropriate.

She kept coming at me. Through my son again. It was the following day. Still in the toil of moving house. I was lying down on the mattress. The bed frame already gone. The mattress on the ground. I was trying to catch a few moments of rest to get my strength up for the final cleaning. My eyes closed. After a short time I heard the soft movement of small feet near-by. Shuffling. I was almost about to open them thinking I was about to be doused with water again. I kept them closed. Waited. Wondering what the little fella was up to. And that’s when I heard it. That is when he said it. The first time he’d ever said it to me. Not that he’d know what it meant. Or maybe he knows much more so than I, for my years they get in the way sometimes. He came close. Right up to the bed. A whisper. Three words…

“I love you.”

He walks straight back out the door to his mum and I am left a blubbering mess. Nothing can prepare you for that. No words written here could possibly describe what that does inside you. Life. Somedays she clobbers you she is trying so hard to get your attention.

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And so the boxes were all packed and the house was all clean and it was time to leave what had been our home for the last few years. I walk outside. Am greeted by the glorious view of rolling hills that has been the landscape of our being for a time. I look around. Soak it in. Life. Once again, life. The kangaroos in the field. The rabbits hopping. The horses in yonder field. And the flock of birds that flies straight over head. A flying-V. Migration. Leaving home. On their way home. Discovering a new place to nest. And how the birds called down to me in that moment; And how life called down to me in that moment; And how the sacred called down to me in that moment. And how I realised that aren’t they all one and the same.

Life, she happens everywhere. When you least expect her. All around. Always coming. Always going. Always flirting. We are always on our way home. We are always leaving home. Everything happens and then happens again. And the birds fly overhead and the wind comes and the cardboard flies and the underwear gets soaked and the boy laughs and the boxes are packed and the boy whispers love and there she is. Beneath it all. There she is. Life.

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