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Maternity leave, interruptions, and a book cover reveal
Just popping into your inbox to share two quick announcements. First, we welcomed Chiara Grace (the story of her namesake is amazing), making us a family of six. She decided to make her debut 3 weeks early, which came as a great relief to her mother no matter what kind of wrench it threw into her big plans to have posts pre-scheduled during her maternity leave time.
A baby is never late, nor early. She arrives precisely when she means to. Or was that wizards?
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In any case, this season is a welcome interruption of our ordinary time. Long snuggles, hours spent nursing and rocking. Slow, quiet moments punctuated by piercing cries and immediate needs.
It’s a season of interruptions.
All monasteries have a bell. Bernard, in writing his rules for monasticism, told his monks that whenever the monastic bell rang, they were to drop whatever they were doing and go immediately to the particular activity (prayer, meals, work, study, sleep) to which the bell was summoning them. He was adamant that they respond immediately, stating that if they were writing a letter they were to stop in mid-sentence when the bell rang. The idea in his mind was that when the bell called, it called you to the next task and you were to respond immediately, not because you want to, but because it’s time for that task and time isn’t your time, it’s God’s time. For him, the monastic bell was intended as a discipline to stretch the heart by always taking you beyond your own agenda to God’s agenda.
Hence, a mother raising children, perhaps in a more privileged way even than a professional contemplative, is forced, almost against her will, to constantly stretch her heart. For years, while raising children, her time is never her own, her own needs have to be kept in second place, and every time she turns around a hand is reaching out and demanding something. She hears the monastic bell many times during the day and she has to drop things in mid-sentence and respond, not because she wants to, but because it’s time for that activity and time isn’t her time, but God’s time. The rest of us experience the monastic bell each morning when our alarm clock rings and we get out of bed and ready ourselves for the day, not because we want to, but because it’s time.
And so I return to my season of heart-stretching withdrawal. I plan to continue focusing on snuggling for the next several weeks, returning to your inbox sometime in October.
But before I go, I’m so excited to finally reveal the cover of Reclaiming Motherhood. The team at OSV did beautiful work crafting it. I can’t say enough about how important pre-orders are for authors, so if you’re wanting to purchase this book I’d so appreciate you ordering today!