the mothering arts



transitive verb
1 a: to keep motionless by lack of wind b: to stop the progress of
: to make calm : soothe

    I've come to the almost end of a busy day. I feel a bit frazzled; my head is pounding. Yet, I feel happy. Fulfilled. Excited even. I set out to accomplish some tasks today, and was able to finish them, and even better, the children entered into helping with gusto, without my request. It went faster than I thought it would. I was a bit surprised at how fast it was all finished. The more I thought about it, I realized that it had a lot to do with our concerted effort to clean up, trash out, and organize at the beginning of the month. It wasn't as if I entered into January with this thought in mind: "I must organize, I must clean!" It wasn't a resolution or an intention. It just sort of happened. The necessity of it became so obvious that it could not be ignored.
     As I was thinking about this today, I began to think of the word becalmed. It's an old, old word. A word that would strike fear into the heart of an seventeenth or eighteenth century sailor. It was the last thing any sailor would want to happen, and a deceptive word, because what would be better than being calmed? But in the sailors' case, it sometimes meant death. If they got into the doldrums around the equator, or entered any area where there was no wind, the ship simply stopped moving. They lacked the technology to get out of those areas at the time- and could end up becalmed for weeks. Food stores dwindled, morale dropped, disease rose exponentially.
    Where am I going with this? I think I spent a period of time between September to December becalmed. Perhaps it was understandable in some ways- grief can change things in subtle ways we do not understand. But I know as November rolled into December, I mistook "be calm" for becalmed. The house had gotten horribly behind, the children off their schedules, the schooling difficult and disorganized…in short, we had run out of wind. But my morale was low. I saw no way out, and frankly, the emotional expenditures required seemed too much to invest- I was afraid of letting myself feel things again, I am sure. So I just didn't "move". But the thing is, I forgot I had the technology that those sailors did not have. I had a Navigator, Whom I should I have been listening to at every turn. I also forgot that one small paddle dipped in the water when there is no wind means movement forward. One small step. One small chore. One small goal.
    We all know about the law of inertia- objects in motion tend to stay in motion; objects at rest tend to stay at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force. I was an object at rest, becalmed. Stuck. Stopped. The pipes freezing were the outside force that knocked me into movement. Movement that I probably wouldn't have chosen on my own, because the whole idea was just so overwhelming. I am not a materialistic sort- while I want to have a lovely home, I don't really think it has to be perfect or brand name. But I do find it interesting that (at least in my case) the state of my home often reflects my inner emotional state. It also amazes me that something as simple as cleaning up and organizing has so changed my emotional state. I went from fighting depression and spiraling into despair to feeling like I could go on, that I could live again, that things were going to be okay. Both physical and mental/emotional things don't feel so overwhelming any more. Like today- there was a big task that needed to be done- but at the same time, there wasn't fourteen billion other things in front of it, crying out for attention, making me stop before I even started. Even the chores are a lot simpler. Because I took that time back in the beginning of January to deeply clean things and start over again, most tasks take five or ten minutes at the most. (Except for the laundry. There's no winning the laundry, I swear.) And, too, it's easier to see what needs to be done. Since we've made this concerted effort to organize, it's easy to see when something isn't working and change course.
    I noticed this after this last bout of germy warfare…I guess that's why I've been thinking about it today. The last stomach virus in November really messed us up. I mean, I couldn't walk into the laundry room, the bathrooms were so bad that it was hard not to get sick just walking into them…there were toys, dirty sick clothes, dirty sick sheets and blankets everywhere. There was just so much physical "stuff" to take care of. I remember just sitting down in the middle of it and just losing it, crying. I was so overwhelmed by it all. ( I am sure the sleep deprivation didn't help either!) This time, although the end results were very similar, I was able to take care of it quickly, because everything else had stayed on track.
    All this to say, if you've found yourself becalmed, I've been there. Have I ever! First, get back with the Captain. Get back in the Word, make sure you are praying for His leading, for His wind (that the Holy Spirit would move within you.) I just want to encourage you to take whatever small steps you might need to work out of it. Tell somebody- I noticed a huge change when I shared my struggles with a friend and she began to pray about it too. It helped me feel accountable to change, as well. Maybe for you it's not the house- it's the finances- or your own emotional health. Any number of places can be used by Satan to entrap us and becalm us. But God is always, always mighty to save, and all we have to do is ask. His peace is totally different. His calm is always better. Go to, sailor, go to!

One Comment

Tell me what's on your heart~

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.