My emotional health is to my physical health. In the morning, my nausea is worse. Yet I'm usually steady emotionally. I get to enjoy a quiet breakfast time with my husband and pray while the house is still dark. By the afternoon, my nausea is much better physically, but I'm in much rougher shape emotionally. I'm tired. I'm depressed. I'm judgmental about "not getting anything done" in the house. I feel depressed reflecting that it will be so many weeks more until I can even hope to feel better.
It's amazing to write that there are spiritual gifts inside this place of "emotional suck." For me, there is a beauty in not getting anything done.
Last week, this beautiful Carmelite priest from Vietnam, Father Joseph, gave the homily at my local parish church in West Virginia. He told us about his life. In Vietnam, the Communist government has denied granting a permit to any religious group in the country since 1975. Without a permit, the small Carmelite friary is subject to persecution. Government inspectors can search their home at any time, even at midnight. As a result, these 30 men must chant their Evening prayers softly and keep their house "as messy as possible." They need to look like normal male student slobs, instead of a highly disciplined group of monks. Too much order in their housekeeping tasks would immediately tip off the Government Inspectors that something bigger was happening inside this house.
Baby Abigail's antsy 18 month old legs needed stretching soon after this part of the homily. I took her out of church, so she could run in the parish hall for a bit. While I was alone with her, I had this opportunity to really reflect on Father's Joseph's story.
Both Father Joseph and I are living in a house far messier than we'd like. We're both doing it because we are following the Will of God. Father Joseph has to use a messy house to hide from the Communist Government. I'm living in a messy house because my morning sickness, combined with my poorly chaperoning an 18 month old and 2 1/2 year old, equals outrageous amounts of household disorder by 5 PM each day.
I thought it was cool that a chaste Carmelite friar can have the exact same sacrifice as parents of many small children! I decided to offer up my annoyance with my messy house during this pregnancy specifically for the Carmelite friars in Vietnam.
This morning, a fellow blogger named Melanie, sent me an awesome article about a fellow Carmelite's take on combining her ADD and with more Holy Housecleaning. This is more blessings of taking an enforced rest from most housecleaning tasks. A rest can also be a retreat. An inspiration to do a familiar task with great focus and grateful prayer.
I love this kid inside my belly. His nickname right now is "Leo." (Not that I have any idea yet if he's a boy or a girl, but we like to call our beloved babies a sweet nickname well before the first sonogram in my house. Poor Alex, my only son, was affectionately called "Beatrice" for weeks!) Leo is shaking things up within my soul, well before his arrival into my arms. Thank you, kiddo! I love you!