I return again and again in my mind to Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis by Kimberlee Conway Ireton because Kimberlee lives with paradox. She lives with tension in her life story. She not only lives with it, she leans into it.
If you’ve started Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis, you know Kimberlee is a writer and a mom. Her husband wants another baby. She wants another book.
“And that’s when I realized I couldn’t possible have another baby. Not if I was going to be a writer. Not if I was going to press on through all this rejection and come out on the other side with a second book to my name. Not if I was going to be able to parent the two kids I already had, write, and stay any sort of sane — because writing was what kept me sane. Words are how I see the world, how I make sense of it. Without words, there is no meaning, there is no me. At least, no me that I can make sense of or understand. Forming words into sentences and paragraphs and stories — this is the only way I know to truly live. Having another baby would just be one more giant responsibility sucking my time and energy away from my writing, away from the words that give me life.”
We all have them. Things that help keep us sane. Maybe writing isn’t yours. That’s cool.
Maybe yours is cooking or home schooling or photography or reading or running or painting or any number of things. I’ve written about it, I bet you can guess one parts of life that helps me stay sane: Zumba.
“A week later, I found out I was pregnant.”
Later her children’s minister corner Kimberlee and says, “I read something this week that made me think of you. The author was talking about how sometimes people have two vocations that seem to conflict with each other, like they’re working at cross-purposes. And I thought of you, because I know it’s hard that you’re not writing much right now. This author said that eventually those two conflicting vocations would flow together, and both vocations would be stronger because of each other. I just knew — I know — that your mothering will make you a better writer, and your writing will make you a better mom.”
Kimberlee writes, “If God can teach me patience through this, or teach me to wait on divine timing, or teach me to trust … well, as much as I hate being a blob, at least I’ll be a growing blob– and not just physically.”
Now the word “vocation” might be stumbling block. Is Zumba a vocation? Or reading? Or running? I really don’t want the focus to be on a definition but the spirit of the meaning. Is it life giving? Does it help you return to you? Process life? Help you be the true version of yourself when you will be unencumbered by sin and the junk of life?
How do you handle seasons like the one Kimberlee describes when you aren’t able to stay sane because of outside restraints? You love cooking but live with only a small market to shop from? Or running is life giving and either women aren’t to run in public where you live OR you live somewhere that is not conducive to safe running in the winter due to ice? Or painting is life giving but your schedule is too full with other obligations this semester?
What helps you stay sane? And how easy or difficult is it for you to do that “sane” activity where you are? I love our chats!
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