LeAnn Gardner: Advent Mom

Four years ago, in the throes of Advent season, I was 41 weeks, 6 days pregnant and my eldest would soon be served his eviction notice.

During this time, I went to our local abbey, Mepkin Abbey, where a group of Trappist monks live their lives counterculturally, sustaining themselves in every way. I was walking on the grounds when one of the monks spotted me and said in a knowing way, “The time is ripe for you.” Believe me, I had heard many comments up until then- almost everyone stopped to marvel at the “ripeness” of my belly.

But these words came from a man who was living the Advent experience and whose life was finely tuned to God’s time. There was a knowing, a connection there, of his understanding that the gestation of life reflected the gestation of God’s liturgical time. At that moment, I felt emotionally and unequivocally connected to my Lifesource and the rhythms of God’s time.

The very next day, I delivered that red headed bundle and tomorrow we celebrate his 4th birthday.

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Last week, on Advent Eve, before we were all fully awake he asked, “Mama, when is God going to come and take away the world?”

This question floored me on so many levels; we are not an “end times” kind of family, but more of a “God loves you, God made everything, God is good” etc. When I recounted this to others, they chalked it up to having heard something on TV.

But my intuition tells me that children have a deep sense of knowing and in his little, but wise soul, he is already starting to grasp the enormity of our lives. And maybe even Advent.

Perhaps what he is asking is “When will the pain be gone?” Admittedly, he has not experienced much pain at all (thank God), but maybe just simply being human is a reminder that all is not right (yet) with the world.

Maybe even red headed 4 year olds long for the making of all things right.

If I’m honest, I also know that the Advent of 2011 was my own personal Advent of being transformed into a mother. The exit out of the labyrinth of labor/delivery and into postpartum was one of the most difficult, yet profound of my life.

I am still becoming, still learning what it means to help usher another human being (now two) into becoming empathic, kind, Jesus loving humans. We all have our Advents of sorts, ways in which the Divine molds us, refines us and all the while reminds us that we are not alone.

In the throes of details, transitions and meeting basic needs, I need these “God rhythms” to remind me of my true purpose, whose I am and what time I follow. My prayer this Advent is that I can sit still in the waiting, in the longing, while at the same time embracing the hope that Christ’s birth and promise gives me.

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LeAnn Gardner is a right brained social worker and minister married to a left brained engineer. Together they (sometimes) compose a full brain. They have two boys, ages 4 and 1.

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