When I entered college I took my education seriously, throwing myself headlong into a search for the truth. I wanted to know what it meant, I wanted order, and I wanted answers. Jesus comforted me and the Jewish God pulled me because of the blood in my veins. I was more able to let my reason wrangle with some Eastern doctrines, but I was never able to believe. Nietzsche scared me and I searched St. Augustine’s confessions trying to find his gateway to enlightenment in the orchard so that I might follow. Shakespeare, Aristotle, Plato, Emerson, Heidegger, Chaucer and on and on. All beautiful all persuasive no answers. More questions.
So I traveled to see if the world itself held answers. What I saw was a world so vast and so beautiful so complex so full of suffering and so beyond me. I resolved to abandon a search for meaning and truth in favor of service in an effort to gain some control and attempt to help to alleviate what suffering I could. This led me back home and to law school. All jokes aside, I entered and graduated with the earnest desire to help and a belief that it was possible.
After a little over one year, toiling in the public sector of criminal justice, I became pregnant. I watched helplessly as battered women returned to their abusers. I read police report after police report detailing the sordid details of the day to day suffering and abuses of my fellow citizens. I saw poverty and education and addiction and circumstance after circumstance that led people to these painful points, sitting before a judge, in cop car, on the run. As my belly grew, so did my fear that I was not actually contributing what I had hoped. That my hands were tied by a vast web of facts and circumstances and cynicism crept in sooner than I would have expected.
Then I gave birth.
It all melted away into the eyes of my child and he became the world. Meaning or truth were nothing to what I felt and I no longer needed them. My fervor to help my fellow men and women drained into the duty of caring for this one human. My restlessness, searching, angst, all were gone and I now spend most my time in the sweet exhaustion of motherhood. I still care about the world and it’s occupants, and and philosophy still move me, but none of it matters when he laughs and cries and sleeps and eats. And when I feel the stir of new life inside my once again growing belly.
I know it isn’t very modern of me. I do love being a mother and am so surprised and quietly joyful that it has brought me so much peace. Happy Mother’s Day.