Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Giving Birth to Our Dreams: Infertility

When I began this blog series on giving birth to our dreams, someone made a poignant comment, lamenting that she struggled with infertility as it pertains to dreams. She wondered why; why do some people brim with visions while she struggles to conceive.

This week I had breakfast with a friend. In the course of our conversation, she made a comment that lingered in my mind. This friend is in the process of giving birth to a new chapter in her life. One day, she wrote in her journal that she didn't feel allowed to dream because her dreams "might inconvenience her husband or harm her kids." I knew the fear and guilt she was describing.

It occurred to me that women who are married and have kids might struggle most with embracing the dreams in thier hearts for fear that they will follow them and forsake their families. I wonder if men/husbands/dads struggle with the same fear. (Men--by all means, speak up.)

So, perhaps one cause (though I suspect there are many) for infertility may stem from fear of how it will affect those closest to us--and that is certainly important to consider. As David and I muddle through this process of me starting Sustainable Faith Indy, I know it's been really important to involve him every step of the way; to make sure he feels heard and his concerns taken seriously. In turn, I am so grateful for his support and belief in me. He has been key to me conceiving and giving more ways than one.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Giving Birth to Our Dreams: What Is It??

So, here's a picture of our grandson Eli's first encounter with his brand new baby brother, Riley. I feel like the caption should read, "What is it?" Eli looked curiously, with a bit of apprehension and puzzlement, at his little brother. It was as though he couldn't decide if he was real, and if so, just what kind of "real" he was.

I have found myself looking with the same kind of puzzlement at this dream inside me. What is it--I've asked myself? Pages and pages of journal entries indicate that I have been just as confused and uncertain as little Eli was when first meeting Riley. (Of course, he has long gotten over that and adores his brother!)

When we meet our dreams face to face for the first time, we may not recognize them as real either. Often, they feel like romantic obsessions or idealistic visions. It helped when I saw something real that reminded me of my dream. That happened almost two years ago.

I enrolled in a seven month School of Spiritual Direction at Sustainable Faith in Cincinnati (SFC). When I arrived at SFC, located in an old convent in an urban area called Norwood, I was immediately enveloped by this wonderful, substantial structure and the way it felt. "Sacred"....I would say to others, as I tried to describe it. It felt like sacred, hallowed space. Each time I returned, I felt escorted into the peace and quiet of the convent and into stillness in the presence of God.

Over time, I began to realize that what I was experiencing at SFC was what I longed to help create....a "come away place," an urban retreat center in the heart of Indianapolis. So, now you know the "baby's" name. Sustainable Faith Indy is in-utero....and I am anxious to tell you more about it. SFC

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Giving Birth: The Quickening of a Dream

Over the years, I've had a number of people, mostly women, tell me that all they've ever dreamed of was becoming a parent. Their whole life they've looked forward to having kids of their own. I can remember our son when he was maybe seven or eight, and just as earnest as can be, tell me that he couldn't wait until he had a wife and kids. (Thankfully, he did wait until he was 23:) 

I bet I've heard that statement most from women who struggled to get pregnant. In their case, it seemed like a cruel form of torture to have such a deep longing for something that they were unable to affect on their own.

I don't know if giving birth to a dream is typically a life-long ambition. But I do know that it can form in you like an ache, poke at you in the pit of your stomach not unlike the desire to have a baby. I've had that sensation for three or four years now.

I can look back in my journals and see entries where I wrote about this "thing" welling up inside; this desire to do something, begin something, give birth to something. It would go away for a time and then there it would be again, asking for me to look at it, listen to it's cries, examine it to see what it was.

I would write about it as if a distant cousin I was trying to remember or know after a separation of years. I would try to name it but found that difficult. That is until I saw something that reminded me of it. It wasn't until I experienced what I yearned for that I was able to name the "baby" inside me.

So....I know I'm stringing you along. In fact, I'm going to postpone telling you the name of my dream until later. But I do wonder if you can relate; if you have a nagging, unrelenting desire to give birth to a something welling up inside you.

If you do, you might asked yourself, "What have I seen or experienced that reminds me of what it is I yearn to create?" I promise I will tell you the name of mine very soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Giving Birth

Giving birth. When you hear that expression, I am guessing what comes to mind is the birth of a baby. Same for me. This expression is especially meaningful because five days ago I witnessed the birth of a baby--our second grandchild, Riley Daniel. I will never forget that experience. Even now, I have a picture in my memory that surfaces--the incredible image of this tiny creature emerging, eeking out his first audible cries, covered in the stuff of birthing, beautiful--a miracle!

Giving birth is an appropriate and often used expression for other kinds of creative processes, as well. And today, that is the kind of birth I am thinking of too. I want to begin a series of blogs about the process of giving birth to dreams--those seeds of ideas, visions, imaginations that each of us are impregnated with and have the awesome task to deliver into this world.

I am in labor. I am not sure where I am in the birthing process. I suspect somewhere in the middle. A dream is about to crown (I hope) and sometimes the joy of anticipated birth is eclipsed by the fear and pain of giving birth.

In my next post, I will share with you the specifics of this "baby."So for now, let me ask you a question: where are you in the birthing process? Have you conceived a dream? Does it reside deep in the belly of your imagination, just beginning to take form? Or are you in the early stages of gestation, beginning to feel life? Are the labor pains intense? Are you about to give birth?

I invite you to journey with me as I cooperate (or not:) with the birth pangs and learn through the process of giving birth to God's dream planted within me.