July! The seventh month of 2022 is nearing its end. There are only 5 more One Little Word Updates left for Surrender. I can’t believe it. The monthly check-ins that Carolyn hosts keep me on track with this little endeavor of mine and I’m so thankful for her! Please be sure to visit her blog and the other One Little Worders this month.
Sparrow, Sparrow, What Did You Say?
A whole day without speaking,
rain, then sun, then rain again,
a few plants in the ground, newbie
leaves tucked in black soil, and I think
I’m good at this, this being alone
in the world, the watching of things
grow, this older me, the one in
comfortable shoes and no time
for dishes, the one who spent
an hour trying to figure out a bird
with a three-note descending call
is just a sparrow. What would I even
do with a kid here? Teach her
to plant, watch her like I do
the lettuce leaves, tenderly, place
her palms in the earth, part her
dark hair like planting a seed? Or
would I selfishly demand this day
back, a full untethered day trying
to figure out what bird was calling
to me and why.
–Poem found in The Carrying by Ada Limón
This poem has helped me practice surrendering this month. It’s been a hard one, no thanks to covid and quarantine. Being at home with three kids, one with special needs, is no joke. I glossed over the difficulties of it in my blog this month, but I feel like I can admit its challenges now that we’re past it and I’ve gained a bit of perspective on that time. I cried the first 3-4 days while we were sick and in quarantine. I cried with worry about infecting other people and over the frustration of how hard things were here at home. It was hard and I was an emotional mess.
But somehow a line from a poem that I read months ago kept bubbling back up. “…would I selfishly demand this day back?” kept tickling my brain. That one question brought me back to reality again and again. It allowed me to take a deep breath and dive back in. Over and over, because I needed a lot of resets.
I also thought about how Limón was writing about the inverse of what I was experiencing – this poetry collection is full of her struggles with infertility. Here is a woman who has been desperate for a baby and all that entails. It doesn’t diminish my own challenges, but helps reinforce a fuller picture.
Sometimes surrendering means imagining a world that’s the opposite of your own and recognizing your own extraordinary challenges as gifts.*
Friends – our next chat about our words will happen at the end of August! Summer will be in its final stages and we’ll be heading into fall. I am so ready for the change in the season but not the end of another year. I still have a lot of surrendering to do!
*But of course – her opening line of “A whole day without speaking” sounds heavenly.