When was the last time I spent an entire day at home with my daughter, Temma, just the two of us? It’s been awhile. And, thus, not much time writing either, beside sermons, e-devotions, and newsletter articles. I have returned to full-time pastor work after five years working part-time in the church. When I was with my good friend and beautiful writer-author Karen Halvorsen Schreck last evening, she asked me how my writing was going. When I told her I had not been writing she asked, “Do you miss it?” I answered yes. I said that I felt less…and here I paused for the best word…connected. That’s it. I feel less connected.
Temma is my muse, my connect-er. I need to spend time with her in order to slow down and invite myself back into her world in order to connect myself. Back some time during the first year of Temma’s life, when we were learning some of the extent of Tmma’s brain damage and I was unable to handle her reality and literally could not stand up straight, a friend suggested I see a kinesiologist she was seeing. It was new for me. I went with Temma to the appointment. As I remember it now, he tried to connect my body’s muscles and nerves with Temma’s by manipulating some of our movements as I held her in my arms.
He didn’t help me. He could probably see how trapped and caged I was in my view that I needed to sacrifice my own body to make Temma’s “right.” I think that I must have looked like the bent-over woman who entered the synagogue where Jesus was teaching. In my father’s house I often heard from him to “stand up straight” or “sit up straight.” Even before Temma I was hunched over. The doctor couldn’t make a difference in all of my entanglement of sad theology, physical impairments, and enmeshment with my baby. That small, tight cage needed to be dismantled bar by excruciating bar.
Today, when I spend some time with Temma I feel re-connected.