December 12, 2014

In the beginning of my pregnancy with my first child I was still riding my motorcycle to work, taking afternoon trips to Western Maryland, and driving it to my obstetrician appointments. I kept going to the gym and trying to run on the treadmill, even though I seemed to be losing ground in my mile time. And I couldn’t understand why every day at 5 p.m. my body shut down and wherever I happened to be, I fell asleep. One morning in the obstetrician’s office with my helmet on her desk, my doctor informed me that she would drop me as a patient if I didn’t stop riding my motorcycle.

“But, I’m not off balance. I’m not even showing, yet,” I resisted.

“Look,” she told me, “You are carrying another life in you and I don’t care what you want to do, for the sake of that baby – hang up the boots!”

“Oh, okay,” I responded rather lamely. It began to dawn on me how stubbornly I was holding on to my old way of life and resenting every sign of the new reality that was overtaking me. Even though I was so excited to have a baby and become a mother, I wanted to deny the ways that I would have to change my life to make room for motherhood. I was threatening the way for incarnation.

Any time God plants a seed of change in our lives, we are given a new vocation that is not focused on ourselves, but rather on the seed that has been planted. We must take on a new way of life in order to watch over that seed, so that it might stretch up towards the sun and down towards the earth, break through the soil and bury deep roots; so that it might become a plant.  For the sake of new life we must give up our own life, grieve its passing, and discover a new identity in the service of the life we are bringing into being. This is the pathway for incarnation.

The Rev. Adrien Dawson is the rector of St. Mark’s on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, Pikesville.

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