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Reconsidering Life, by Allyson Smith

By Maralise Petersen

I have often wondered, when completely losing it with the kids, if I would be more patient and sympathetic had they been harder to get a hold of in the first place. Conceptually speaking, my husband and I could probably walk past each other in the hallway and I’d be pregnant. All but one of our five children took a grand total of one month to conceive. Number four appears to have hit the runway at T minus 5 days — I was already pregnant with her when we started “trying.” Even on the best of days, I tend to take them for granted. I tend to take life in general for granted. And I’m wondering, Do I really want to change that?

Recognizing life for what it is — a short-term engagement in frustration, joy, pain, boredom, love, exhilaration, fear ”“ is risky. The gloves come off, so to speak, and while the caresses are all the sweeter, the blows become brutal. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Reading through “When Life Begins,” I felt conception pain I had never before experienced, raw and concentrated. I felt confused and frustrated by questions I had never had to ask. But I found that I didn’t want to not feel it. By the end of the essay, I found myself completely exposed and vulnerable, but also emboldened, like I had crawled the Mojave. And if I could make it through the Mojave, maybe I can also make it through the afterschool frenzy today. And the broken bones tomorrow, and the destroyed heirlooms and snide remarks the next day. Once in a while, I’ll even head back out to the Mojave, and revisit Kerry Spencer’s essay, and remember why it is worth appreciating life.

About Maralise Petersen


4 thoughts on “Reconsidering Life, by Allyson Smith”

  1. A few years ago, I was a birth coach for a woman who was giving her baby up for adoption. The loss, the gain, the lessons, they were so deeply acute. They pierced me wholly, and it was months before I recovered from the enormous depth of feeling associated with that experience.

    The business of pregnancy, birth, infertility, adoption, surprise babies, hard fought babies etc. is so fraught with emotion all around. On every front, there are such deep seeded feelings.

    Thanks for the reminder to hold our own experiences deep within us and let them exist and breath in the framework of our emotions. Because no matter what experience we have personally had, we are all changed for it.

  2. "I felt confused and frustrated by questions I had never had to ask."

    I think that's why I read. To find answers to questions that I might never ask.

    Thanks Kerry and Allyson.

  3. It's beautiful to learn from what others are willing to share, to change our world view or ask questions of our belief system, to increase our empathy and hopefully learn how to be more like Christ.

  4. It's so easy to get caught up in the moments of mayhem and maintenance, yet when we pause to truly reflect on the miracle of life, how can it not be a spiritual experience?

    Thanks for a reason to pause and reflect TODAY.


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