Saturday, 5 October 2013


Peace is something I have to recognise in myself. It’s something I have to ‘sit into’. I have a small photo of my son sitting just above the computer screen on the top of the roll top desk that is now home for my writing.  I glanced up at it a moment ago and let my gaze rest upon it for a few seconds and realised that as I looked at it I felt a deep peace. How often do we take a moment to look at something and tap into what we are feeling? Momentary meditations like that can help you to get through some tough times and can make the good times richer and deeper. I guess not everyone likes rich and deep, but they are things I appreciate.

My baby son, wrapped in a hand me down bunny rug, snuggled under a fresh cotton quilt, nestled in a cradle hand built of Tasmanian Myrtle, has his left hand tucked over his left eye and the two smallest chubby fingers rest gently on the bridge of his nose, just at the edge of his eye socket. Whisps of dark hair lay close on his scalp. A perfect ear marks the place between his hair and the vest strap visible above a tiny hint of shoulder. Perfect lips, perfect nose, perfect eyes closed in gentle repose. This photo was taken only hours after he was born in our little wooden cottage in the Tasmanian ‘Far South’.

He was the second baby born in the cottage; a daughter had arrived first. The cradle was crafted in anticipation of her arrival by a dear friend. It was a precious gift and after it cradled two babes in our home it was passed on to rock other newborns in its wooden arms. I often wonder where it is now. Perhaps someone will read this and tell me. It would be interesting to follow its travels as I'm sure that by now it has provided a secure sleeping place for many new infants in the vicinity.

The decision to birth our babies at home was made after attending natural birthing classes, even before falling pregnant. We had noticed a midwife advertising in the local paper and thought it would be good preparation as we were planning to start a family soon. The classes were so interesting and informative and we became sold on the idea of having a baby at home. We did lots of reading and research and conferred with our chosen midwife to ensure that all would go as well as it could. We had the blessing of our local GP and so that was what we did. It made so much sense to us for a baby to born at home. I know it’s not for everyone, but for us it was right.

The photo brings back so many memories. Many visitors came that day, and a decision was made to move a bed from one room to another. My new babe lay in his cradle. Dad, a tall, good natured joker, was helping to move things around. He suddenly called out in a kind of shocked voice something like, “Oh, the baby’s in there…I nearly put all this lot on top of him!” I looked up from the chair I was resting in and Dad was holding a huge bundle of bedding. In my fragile state, still in recovery from birthing in the morning, I quickly took that statement and in my mind’s eye saw my baby son smothered beneath the weight and bulk of all those blankets and quilts. I became hysterical, crying in a terrible panic. It was awful. 

One of my visitors began praying in tongues and although at the time I was attending a Pentecostal Church and was accepting of that practice, it added further to my distress because my husband didn’t attend. I was calling for the praying to stop and Dad was upset because he hadn’t meant to upset me…and really nothing had happened. It was a crazy few minutes until someone managed to calm me down and I suspect now, though I can’t remember exactly, that someone put that beautiful baby in my arms to reassure me that he was alright. It is amazing how quickly our minds can take a thought and create chaos out of it. Poor Dad was the one most hurt by the whole scene. He felt terrible but also completely confused by my over the top reaction. Oh dear!

I’m happy to say that my beautiful son is now approaching his twenty-first birthday. He is taller than me by quite a way and sports an impressive head of dread locks! In the same way that I felt panic when he was so new and I thought about something happening to him…for many years I still worried for him. I still conjured scenarios in my head of things that could go wrong. He lives far from me now, in another state. I have learned to let go and to trust him. He’s a great young man and yes, he goes through trials and tribulations and probably a great many things I’m better off not knowing about! He is maturing and growing and finding a way to live life that suits him. It’s not up to me to be his protector now, although it is with a certain flood of peace and joy (relief?) each time I hear either of my children’s voices on the phone! It’s always great to know they are okay!

Peace is important to our well being. It’s important to my well being. I have learned to let go and trust because not to would make me sick. I’d like to be around for a long time yet. I’ll do what I can to stay well. Peace is part of that. Consciously feeling that peace is part of that too. It needs not to be a superficial peace, not just an ‘I’m okay’ peace. It needs to be the kind of peace that I can 'sit into' and know that everything is going to be okay. Every day. Whatever happens. Life happens. None of us can predict what will be in the days ahead. We can only live this day and enjoy those moments of peace when we find them. Seek them. Sit into them. Feel them. Appreciate what a blessing peace is. So many people have none. 

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