Everyone says that motherhood changes you. That you see things differently once you become a mom. You relate to your own parents differently. You understand things differently. That made sense to me; I expected motherhood to change my outlook. But I didn't expect it to change my brain chemistry -- or my sense of God.
That's the beginning of a new essay (interwoven with bits of poetry from Waiting to Unfold) which appeared this week in the Huffington Post. (It wound up in the Religion section; I wasn't sure whether it belonged in Religion or in Parents! Story of my current life, really.)
Here's another glimpse, from later in the piece:
Elizabeth Stone famously wrote that "Making the decision to have a child... is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." Not only because I wish I could protect my own child from sorrow and pain, but because I wish I could protect everyone's children. And I can't.
For a congregational rabbi, this sharp and impossible yearning seems at first blush not necessarily helpful. This doesn't help me hold it together when I'm preparing for a funeral -- or when I'm getting ready for Hebrew school. But in my first year of rabbinic school, when I learned hospital chaplaincy for nine months, one of my older colleagues told me that becoming a parent someday would be the greatest theological education I would ever know. I think this yearning is part of what he was talking about...
I hope you'll click through the read the whole thing: How Motherhood Gives Me A Glimpse of the Tender Heart of God.