Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meditation on Turning Thirty

The mist is slipping over the mountains like silk this morning. When I awake to see it and I know I am thirty years old today.

Laying in bed, I listen to an elk call, a bugle that sounded at first like the ice cream truck. What is the ice cream man doing at 6am patrolling this forested neighborhood?

Then, I remember where I am, Thorp Mountain, nestled in Grouse Creek Park, Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The sound is the elk attracting its mate for the season. If you've never heard an elk call during their mating season (rut) listen here.The time of new life comes in the fall for the elk. (Picture at right is taken from our property in the Spring, but it gives you an accurate feel of the quiet stillness of the aspen forest)

I lay on my back for about 30 minutes and pray about the new life in me. “Jesus, let me feel the baby move this morning.” I’m at 16 weeks; I've heard the heart beat; I've passed the anxiety of wondering if the baby will survive. I feel the miracle of growth every time I look at my swelling tummy, the amazement that the little one (a little bigger than an avocado now) is still alive and well.

The quickening is supposed to begin around this time, but most new moms don’t feel the baby until the 18 or even the 20th week. Still, I wanted to try to feel the little fledgling in my Fincher tummy.

I lay there for a long time, feeling nothing, feeling discouraged and a little anxious. Then, I noticed a prickling feeling, sort of like a tiny baby was tap-dancing with cotton slippers on my belly.

At first I thought it was my heart beat, but then I slowly moved my fingers up to my neck to check my heart and it’s steady thump-thump was not the same as the tap dancer.

I held my breath to feel it again and there it was, like the baby was doing a light waltz across my stomach, so imperceptible. But clear enough that I now know what to feel for.

No wonder I’ve been waking up each morning at 6am, this is the baby’s doing. Dance time.

I’m enormously gratified that our baby likes to dance.

Thankful for this early morning birthday present, I climbed down the ladder to let the puppies out for breakfast. I heard four more elk bugle calls. Lucy ate all but the bottom most layer of her food and I have a letter from Grandma Taylor and a package from Mom upstairs waiting for me to celebrate my birthday--little jewels of surprise. But I want to savor them, so I eat a slow breakfast and work on my email.

Dale is still asleep and I'm glad I haven't woken him.

Last night he danced with me and sang an ode to my 29 years.He sang about the last decade. How we’ve lived in 4 different houses, graduated from two different schools, started a non-profit, wrote books, acquired five pets, traveled, got pregnant.

The thirties will be a decade of raising a child.What a difference and yet, I hope some things stay the same. I love my life.

In thankfulness for this morning and for my life so far, for the life within me in this child, around me in my husband, the three Ladies, Sprout the faithful mouser, I want to share a poem I read this morning. It expresses this morning's joy.

"For Your Birthday"
by John O'Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us

Blessed by the mind that dreamed the day
The blueprint of your life
Would begin to glow on earth,
Illuminating all the faces and voices
That would arrive to invite
Your soul to growth.

Praise be your father and mother
Who loved you before you were,
And trusted to call you here
With no idea who you would be.

Blessed be those who have loved you
Into becoming who you were meant to be,
Blessed be those you have crossed your life
With dark gifts of hurt and loss
That have helped to school your mind
In the art of disappointment.

When desolation surrounded you,
Blessed be those who looked for you
And found you, their kind hands
Urgent to open a blue window
In the gray wall formed around you.

Blessed be the gifts you never notice
Your health, eyes to behold the world,
Thoughts to countenance the unknown,
Memory to harvest vanished days,
Your heart to feel the world's waves,
Your breath to breathe the nourishment
Of distance made intimate by earth.

On this echoing--day of your birth,
May you open the gift of solitude
In order to receive your soul;
Enter the generosity of silence
To hear your hidden heart;
Know the serenity of stillness
To be enfolded anew
By the miracle of your being.
p. 51-52.


God knit me, he knits this child, he hold us all together.


ellyn said...

That was so very nice...Happy Birthday friend!
Enjoy your day...again I wish my day was less full and I could surprise you with a little of my time, when I get back we'll celebrate! I loved my 30's and I'm love'n my 40's life is good!

Ally said...

This is great Jonalyn. Happy birthday and I can't wait to meet your little dancer! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, you're such a wise old soul to only be 30 years old!
I'm with Ellyn, nothing but great things to look forward to! Enjoy!
Robin M

Paula said...

Happy Birthday, Jonalyn! That is a fantastic present. Love the poem as well.

Cara Nilsen said...

Happy Birthday, Jonalyn! The 30's are good! :)

Paul & Tina Marie said...

Happy birthday, dear friend! May the little one continue to wow you and Dale with those dancing steps :-)

Tito Tinajero said...

Happy B-day.
Here are some poems by one of my favorite poets as way of gift.

Variation On A Theme By Rilke

A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me--a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day's blow
rang out, metallic--or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.

On the Mystery of the Incarnation

It's when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind's shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
the Word.

Peace to you In Christ's Love

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!

Jonalyn Fincher said...

Thank you, dear friends!

Anonymous said...


Happy happy birthday and a big hug to you and Dale. I am overjoyed to learn of your pregnancy. What a wonderful way to celebrate 30! I am thrilled for both of you!


Christina said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Feeling a baby in my belly is something I miss to this day... enjoy!

I hope you and Dale are doing well... really enjoyed meeting you a few years ago when you stayed with us!

Blessings... Christina Branson

Stephanie said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy and happy birthday! What a wonderful way to spend a birthday morning.

madame said...

Belated happy birthday, Jonalyn,
And congratulations!
Feeling your baby for the first time is so exciting!

Take care. By the way, you're looking amazing!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Having read your posts about pregnancy and miscarriage I can definitely relate. I lost my first baby at 7.5 weeks. Less than a year later I was expecting again. I remember when I first felt him moving around -- I was 19 weeks exactly, and felt this tap-tapping. When I looked down at my stomach, there was this mass about the size of my hand, scooting across my belly! It was the coolest thing. And so reassuring. That little kicker is now 19 months old. It goes by so fast.

Candice said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy. I was just wondering about you and if you had decided to pursue parenthood or not. I also just turned 30 in August and it was a big number in my head as well. I have had three healthy pregnancies, but I always still felt a bit nervous. I don't think you "get over" that until the baby is safe and in your arms. you do however, have 98% chance of a live birth from here on out. :)