My husband is driving back from a day with Thich Nhat Hahn (Tic- not- hon) today. We’ve been big fans of his teaching on peace and mindfulness for years. In honor of his trip, I thought I’d share my favorite Thich Nhat Hahn quote with you all.
I came upon it during a long and restless plane ride to Greece during which I was listening to No Fear No Death on tape to keep me calm(er). We had been going through a particularly difficult time coming to terms with our probable infertility and were trying to figure out where to go from there. Should we adopt? Do invitro? Give up on parenthood all together? It was in the midst of this grief and confusion that I heard Thich Nhat Hahn speak these words into my fearful ears:
I felt my soul shift inside of me up at 30,000 feet. I pretty much ran those words around my head for the next few hours while I, along with an elderly Greek man paced awake on that sleepy flight. If I’d been conversant in Greek or he in English, maybe I’d have told him about how I’d been working way too many hours at my job and was courting exhaustion. Maybe I’d have described to him our house which we rested in so little that we had never taken the time to fully settle in, much less thought about which room would be the nursery. Maybe he would have lent me his worry beads to roll in my hands as I came to the conclusion that the conditions in my life were barely right for me to survive, much less for me to support and sustain another human being.
On the flight back to the US from Greece, my husband and I began to talk of the moves we would make. We would make the move to pursue international adoption though we were not yet sure from where. I would make a move to another church job that was less stressful and demanding.
That move would lead to us to a new home. One where we marked out the nursery room the day we moved in.
It took a while for all the changes to play out, but eventually the condition of my life looked quite different. I had some free time, which was good because the road to adoption is long and busy. We made efforts to actually live in our home. And a couple of years after that plane ride our once stressed and sad life looked like this:
Yes, when life manifested for us it came as a combo deal. We were one of the 20% of couples that got pregnant after pursuing adoption. I will never know why we were so lucky to receive these two gifts in the beautiful manner that each came to us. And I’m sure the release of the block that prevented us from having children involved much more than changing jobs and setting up a nursery. The business of life coming is intricate and mysterious no matter how it happens. And God knows there were still a hundred changes we had to make in our lives in order to sustain two children under two years once they arrived in our home.
But I’ll never forget this quote by Thic Nhat Hahn, for I think in hearing it I understood for the first time that I would be a mother. I would just have to start the process of becoming one before my children actually arrived into my life.