This is a picture taken when Zosia was about a month old, and I have come to truly love it. Me, radiating unstoppable joy. Zosia, overwhelmed and wondering what the best path back into the womb might be.
To give some background, I was very excited to have a baby. I had spent months, years really, dreaming about it, wishing for it, praying for it. And then when it happened, I was so filled with joy at being a mother that nothing could change that. I would rock my little baby, go for a walk with my little baby, cook dinner with my little baby, and it was bliss.
When I was pregnant with Lily some well meaning friend made a comment to the effect of, "Well, I bet this next one is going to be really easy, given how hard Zosia was." I think I looked at her like she just landed from the moon. Hard? What on earth could she mean? There was nothing about the first months of Zosia's life that was not sheer joy itself. So what if my baby was easily overwhelmed? I absolutely adored rocking her and holding her and calming her. I think that I was so filled with excitement and joy that I didn't even notice that Zosia was what could be called a "hard" baby.
Well, one baby later, I have learned what an easy baby looks like, and I will admit, my little Zosia was more work than some others. Okay, those first weeks were downright hard. But she has blossomed into a delightful toddler, and, more importantly, those tricky weeks (months?) were filled to the brim with joy. It was unstoppable.
I look at this picture, I am left wondering, "How can I bring such joy to all those "hard" parts of my life?" The difficult relationships, the petty quarrels that can break out, the moments of weariness or sadness or tension. Because there are certainly moments when I toss up my hands and think, "How can this be done?"
And it's usually in such moments when I remember this passage-- and not only does it explain those early weeks of motherhood, but it teaches me exactly where to turn whenever things get tough. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22) Ah yes, the Spirit. Whose joy and love transforms even the most difficult situations. Come, Holy Spirit, and fill my heart.