On Wanting to Give Birth
Jennifer Angelina Petro
Your rippling cloak of ocean and sky
Flows from your arms and shoulders,
Your mantle of universe-blue
Barely contains your night colored hair,
Your tunic of woven white presses against
The roundness of your breasts, nipples clearly defined—
This is how I saw you when I was supposed to be staring at Jesus.
Oh, to be chosen, wanted, ravished by holy desire–filled with god’s seed–
To be able to lay my hands on the globe
Of my belly months later, and feel my child move–
To surrender to opening the mouth of my sex
And spilling my baby like dozens of roses and waves of song
Into the open air–to feel the utter relief and fulfillment
Of her being placed at my breast where the milk begins dripping with joy–
To have my baby suckle– to have my baby swaddled to me–
To know she came from me and through me–
To know I carried her—another human being—
In my womb—
Mary, Mother of All, tell me why
I will never know this blessing? Tell me why I know
I am your gender and yet will never bear a child?
Tell me why I will never nurse? Why I will never be earth
For the seed of a man to take root?
I know, sweet Mother, I am giving birth
To my true self–a little girl of radiant beauty–
I know–and I am beyond glad–I am in ecstasy–
And yet you know this, you understand–
I want to bear a child–I want to grow an ocean within me,
I want to feel my insides rearrange, making room for another,
I want my blood to bring sustenance to another,
I want to give birth and to nurse and to stare down
As life flows through me into the mouth of another–
And I never will. Please—
Mother of All–wrap me in your mantle scented with sky
And rock me in your arms of mercy until this aching
Dissolves, until this longing eases, until this grieving
Turns into yet another surrender of gratitude in being who I am
Right here, right now—and then kiss me–tell me again
How we are sisters of grace.
Grace is something we say at meals. We are saying grace, as in thank you, we praise you, be with us.
We say that dancers or athletes move with grace.
We say we are under God’s grace.
How can this one little word mean so much?
Grace is something we can pause for and say.
May we speak it with everything we do.
We can move in ways that are filled with grace. We can walk through life’s circumstances with grace.
Grace comes from the Latin and means “favor, esteem, regard, pleasing qualities, good will, and gratitude (Online EtymologyDictionary).”
When we pause to say grace, what are we really saying? Do we favor the food, the cook, the Divine, all of the above? Do we hold them all in high esteem? Are we speaking with kind regards and goodwill for their pleasing qualities? After all, I’m sure the food, the preparer, and of course, the Divine, all possess pleasing qualities. Are we speaking gratitude for the meal, the cook, the Divine, the fellowship? All of the above? And more? What are we saying when we pause to say grace?
How about when we move gracefully through our lives?
May we all figuratively and literally slow-down in such a way as to move with grace in our bodies and thoughts, and spirits. May we move with
the consciousness of beauty in body, mind, and spirit. May grace be in our thoughts and hearts; may it spread like the fragrance of honeysuckle into every heart and hand.
Compare the Latin roots with the Sanskrit roots for grace: grnati, which means “to sing, praise, and to announce (ibid).”
When we accept life with grace we are singing praises to the Creator. When we realize the need for change and move with grace towards achieving those changes, we are singing praises to the
Creator. When we move with beauty in mind, heart, and body, we are announcing we are part and parcel of the One Great Dance; that we are infused with the same blood as the One Great Dancer.
The Lithuanian roots for grace (giriu) mean “to praise and to celebrate
When we speak with grace, allowing beauty to be in our words, tone, timber, and intentions, we are praising each other, praising ourselves, praising the Divine Singer of All. When we esteem one another, assume the goodwill of one another, we are celebrating each other and the One Cosmic Partier.
When we move with grace we are celebrating ourselves, each other, the very ground we move upon, and yes, we are celebrating the One.
Is it true “there but for the grace of God go I?” Are we held in grace by the Divine in such a way that we only go because of that grace, because of the Divine? Are we woven into some sort of fabric of predestination in which we simply get to move the Creator’s intentions, beautiful though they may be?
Or do we have a say in how me move, where we move, and why we move? Do we get to pick the colors of the threads and the style of the stitch? Do we get to decide what we make of this intricate tapestry of breath and bone?
I believe we are graced with freedom; freedom to move how, where, and for our own purposes. The grace that propels us from the Divine to help us move in the world is God’s esteem for us, God’s favor for us, God’s goodwill and kind regards for us; it is the Divine singing praises through, and for, us; it is the Divine celebrating His/Her Life through, and with, us; it is the Divine celebrating you and me for simply being you and me. It is the Divine’s trust in us; the Divine’s faith in us.
I am a part of grace; you are a part of grace; we are all a part of grace; of the singing, the praise that the Creator announces through our simply being here—here and now. We live in gratitude for the Creator and the Creator lives in gratitude for us. It is proper and good, holy and wonderful to love what we create. How much more so the Divine for us?
May we all realize grace in our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls. May grace be in our thoughts, feelings, movements, and dreams. May grace flow with our breath. May we sing grace throughout the land; announce grace through whispers and shouts; proclaim grace in the touch of our hands; may we celebrate being alive by being grace made flesh; grace
manifested within us, through us, from us, for us, and for all things in heaven and on earth.
May the grace of the Divine be with us always—how else could it ever be?
All donations go to medical bills and groceries. <3