This post, y’all. Written by Lisha Epperson, this invitation to be “stewards of beauty” is just exactly the heart of #wholemama. Thank you for sharing your vision with us, Lisha!
“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” ― Edgar Allan Poe
My first daughter made me feel beautiful. She’d come into my life a delightful surprise, when I wasn’t looking or asking – like the baby on the doorstep in those cheesy adoption stories – all of a sudden she was there. And she healed me. She made everything about my unlucky infertile heart feel like a winner. She was my poetic justice after so many years of longing. I got a baby and I didn’t even try.
She’s also the child whose arrival shelved my creative heart. The me that lived on beautiful things, had no time for beauty.
I got lost in the beauty of the baby and all that is miraculous about raising tiny humans but forgot, for a moment, the girl. The girl who dances, or sings or sews. The girl who finds herself, loses herself in the beauty of passionate, creative effort.
I believed the lie that told me having more than one child left absolutely no room or time for beauty.
When the fog lifted from my dream of motherhood I wanted to write and dance and read and felt guilty about it. If you’ve fought for motherhood you don’t feel entitled to complain about it or take a break from it. You think your days of being around anything beautiful is over. The only beauty you’re qualified for is the kind that includes your baby – so baby at the museum, baby at the park, baby at the zoo.
Art-house postcards, a few gerber daisies, a song or poem – I called beauty forth to push my imagination past the horizon of my days of mothering. To be clear, I don’t discount my early motherhood years as a time of beauty. Becoming more of myself in motherhood was a beautiful I’d not known. It just wasn’t the only beauty. I needed more.
When my daughter turned two, I jumped at the chance to work with a liturgical dance company. I brought my littles in a stroller and welcomed the assistance of women who helped me mother in the studio. I was back to beautiful.
And then along came baby number 3, followed by the wonder of baby number 4. I danced when I could but heard myself saying, with increased frequency, “I can’t make it”. My dancing and mothering weren’t easily reconciled but I continued to do it. Inspired by a song I’d push the toys and furniture to the side and dance. That “audience of one” thing is real y’all.
Infertility forced me to see myself as a woman beyond the physicality of creating and carrying a baby. It tuned me in to the mother spirit and enlivened my dormant places. But there was more. My soul’s composition demanded expression through the beauty of art. Motherhood wasn’t the end of that. This was a time of yearning, unfolding and yielding. Giving in to the however of God unctioning.
This is my third awakening as a woman. After motherhood an other-worldly imagination found its rhythm in my soul and its unleashing borders on the divine. My craving for beauty is fueled by an insatiable longing for God. It’s how I see Him more clearly.
I find joy in stewarding the limitless supply of beauty around me. I am mother, now midwife to the unfolding of the souls I’ve been entrusted. I am a curator of beauty in my home. A custodian of whatsoever things are lovely. I stop my children to follow a red tailed hawk as it crests above a tall building. We talk and write about the beauty of the things we see or experience. We talk about what delights our senses. Music and dance are a treasured homecoming. I want them to stay connected to what moves them.
This is how I pour into the God reserved places of their souls – storing up beauty that can be carried with us through memory. It is an invitation to the depth of beauty in the landscape of real or imagined things. I call beauty forth with my mind, command it from the depths of the earth, from a drop of rain, an unwashed dish.
Today I dance and write. I also run. Beyond the immersion of my whole self to the sport, I enjoy exploring the city from the vantage point of a runner. I’ve run the length of a tunnel and crossed a hundred year old bridge – all while setting my mind and heart to music I love.
In my perfect world this pedagogy of beauty and nature are the bedrock of my existence. It makes me tender where I’m tough and calms me when I’m stressed. Beauty sustains my motherhood.
Hi! I’m Lisha Epperson, a hopeless romantic, lover of Jesus and most things antique. I love being a wife and mother of 5. I’m hooked on books (got the library fines to prove it) and all things ballet. I work out a life of faith with fear and trembling in New York City and blog about it all at lishaepperson.com.
Now it’s your turn! Our #WholeMama prompt word for the link-up this week is “Beauty.”
- Our Twitter party tonight is on the East Coast friendly time. 5:30 PDT/8:30 EDT. #wholemama
- Our Fuze call is right after the Twitter party, 6:00 PDT/9:00 EDT. Here’s the link. https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/55d39ae7/30171506
- This is my (Esther’s) last week of hosting, and the last week for Twitter parties and Fuze calls, but #wholemama is not over! Link ups and prompts will continue over at Erika Shirk’s place, Overflow. Thanks for a great summer, and I’ll see you over there!