Leah Perrault: Being here and waiting for the heart of God

  • July 11, 2019

Being here is so much harder than it seems. 

Recently, I was home with the kids while my husband was with his family at a memorial celebration and a friend was being ordained. I was longing to be in all three places, trusting I was in the right one, and holding them all in my heart at once. 

I was practising being here, knowing in my head that here is always as good a place as any to hold people close and far away. And still, knowing this doesn’t make living it easy.

When I posted on social media about being here, a friend posted in response: Hearts are so, so much bigger than places. He is so right. My heart could sort through back packs and listen to competing stories over pizza, let an ordination livestream in the background and FaceTime with Dad. I felt connected to all the people and deeply satisfied with being here in one.

And still I am waiting. Our house is on the market and we are waiting hopefully for the right buyer. I’m working diligently on my part in some healing work. Summer has arrived and I am eager to see how it plays out this year, between work and kids. I feel unsettling in the here that is my life right now. It has taken me awhile to see that the waiting and the being here are connected.

For so much of my life, I have been able to chase what I want with effort, hard work and good luck. Learning has been easy for me. Accomplishing goals feeds my adrenalin. The opportunities afforded to me have been so much more than I ever could have imagined. All this has amounted to extraordinary privilege, and I am both grateful for these gifts and trying to extend them to others. At the very same time, it has left me profoundly unpractised at the kinds of living where doing is ineffective.

No amount of cleaning will bring a buyer. My efforts in journaling, counselling and meditation cannot force my heart to heal. Planning the summer to death will not ease my anxiety about how to be what my kids need. So much of God’s work for me in this season is being fully here, moment by moment. Four kids, a spouse and a full-time job should be more than enough to confirm for me that there will never be enough of me to do all the things that need to get done, but somehow I forget — multiple times a day.

The most important things in my life right now — and probably always — require me to wait with the heart of God. And I am completely fed up with God’s timing. As usual, my irritation is a sign of my misunderstanding. Where I long for a God who gets things done, I worship a God who loves being with me wherever I am. God is moving, to be sure, but mostly by being moved by love itself. 

Rather than manipulating the market, I feel God moving in the house, shifting our hearts and imaginations slowly. Instead of neatly wrapping up the issues as they present themselves, God seems to be settling into the cracks in my heart and making space there. Where I want a clear and perfect plan, I keep hearing laughter in the gaps. There is a Being holding all my failing efforts with gentleness.

God’s heart is so, so much bigger than the place(s) I am right now. No amount of doing will force resolution, but it makes me extraordinarily tired. Go figure. So I am practising being here, waiting with the heart of God. 

Right in the middle of the evening in three places, we spent 20 minutes at the spray park. My littlest is resisting walking, preferring an adorable and surprisingly fast butt scoot that had an elderly man across the park belly laughing on a park bench. As we left, my heart was filled with joy as Atticus waved goodbye to the man across the park. Being here is a complete miracle, actually.

(Perrault works in Catholic health care in Saskatoon and writes and speaks about faith. Her website is leahperrault.com)

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.