Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Guarded Hearts

This weekend was a challenging one as we learned that the political instability in Kyrgyzstan could cause a slowdown or shutdown of adoptions there. You would think that after adopting internationally twice before I would be immune to this sort of thing. After all, international adoption is fraught with last minute changes, delays, frustrating hoop-jumping. But for some reason, this time it got to me a bit, and I found myself "losing it" at church this weekend. Perhaps it was exhaustion, or simply because this time we have known exactly which little person we are bringing home for months now versus the prior two times when we received our referral a mere few weeks before traveling. We already feel strongly connected to him, and the thought of not bringing him home is heartbreaking.

I am not typically a "weepy" woman, and thus was a little embarassed by this show of emotions. However, sometimes allowing our pain to show outwardly gives others the opportunity to share their love for you. I was blown away by the support and encouragement we received from our many friends. Everything from emails sent to us by young children who are dear to us, to special women calling who had the words to calm my spirit and help me see things realistically, to awkward hugs from teenaged boys who didn't have the words to convey their concern.  New virtual friends used their language talents to scrutinize online Russian news articles to pass on what they could learn about the situation. All of this combined to help reassure me that my feelings were normal and natural, and that there are many people who care about us, and this little boy who is a stranger halfway around the world.

It can be hard to allow others to see us as anything other than strong, capable and "perfect". Sometimes it seems easier to place bars across our heart to protect us from those whose motives are less pure, who desire to see us fall, who rejoice in our failings. We all have had relationships that have caused pain, and it would seem that after experiencing something like that we should hole up and guard our hearts from further disappointment. But what are we missing out on if we do that? Are we turning away the very people who can help us heal those broken hearts? Are we denying others the opportunity to place their arms around us and hold us close? How often do we find ourselves alone and struggling because we are afraid of being seen as weak?

We have some incredible friendships in our lives. The laughter and joy we share with them makes us feel safe and secure enough to bend those bars guarding our hearts and let our emotions escape...for we know that they are there to comfort us, to help us see things in a different light. We have friends who won't judge us if we are having a bad day, who don't expect us to be perfect or to only meet their needs. We have friends who help us daily as we walk through life doing the best we can, sometimes succeeding...sometimes failing.

I am so glad that my heart is not too well guarded. I am glad that I have the courage to occasionally let go, in spite of the embarrassment. I am glad that my heart remains open regardless of past hurts and personal insecurities. It is a risk to face possible rejection in the eye and stare it down. Hearts that are guarded may be better protected, that is true, and they may experience far less loss and sadness...but guaranteed they also miss out on much more joy and love.

And so, in spite of the risk of future pain, we continue boldly on, counting on God's goodness to carry us through. He has a plan, and it is far better than any we could create. He has made it clear that "T" is ours, and I have no doubt He will be faithful to that.


Tina said...

It's all going to be ok, I'm sure of it. You're going to bring T home. I'm very encouraged by today's news. Big hugs coming your way. Remember, sometimes it is a strength to express and show our tenderness.

LaJoy Family said...

Thanks Tina, I am choosing to keep positive and know in my heart that he will be home with us soon! Glad to be walking through this with some terrific people who are also thinking so positively :-)