Saturday, October 20, 2007

Two Different Worlds

Yesterday on the way to school, from the back seat a question is asked of me...
"Momma, in winter, shower?". I wasn't quite getting it so I asked for clarification and Kenny rephrased it "In Kyrgyzstan no shower winter, too America, shower?".

What must it be like to go all winter and not be able to shower often because the water is not heated? We talked more about it and he said sometimes, but not often, they would shower, but mostly they would wash up quickly in the sink as best they could. I reassured him that we take a shower every day even in the winter, and that our water would be warm.

He then went on to offer this observation..

"Kyrgyzstan all so very, very America everything easy. Water, food, be warm, all easy."

Again, it is thrust in my face how much I take for granted, and just how much Kenny's life has changed. He has literally been dropped into the lap of luxury compared to his life pre-adoption. How often do all of us middle-classers complain about not having the best of everything, myself included? It is so easy to forget the mental images those of us who have traveled have stored in our memory banks of people walking with wagons trailing behind them with large containers so they can haul their water home. Homes with crude outhouses next to them, no conveniences like washers and dryers, warm running water anytime we want it, full cupboards and fridges. Multiple pairs of shoes have been appreciated by Kenny, 2 kinds of jackets, and snacks whenever he feels like it are all things that he takes pleasure in now.

But the thing that he needed most, and seems to outsiders to get the greatest pleasure in, is us...his family. We had his first IEP at school this week and while there was much to discuss that was practical and of course, less than perfect with his behavior, every staff person involved commented that he is such a genuinely happy little boy, and that he obviously loves his family very, very much.

I think that there are times when I forget he has only been in our lives 5 months, only had 5 months to adapt to this very new life he is experiencing. Perhaps the ease with which he joined us and the immediate comfort level we had with him has caused me to have unrealistic expectations at moments. It is easy to forget when he reverts to some of the grabbing and pushy behavior, and I casually think to myself "Stop that! We didn't raise you to act like that!"...and then OOOPS! I have to remind myself that we DIDN'T raise him! And then I am ashamed of myself for not having more common sense.

And then there are other moments when I am ashamed, as I read the comments from others regarding my last post and I see the wisdom in one comment that perhaps this time in my life when insecurity seems to be creeping in is God's way of letting me slip into Kenny's shoes for a bit, to help me have more compassion and understanding. I recognize that we all feel like we don't fit in at times, when we wonder if we are heading down the right path, setting the right example for our children, being the kind of wife and mother we should be...and yet still wondering if we ar fulfilling God's plan for our lives.

There are times lately, maybe because of our adoption experiences, when I honestly question if our staid and calm little life here is what we should be pursuing, or if God has a bigger plan for our family that we are electing not to follow. Does that make sense? Are we afraid of giving up the status quo to do something really valuable and serving to others for fear of what we would leave behind? What is in all of us that keeps our feet firmly planted in the life we have rather than trying to do be more... I see people throwing it all away to go do something big to help others and leading a life that is, for them, very rewarding. I think to myself "We could do that someday!" and yet I know we are likely never going to to do anything much different than what we are doing right now, trying to scramble and gain some measure of security for our future.

But then there are comments on the blog that help me to see that our scope of "service" to others doesn't always have to be so obviously self-sacrificing to be successful. I am very humbled to read that this blog has meant so much to others, that it has helped them to explore their own fears, and perhaps assuage a few along the way. I also draw strength from those who express their own feelings of insecurity, their lack of "togetherness" and their hearts desire to just do the best they can even if it doesn't live up to others' visions of who they should be. Thank you all for sharing with me, for making this blog more than a one way "blabfest".

I was standing at the kitchen sink this morning, putting a stew together and looking out the window at all 4 of my boys (Yes, Dominick included)as they worked outside getting ready to put our yard to sleep for the winter, and though the melancholy hasn't quite left me yet, there is always this sense of peace as I see my family working together, laughing together, helping one another accomplish a task...and watching my boys as they grow and learn to be more and more like their Daddy every day. I am grateful that each child in front of me has had the chance to be a part of a family, and I recognize with honest introspection that with God's help, we made that happen, and maybe that IS the Big Thing my life should be about.


Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy –

Here’s my thought for the day – you’ve probably heard this before:

‘Bloom where you’re planted”

Most of the time, I think our “mission field” is right where we are: to love our families and friends and neighbors and help where we can, and try to remember each morning to give the day to God (I often forget this last part!) I think if we’re called to something “dramatic” he will let us know very clearly, and equip us for the task ahead. From the outside, looking at what you’ve chosen to share recently through your blog, my impression is that you’ve given lots of service already. Who knows how three transformed lives will change the world in the future? Maybe God is just giving you a rest after your difficult years?

With love and blessings,


Julie & John Wright said...

Hi Cindy
I understand and have shared your comment "if God has a bigger plan for our family that we are electing not to follow" . I look around and I am surrounded by ordinary people that are doing the most extrordinary things...and here I am a "part timmer" There is so much more that I want to do
and yet feel the restraints. I have an "accountability partener" in the Mens group in our church, and he spoke into life..."Put your faith in Gods ability to Lead...Not your ability to follow".... Now where I am I can be content......or should I be selling everything and going rather then just remorgaging....ok, ok, maybe I have not totaly settled this yet

LaJoy Family said...

Peggy and John,

You are both right and I always respect very much what each of you has to each make me think! I think Peggy that I sometimes feel that my "mission field" being right under my nose means I am not giving enough of myself, as if it is too easy. But then I am reminded that sometimes it is exactly then...when it is right under our noses that things get overlooked. Funny too, because I know in practical terms that what we have done in building our families is His work as well, but it brings me so much happiness I tend not to see it that way! Maybe John, what I need to do is find ways like you have to blend something bigger into my ordinary daily life...maybe short mission trips or something when we get a couple more years under our belt with Kenny. I have even thought about moving into Foster Care a few times, but despite the need God seems to close doors on us with that path, and it doersn't feel like the route we are to travel. Who knows what the future holds? But having friends like you helps keep me focused on what is good and right, and gives me proper perspective when it is needed :-)

Anonymous said...

Usually our mission is something we love and that God has equipped us to do, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. It may be something He "lays on our heart " So I think that, for most of us, it is something that comes naturally. And as our lives change, he may equip us for something new. You have written eloquently about prayer and being opened to God's will in your life; I believe that attitude will bring you to wherever He wants you to be.

Have fun on your trip!