Thursday, August 28, 2008
How does He do it??
You know, I share a lot of my feelings on this blog and many of you know me better than people who I interact with every day who think they know me and yet don't know much of what complete strangers know about me. It is something I never thought about when I began writing the blog, as it's purpose was to be a diary of sorts for the kids. I didn't pause for a moment when I wrote those first posts almost 2 years ago and opened up my heart to my children so they could understand what this roller coaster ride of adoption is all about from a perspective other than their own. As I write, I often picture any one of the three of them at 18 or 20 reading these words and hopefully walking away from it with a new revelation of just how treasured they are and having a better understanding of things that right now they are too young to even be aware of. I never saw the blog as an outreach to others and I remember when having 10 hits a day back in the beginning was kind of a kick. My intended audience was my kids and our moms, and honestly that was it.
Somewhere along the line things changed, and our "audience" became larger and more diverse than I ever could have imagined. By the time I started having 20,30, 40 and now 70+ readers a day my writing style was already firmly in place, and I realized it was going to take courage to really put myself out there to strangers, and that perhaps the best way to do that was to always keep in mind the purpose of the blog every time I sat down at the keyboard...that I had no reason in the world to hide myself or my feelings from my children. I am thankful that my husband has supported the blog 100%, and in fact says to others who we might meet that it touches him deeply, and the other day he said to someone "I know, it's my own life and I am living it and I STILL find myself in tears sometimes when I read what she wrote...".
Opening up our hearts to others is a risk, it is scary to be "real" and let others see our joy and our pain, our struggles and our anger. We can be judged, laughed at, criticized...and cared for. Sometimes we forget that part, that others can not nurture us and wrap their arms around us if they don't know there is a need to in the first place. How often do we miss out on the love of others because of our fear of intimacy? What friendships are not explored because we don't simply say "I really like you...can we be friends?" as we might have when we were young and those invisible barriers that keep us from others were not yet erected? What hugs have we missed out on because we were fearful of appearing "weak" to others and what opportunities have others missed to unburden themselves and grow because we did not "open the door" to certain conversations?
I thought long and hard before clicking "Publish Post" on my last blog entry because the last part of it, the part about feeling alone and not having "mommy peers" who really understand where we are at in our lives and can offer practical advice and encouragement...well, it sounded kind of whiny to me, too "poor me" and as if I thought I was "special" or something. But the fact is, that is where my mind was this past week, and it was my truth for the moment and it was a feeling that isolated me. I always figure that as weird as I am, if enough people read something there must be at least 1 person who has experienced the same thing...odds alone dictate that.
So I posted it and walked away realizing that my kids might one day find it interesting to read that they are not the only ones who feel alone sometimes. What I forgot is that I am NEVER really alone and neither will they ever be. God is always with us, and He works through each and every one of us to remind others that they are not alone. Yea, I know, we sit back and view ourselves from our own narrow and often negative perspective and see only our limitations, we forget that God working through us can accomplish extraordinary things...He can touch others lives...He can comfort others...He can work miracles.
He touched me this week through others. He used the email of a couple of different Kyrgyzstan adoptive mommies to tell me essentially "I feel that way too, we may have different lives in many ways but I see what you are saying and understand it and often feel I am living it as well." or "thanks for being honest and open, for not sugar coating it all.". He used birthday cards from a couple of different friends to say loudly and clearly "I love you, you are important in my life".
Then there was the clincher from someone I have "known" online in adoption circles for a very long time, someone who I know for a fact has walked a long road very much alone as it was a more unique path than most of us walk and not one many would choose for themselves. Peers? For her I am certain there are none. She had sent me an email a few days before I even posted my last blog entry saying she had a little package on its way to me and not much else about it. It arrived the day after my post and touched me to the core. As I opened it I felt Him saying "You are not alone."...well, if I am going to be honest here and let the rest of you think I am as crazy as I already am I heard it sung to me in the form of a song our choir sung on our Pastor's last day at church recently.
This mommy, the one with no peers herself due to her unique family situation, sent me a locket in the shape of a heart. In that locket, which she wore 15 years ago, she displayed the photos of her children for the 2+ years it took to finally bring them home. She was now gifting it to me to be worn while we wait. While she had hoped to bring me some comfort while we wait what seems an interminable amount of time, she was used by Him in this very moment for another purpose, and that was to remind me that NONE of us really has "peers", for each of our lives looks different than the person sitting next to us even if at first glance it appears they are living a life very similar to our own. We all approach life wearing rainbow glasses that are colored based upon our childhoods, our genetics, our experiences, our parenting, our environment...and it changes for each and every one of us how we would react to any given situation.
But I was also reminded that in other ways we are ALL peers to one another. We all feel sorrow, worry, pain, happiness, excitement. That is part of the Human Condition and not at all unique to any of us. We all have common threads that weave us together...it is the color and texture of the threads that is different.
I find myself always surprised at how He somehow reaches out to me each and every time I am low or in need of encouragement, how He reminds me that just because I can't see Him or hear Him in the way I see and here any one of you, He is still there offering comfort and He is more committed to me than anyone else ever will be. He may visit me in the voice of a stranger or the warmth of a loved one, He may hug me using someone elses arms but it is all from Him. I am so grateful that He has so often used others in our lives this past couple of years...and that others have listened to that little Voice and acted on what they felt moved to do.
So this morning on the way home from dropping the kids off at school, I realized I had a lot to be thankful for...I had a lot of wonderful people in my life both in "real" life and in my "virtual" life, and I have been given so much from all of you and have no real way to give back anything to you. I have my words here, which are often inane and meaningless. I have my care, which I can offer via personal emails and phone calls but often feel less than helpful. Sadly, I am not Oprah and don't have a new car for you, or a new house, or a million dollars.
But I have my gratitude I can offer you. Thank you for keeping me going, thanks for lifting me up, thanks for sharing your own experiences with me so often via emails, thanks for sending me cards and encouragement. Thanks for being my virtual "peers" even if our lives DO look different from the outside. My gift to you all is the video embedded in this post below. It is on You Tube and is from a song that had me in tears this morning as I heard it once again and realized THIS is what it is all about...what you and I are doing IS important, it IS hard, it IS not often recognized as such...but being a mommy or a mentor to a mommy or simply someone who cares IS enough.
Steven Curtis Chapman so vividly and breathtakingly captured what it's all about in his song "One Heartbeat At a Time". So as you go about your day today picking up dirty socks off the floor, scraping oatmeal out of the bowls, nagging about brushing teeth and wiping away tears of frustration when the math homework makes no sense...when you are near tears yourself because your baby's heart is hurting and you don't know how to fix it, when you are the target of misplaced anger at birth moms, when you want to sit down on the floor and cry over the things you can't heal...or you think of the children you left behind who are STILL waiting to be in your arms and you can't stop the tears from falling no matter HOW hard you try and tell yourself that in time they will indeed be home...please think of this song. It is the only gift I can offer you to tell you how much I love and appreciate you all.