As usual God reaches out to us from unexpected places, and this morning I was touched unexpectedly by a "viral video" which literally had me in tears. It was what I needed, it expressed how I view myself as a parent to our children...all of them, those home and those not. My fears of the past week were allayed to some degree by those of you who have emailed me privately to offer words of encouragement and shared such great wisdom far beyond "It will be OK", you took your time even at 4:30 in the morning to write me, to hug me from afar. You wrote me from work this afternoon taking time from your busy schedule to reach out to me with all your experience and expertise. You have ongoing email and in person dialogues and said "we're with you" and God used each of you, whether you are Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Atheist or Agnostic, whether you know it or not, God used you to lift me up.
But this video, oh man, if you aren't in tears after watching it then your heart is hardened far more than it should be to be walking around on this earth as a human being. Please let me share it with you, then I will comment about it below. Here is the introduction I was emailed about it:
This is a True Story
A son says to his father: "Dad, would you be willingly to run a marathon with me?"
The father, despite his age and a heart disease, says "YES".
And they run that marathon, together.
The son asks: "Dad, can you run another marathon with me?" Again father says "YES".
They run another marathon, together.
One day the son asks his father: "Dad would please do the Iron Man with me?"
Now just in case you didn't know, "The Iron Man" is the toughest triathlon in existence; 2.4 mile swim, then 112 mile by bike, and finally another marathon 26.2 mile running, in one stroke.
Again father says "YES"
Maybe this doesn't 'touch' you yet... until you see this movie (watch with sound!):
With tears streaming, I "got it" in a new way, or perhaps on a deeper level. THIS is the kind of parent both Dominick and I want to be, the one who goes the distance and never gives up, the one who lovingly accepts their seemingly imperfect child because I see the imperfections in myself, the one who would do ANYTHING for my child to help them achieve their dreams.
Our job is not to "pick" the perfect children for our family, for in truth if we listen to God that is already handled. Our job is to parent them with all we have to offer, to carry them and push them and steer them, just as the Dad in this video did. There IS no perfect child, just as there is NO perfect parent.
If our daughters arrive with injured souls, as I am most certain they will for any abandoned child has received a devastating blow, we need to run the marathon with them. Our marathon will look much different than the "Iron Man", but it will feel just as exhausting.
It doesn't matter what another parent would do, how they would handle it, or what their outcome ultimately is. Our future and our children's future is not dictated by how successful anothers adoption was. Our futures are dictated by God and our willingness to do everything within our power to cross the finish line. And if for some unknown reason any of our children are unable to heal, then our job is to see to it that God's JOY does not leave this home...that our eye is always on The One who is the Giver of All.
Success is in the eye of the beholder, and our success just may not be measured the same way others measure it. That vision of success might end up having to be adjusted a bit, tweaked, and it just may be that coming to a level of acceptance will be a measure of success.
To anonymously quote an email I received today from someone who has walked this road already and with less than perfect circumstances:
Some think all it takes is love and in one way they are right. It is not love that makes everything all right for our children but it is love that makes us get or give them the help they need to help them heal – love that makes us get out of bed on those days we want to curl up in a ball and wish they would sleep they whole day thru – love that makes us love them even when we don’t like them – love that makes us put one foot in front of the other when we feel we don’t even have the strength to stand. So in one way – all it takes is love.
As we gear ourselves up to run the "Love Marathon" I will carry today with me for a long time, I will work hard to remind myself that one person's outcome doesn't dictate ours. I will remember Who is in charge even when the fear seeps in undesired.
Thank you all for helping me see things more clearly, thanks for not pointing out to me that I am borrowing trouble or imagining a poor outcome. The fears are not unfounded, they are real and serve their purpose of causing us to take this all very seriously. They can overwhelm if they are allowed to.
But here is what I need to remember:
If I have to push a figurative emotional wheelchair across the desert sands for hundreds of miles, I will do it without question.
For I am already their Mom.