Love Talk...there is a lot of it on this blog, isn't there? I wonder how many times the word "Love" is used in all 504 blog posts since this blog was first created? At times it may get a bit sappy here at the LaJoy virtual home, but I'd much rather be "sappy" than "snappy" with one another!
This weekend though became a conflict of love versus hate. It may have been largely internal, but the battle was won through the external actions of others. I should have known...because always...always...
Late in the week I was hit with an anonymous nasty comment, one that hurt deeply and whose sting still subtly remains. It is not that I want to draw attention to it that I mention it here, but because it was such a profound learning experience for me and I want to share that with you all.
The timing of the comment couldn't have been worse, heading into the weekend when our very special "Family Celebration" was planned at church. It was a shower of sorts for Big Girls, and more importantly for us it was an opportunity to share our joy (after all these years of waiting!) with those closest to our hearts. But here I was, aching inside from accusations made that were so very hurtful and untrue, and I had to somehow get my head in the right place so that the event that had been so lovingly planned was not tainted.
It was hard. No matter how much we deny it or try to blow past it, when others say things that touch our most sensitive soul-places, it is a real challenge to not question the validity of those claims. If you are even slightly self-aware and decent, you tend to dwell on unkind words. It requires a strength, insight and maturity that I have not yet developed to ignore it and move on, but perhaps this weekend I came one step closer to gaining that maturity.
I am blessed with tremendous friendships, filled with honesty and forthrightness, love and warmth. It wasn't 30 minutes after the anonymous comment before a rebuttal had been posted and another person phoned me late in the evening to comfort me. God was present, and it helped. As the next couple of days wore on I had several emails of concern and reassurance, and a couple of in person heart-to-heart talks which helped as well. But still I was unable to truly let go of the hurt, I replayed things in my mind, I had long conversations with myself which were uncomfortable, at best.
Saturday morning I had to attend a ministry class prior to our Celebration, and had an hour long drive there and back to ruminate further. Leaving class in the early afternoon, I realized my heart just wasn't in this, that a wonderful gathering was going to be ruined for me but I would do my best to muddle through it somehow. I prayed asking God to be present for me when I couldn't manage it myself.
Moments later walking to my car, I gazed at my own rear window and saw a sticker that had been given to me a couple of weeks prior that I had placed there. It says two small words:
Suddenly, it was as if the scales fell from my eyes, my heart began to open and a totally new dialogue occurred on the long drive home. If I let this kind of anonymous, angry venom remain in my heart, I was allowing hate to win. If I carried this into our Celebration with me, I was inviting hate into the room with me, tarnishing all the love that was assembled there. I had searched my own heart, and felt that in all honesty here was no validity to the claims made. Those who actually know our family intimately had reassured me that anyone who knew us would never think such an awful thing. So why was I handing over a victory to hate? If I didn't invite God's love which was so evident to wash that vitriol away, then I was perpetuating the hate...I might as well be hateful myself.
Slowly, gradually, as I pondered this as the miles rolled on, I could literally feel the hate and pain brought on by it just melt away. There were people who we loved dearly ourselves waiting to celebrate with us! There were people who couldn't be present who I KNOW love us! There was love overflowing surrounding us, but even more importantly for this moment, our love for everyone present was so strong and I didn't want hate to touch them! So I had a decision to make...was hate going to win or was love going to win?
What an incredible Celebration it was!! Such care and thought had been put into the decor and we were blessed to have so many friends, young and old, in attendance. It was just beautiful in every possible way.
Matthew's Kazakhstan Study displayed for everyone to learn a little more, below it a banner in Russian and English which everyone signed which will be put up when the girls come home!! I love that "our family" is not limited to biology, but to connected hearts.
Kenny serving drinks, looking quite Central Asian! Joshie in his second generation Kazakh shirt!
One of the only pics you'll see on the blog of me for the next several years...I am not fond of having my photo taken but figured this was appropriate!
One of the most creative gifts we received was for our entire family...and was utterly perfect. Check it out!!!:
Isn't this totally cool? For those who don't read Russian it says "Team LaJoy" in both Russian and English! (Thanks Las Vegas for helping on this one!!) and there were shirts for everyone on Team LaJoy, including the girls! What fun it will be to wear these shirt when there are finally 7 of us :-)
And I could tell someone was getting in the girlie mood, embracing his inner "Daughter Daddy". I think he is one stop closer to finally understanding what bringing pinks and purples into his life would really mean:
Lots of love, lots of joy...and most importantly it was what God is all about...community. As I said after the slide show was presented, it would be impossible for us to have hung in there without you, both our virtual and "real life" friends and family. Our gratitude simply can not be expressed fully, it would be impossible to find the words.
And while others can find the words to spread hatred and anger, while they can spend precious time working hard to bring pain into the lives of others, thankfully they are outnumbered.
I was asked why I elected to leave the comment posted rather than removing it as I have every right to do. Sure, it would have spared me embarrassment...but it wouldn't have made it disappear in my heart. Sadly, words...once spoken...are like hand grenades, you can't really easily put the pin back in nor can you "unspeak" the words once they leave your lips, or as in this case once they leave your keyboard.
It was out of some misplaced sense of fairness that I left it up. There are times when I struggle with the ethics of what I do here, is it journalism? Is it family diary? Is it more for the public or more for private use as was originally intended? Is it ongoing dialogue with other adopting families? Unlike others who blog these days, 3 years ago when I started it I was clueless of how this all worked and was quite surprised when others found the blog and started following it faithfully. It was unexpected and had I known it I would have been far more likely to keep our personal information confidential. By the time it became apparent that this wasn't just for us to print out or for grandmas to follow while traveled to adopt Kenny, it was too late.
So keeping that in mind, is it fair to pull a comment simply because it doesn't place us in the kindest light? Is it honest to omit such things from view? My intent and my effort here has always been to be totally up front with the struggles of our lives, and to remain open so that others might learn from us...both from our successes and our mistakes. But does that mean that I have to allow us to be a target? I have also made it a personal policy to limit any comments which use foul language, which thankfully I have never had to deal with. But just because a comment doesn't contain 4 letter words, is it any less foul when it is voiced with such anger and contains no truth?
After a discussion with someone whose opinion means a lot to me, who is steeped in common sense and grace, I have decided that from this point forward, anyone who comments anonymously and is negative will have their post removed. If you don't have the courage to identify yourself and stand behind your statements, then I see no reason to feel a sense of responsibility to allow you a forum for your hatred. If that makes me "unfair" then fine, call me unfair. But hiding behind anonymity is cowardly and allows people to feel unfettered in their nastiness.
In the long run, the lessons I learned this weekend were invaluable, and contrary to what anonymous might think I take great pleasure in seeing that it served only to allow me to feel more closely connected to the Spirit of Love that surpasses all understanding. Because, the fact remains: