Thursday, July 01, 2010

Little Nudges

It is very late, as often seems to be the case these days, when I find the opportunity and a clear enough mind to write anything coherent. Another phase of mild insomnia has settled in, hopefully to be banished soon or when my body caves from exhaustion. Crickets chirping just outside my window are a soft serenade which I wish would lull me to sleep, but it never seems to do anything but work as background music for late night musings.

In a couple of weeks I begin my last semester of lay ministry classes, in November I will be done with the academic work. A year and a half ago, with trembling hands and a conflicted heart I picked up the phone to enroll. A restless, uncomfortable churning had been working inside me at a soul level which I could not explain, and I found it disquieting and a bit amusing to even think of myself in such a role.

I still do.

Here I am, a semester away from completion and I have no firmer grasp on why I felt called to do this nor how it will be used, than I did that day a year and a half ago when I took that first step. I am struggling almost daily with seeing myself in new roles, searching to discover who I am these days, for who I was no longer remains, and who I am becoming is still unclear. I find myself quite boring at the moment (not that I have ever been all that charming or captivating in the past), and a new sort of restlessness exists. I am not at all unhappy, quite the opposite, but I am confused and trying my best to retain the essence of Cindy while being willing to open my arms to the new parts of me that are emerging.

A couple of comments left this week have served to nudge me, sort of like the sharp spurred heel of a cowboy boot planted firmly in the flank of an unwilling mare. I have spent 10+ years writing on the internet, nothing of any real consequence but responses to posts on Yahoo groups, private emails, and in the past 3 years a few hundred blog posts. I am not a writer, and I have never taken a writing class even in high school. I am a middle aged housewife and mom who tends to be a little opinionated, I guess, and have been willing to offer those opinions to others who I am certain 95% of the time wish I would just shut my mouth and mind my own business.

I have also received probably more than 100 comments over the years saying I should write a book. I don't see that at all, but it is a theme that has been repeated over and over so often that about 2 years ago I began to wonder if God was trying to talk to me and I was ignoring it because "I don't wanna!".

One morning, after a late night similar to this one that was spent trying to push aside thoughts of two then-little girls who were alone halfway around the world, I read yet another email with a similar comment. God and I had a long chat while I showered, which is where we usually talk the most, and I made a commitment. If I were indeed meant to write something more substantive than an email or a blog post, then I would do so after the girls came home and got settled in. It wasn't really a bargain, because I wasn't saying "If You do this, then I'll do this...", it was more of a delay tactic, or maybe me saying "I need to hear you more clearly on this one, as it seems quite preposterous to me, so if the girls actually make it home then I guess I'll know that is what you want."

There are a few problems with this though. One being that I am not a writer. Two is that whatever I would have to say would never sell and I am not an expert on anything. Three is I am not at all certain what our "story" really is or what it is that God wants me to share. Of course there are four, five and six following that but those are the biggies.

If truth be told, this whole topic feels very similar to the heel dragging I felt compelled to do when applying to the lay ministry program. That same discomfort is settling in around me, and the same questions of "What? Me? Are you kidding me?" are being asked. There is also the parallel factor of not knowing why I would be doing it if I were to begin, as it makes no sense to me for either ministry or writing something.

Interestingly, as I examine what it is I am feeling about all of this there is this common denominator tied to both topics. The word that comes to mind is not accurate but it is "arrogance". As in "What makes you think you would be good at ministry? You are totally not a 'minister' type!" or "You? Write something? Like you have anything to say of value! You ARE arrogant, aren't you?". It's not exactly well worded, but it is part of the inner dialogue going on right now.

In late night quiet contemplation, I wonder to myself, what really IS our story? It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that it is about adoption and the journey, but my gut says that is too obvious, and our collective lives have never been about what is on the surface. Is it about healing and wholeness? About soul journeys? About love without labels? Grace? Love conquering darkness? It all sounds so canned and formulaic when written even in this paragraph. I also see how the passing of time, even a mere 4 months home with the girls, lessens the emotional potency for me, and I have normalized the past 11 years of our lives because this is just how we do it, this IS normal for us and I sometimes forget it really isn't for everyone else.

There is also the excuse of lack of time. But one that I am not so ready to cop to is that I am not certain I even want to revisit some of the emotional heartache that came along with the joy. Some of it has been expressed here on the blog, but there were 7 years prior that were some of the most painful and difficult to articulate. Josh's RAD was a time of being in a very dark place of the soul, for all of us. The fear and doubts proceeding Matthew's adoption were also difficult.

There was, and once in awhile continues to be, so much alone-ness. Like at 2:00 am when you are worried about every move you make with your children and you realize that you have half as much time to parent them...and for them to forget all your mistakes.

Would some other parent find comfort in any words I might share? I wonder...

So, I guess I continue to listen for the Spirit's enlightenment in so many areas of my life. Seems I never know what I ought to be doing these days, but somehow the feet keep shuffling forward on faith, trusting that someday the pieces will fall into place and the big picture will be revealed.


Anonymous said...

I think certainly that your story has been and will continue to be well worth reading, Cindy. It speaks of all of those things you said, and more...of faith and grace, courage to take the plunge of loving someone in spite of the enourmous risks to the soul, adoption, special needs, overcoming, etc.

I encourage you to keep on writing, as you are too a writer. Plus, I believe that's what editors are for. I can see that it might not be the time to try to figure out how to get something either "polished" or published, as your family is still in the process of so many adjustments. But one day, your blog, emails, comments and more would certainly serve to encourage and enlighten others...not just with adoption but in many areas of life that require faith and perseverance, courage and creativity.

I know a few others who have or are considering turning their blogs into a published work. I think it's something for the back burner for sure, Cindy. I just wonder if now, while you're still processing all your own thoughts and emotions about all you've been through is the time. Later, as you look back and your children also have more words, experiences, maturity, and time to articulate their own insights, you might all "colaborate" or at least be able to include their side of the story.

Though I don't wish away time with our kids still left at home, I am often curious to know what their thoughts on all of their adjustments and struggles might be when they've matured and lived through it. Some things I venture, I would rather not have to know, as I'm so well aware of my mistakes and shortcomings. Having four grown children, I've already been privy to conversations suggesting I did my share of "messing up"! They're great adults though, in spite of me, and they also express the good things that occured in our home that they're very thankful for. I'm trying to replicate those things, though our "second wave" has a very different make up than the four older girls.

Keep writing, please Cindy. Until the day God helps solidify all your ideas and bring it all together in the form of something to be published in hard copy, you are blessing your family with a recoded history of their mother's heart and their adventures together. Print it off as you go, back up your computer, and just keep processing for the rest of us to benefit from reading your thoughts and insights.

I've never blogged, though have been scolded to do so by another adoptive mom of twelve, after my long emails and comments on other's blogs. But I've printed off my share of emails and thoughts during our five adoptions (years of waiting and dreaming, too). I want my kids to understand as much of my heart for them as is possible from reading my thoughts and prayers for them.

Your honesty in sharing your heart does indeed make you a writer, Cindy.

Nancy in the Midwest

Anonymous said...

"of any real consequence but responses to posts on Yahoo groups, private emails, and in the past 3 years a few hundred blog posts. I am not a writer, and I have never taken a writing class even in high school. I am a middle aged housewife and mom who tends to be a little opinionated, I guess, and have been willing to offer those opinions to others who I am certain 95% of the time wish I would just shut my mouth and mind my own business."

Few of those writing today have formal training in writing--sometimes it shows. Sometimes it is irrelevant. You may be an opinionated, middle-aged housewife, but you are also a wise and spiritual woman working your way through marriage, family, and adoption. You also know through your blog and personal contacts many other gifted people who have stories of their own to tell. You could be the voice of your own story and/or hundreds more. If 95%of the time we wish you were silent, we would not be reading your blog.
I don't watch soap operas. I read your blog. I don't watch reality TV. I read your blog. I get genuine, heart-touching life with wisdom and laughter and pathos. There are seven stars and a large supporting cast written by a woman with an innate gift for writing the heart of the story.
Keep writing. Keep listening. And quit expecting God to lay out the future for you. I have found that God refuses to do that for me and instead loves to surprise me with the divine sense of humor and divine support in the future.


Anonymous said...

Would some other parent find comfort in any words I might share? I wonder...

Yes, and so would those of us who love a good story and those of us who want to know how it was done and those of us who made mistakes (I've volunteered to confess to my adult children's therapists should they ever choose to have them) and those of us who just love wisdom when we hear it.

You don't have to write it all now. Many authors take decades to write their stories. You don't have to have an editor or market now. Marinate in the ideas now. Get cooking in your own time.

You go gal,

Susan Hougas said...

Hi Cindy,

I've been following your blog since about November. I have commented to many people that you are a beautiful writer. I always love reading your posts and would buy your book!


Anonymous said...

Don't worry about what the book might be about, just start and see where God takes you.

wilisons said...

I can assure you that your words hold value for others. I have read your blog for a long time and it has brought me comfort on many dark nights while helping bring my own child through her struggle with RAD. I fully understand the aloneness you refer to and know that your words were often the company I have needed to seek out when I am overwhelmed by that. So keep writing, consider that book, and know that you are an expert at mothering your children and raising some amazing kids!


Christina said...

I'd read your book... I know I'd be up way too late reading.. at least with the blog, I can only read it as you post it, so I only have the opportunity to stay up "so" late... in book form, I just know that I'd get so into it, that I'd read all night long....

You are real, share your emotions (both good and "bad"), and have lots of wisdom to share...

Plus, I just like you :)
So, a book now, or later... or "just" a blog... He will nudge your heart in the direction it shall go :)

Indiana Kaz mom said...

I agree with Nancy, sharing your heart makes you a good writer. I think maybe you have already written a book! Put all of your blogs into book form and you've got an excellent book on adopting older children and attachment.

Anonymous said...

Cindy, Have you tried the Good Will in Grand Junction? That is where I have been finding nice stuff that is appropriate and cheap. Everything is cleaned before sold and it is organized like a department store. You can find name brand clothing for pennies. Hope that helps!
Mary Morris
OES 5th grade teacher

Ohiomom2121 said...

Dear Cindy,
I agree with you that your job might not be just to share your adoption story, although that is certainly compelling to those of us on the older child adoption path. Are there enough of us to make such a book profitable, anyway? (Something a publisher will certainly want to know!). I think the gift you haven't shared fully on this blog is how you come to the God-following decisions you make. You tantalize us with your spiritual walk, but the details remain fuzzy, as you just talk about "we prayed and decided such-and-such." I see power in your process, and have an intense curiosity to know that process, even as along the way I have been, at times, quite critical of your decisions. (I was the one who suggested you adopt and potentially disrupt in America rather than leave them in an orphanage after the girls rejected you and I still would encourage a family to give children an opportunity to make such decisions after seeing the reality of family rather than while facing the unknown and in the company of adults pushing them toward false goals...SO glad this had a happy ending!). However, even in the midst of human and perhaps faulty decisions, your faithfulness and desire to be God-following could never be doubted, and the girls were able to see your beautiful spirit and to trust it, creating a path that I know you cherish as you are certain the girls know the decision to come to America was fully "theirs." Whether that decision was a misstep around which God had to work or was a God-approved decision necessary to complete your family is something I will never know. I do know that God was able to see His desires realized b/c you and Dominick were always trying to allow Him to lead you. And that is the power of your path.

It is quite well known that books about how to live a Christian path are gobbled up by readers, and I suspect you have a powerful message there, particularly because of your waffling and lack of certainty. You do not come across as egotistically sure of your path, and your anguish gives your message a genuineness that is powerful and compelling.

I also want to encourage you about your writing skill. I am an attorney and a reader. As a wordsmith myself, I am highly critical of bloggers, finding myself wishing I could edit their writing for errors! In your case, that urge is rarely triggered, and I love reading your words...that's in part why I do so daily! You draw connections and parables out of situations in fascinating ways, and tying up these fantastical wanderings with your plain-spoken brand of wisdom is just fabulous to follow.
I would agree that you probably will need to focus on your home schooling and other parenting tasks for the next couple of years, so maybe just working on snippets and goals would be a good way to start. Also, I have sensed that the anguish of last winter truly wounded your soul, and as you have finally seemed to find your footing again, I would urge you not to push yourself too hard, to give yourself time to fully heal and even have a low stress time of enjoying your family as you have done these past summer weeks. You put a lot of pressure on yourself during home school weeks, and any decision about your path should probably be made next fall when you are knee deep in teaching. If it still feels like "it's time!" then, then it probably is time. But if you feel exhausted and stressed then, well maybe you are meant to feel God's push but not to act too strenuously as you continue winding up for the swing that will be your writing debut (to use a baseball analogy).
You are a worthy author and like the others, I would certainly buy and recommend any book you wrote.
God bless,

Anonymous said...

Walmart had really cute girls plain polos for $4 in their uniform shop.

CariotaFamily said...

I haven't taken the time to read the other comments, but you may try searching for "land's end" on eBay. In many cases, clothes still have the tags (NWT=new with tags) for whatever reason. Some folks will buy several things on clearance and then try to resell at a slight profit. It's worth checking out!