About Me

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Maine, United States
Happily married for 14 years- celebrating the reality that our children are home

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's the point?

I was watching the chaos outside the car but look what came into crisp focus.
Why is the first question most of us learned.  It was probably in our vocabularies from at least age 2.  It is VERY important to us to know why things are happening.  It always has been and always will be a big deal for me to figure out "why."  When I don't know the reason behind what is happening to me, I can become very unsettled.  We need to believe there IS a reason or it wrecks us.  Am I right?

It is not enough to believe "everything happens for a purpose", that every life lost had a purpose and everyone alive has a purpose.  We must find out what the purpose IS and attempt to fulfill it.  Or in the case of a lost life, what it was and seek to honor it.  Other wise...what is the point?  I suppose it is better to believe that everything has a purpose than to be hopeless and think everything is random and that nothing matters, but I want more than just that, don't you?

When going through a hard time, we have all had some one tell us, or have told ourselves; "everything happens for a reason."  Our heart responds "I know that.  I agree with that statement and believe it is true, BUT WHAT IS the reason?  Why does THIS have to be what is happening to me right now?"  So it is not that we don't believe the saying is true. 

We can endure most things if we understand why they are happening.  What about when we can't figure out the reason. Then we say "comforting" things like "what doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger" ok...? that's my reason?  that generic, "it's making me stronger" is the only bone I am thrown?   
Not good enough, I say.  My heart will not settle for that. 

Here's what I have found out.  If I really want to know my particular reason, I have to be willing to search it out and not skim along the surface of the pain.  I can't be squirming and clenching my fists the entire time and just endure it.  My heart can't be shouting "alright already just tell me what lesson I am supposed to be learning so I can get this pain over with!"  That, will get me nowhere.  [yes, that was the voice of experience talking] Most likely it will put me back in a loop until I've learned the aforementioned lesson.  Here's an interesting point though, [and this will really kill all you fellow nerds who just LOVE getting the right answer and doing well on the test] IT'S NOT about THE LESSON.  It's not something you can cross off your emotional or spiritual checklist and say "good for me I passed that test" that has never been the point.  If you are a pretty good test-taker and wish you could live life like you lived highschool, I'm sorry to burst your bubble.

Well, not that sorry.  The truth is we need to learn this together you and I.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

C'est la Vie

Princess Buttercup: "You mock my pain!"
Westley: "Life IS Pain, Highness."

When we expect otherwise is when we are disappointed.  There is something in us that was made to live in perfection and peace.  Our souls will long for that no matter what.  I believe that this was deliberately done to make us homesick for Heaven.
My difficulty is with this: How do we balance the truth that "life is pain" with living in hope? I have no desire to be around people who expect the worst and who live in fear, doubt and unbelief.  I certainly don't want to turn out to be one of them!  Don't get me wrong.  I live in HOPE.  That is what keeps me from crying all day on the couch with a blanket over my head, so to speak.

I want to live in the free air of the REAL.  Not deluding myself with happy thoughts that have no substance and not becoming hardened.  On this journey --in the very now-ness and unavoidability of this pain-- I am learning that I was given my emotions for a reason.  My heart is broken and it is okay to feel that, to cry it out [even if *gasp* someone sees me] or sit and dream of a bit of how it might have been different than it is.  In times like these, it is good to look OUTWARDs at my friend and see that their life is pain too.  I don't deserve a medal for mine, but I do deserve a friend who understands what pain is and how to survive it.  I am learning that if I choose to look out and not in, I have just that.

I might add the pain in creases when you allow yourself to truly love another person because if you care about them, their inevitable pain will affect you as well.
Thank you for shouldering so much of our pain along with us.  I am surprised that so many of you kept reading along with us even after the news wasn't "and now we're home look at all our baby shower gifts and happy happy times"
Maybe it is time to look OUTwards and share life with someone near you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Don't worry. He has malaria

Here is the email I got yesterday from the woman we stayed with:

The child has malaria and is going back to the clinic to morrow. (4 treatments total 1/day for 4 days)
I think it was the boy's grandmother that came this afternoon for the money to pay for the treatments (12000 ug/sh = $5). My daughter said that she brought Benny and he seemed O.K and was running a round. She said that he had malaria. Please do not worry

 No worries.  Okay.  Right.  Sure.  Exhale.  Remember your mantra >>> I cannot control or change this situation.  I never have been able to.  I will not be able to keep my children safe and healthy even when thy live in my house.  There is nothing I can do but pray...and cry.  Will you join me for one or both of those activities?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5:23 AM Phone Call: Sick Baby

If you are a parent, you have been woken up to a sick baby at all different times of the night.  I know that I am not unique in the fact that I was awakened by this kind of news...the unique part is that I was hearing it over the phone from thousands of miles away.  My guess is that most of the times you heard it by a cry down the hall or from the crib in your room or something similar. It was a hard morning yesterday when we got a call from our friend Elizabeth at 5:23 AM saying that Benny was sick with a very high fever and that he may even die.  Now understand as I am listening to this I am wading through the very thick accent and the bad phone connection and the sleepiness.  All I could say was the equivalent of "keep to the code" "remember the plan."  Before we left we left instructions that if the boys were sick to go straight to our host, Valerie.  She would pay any medical bills and we would settle with her upon our return.  In the end, before I left for work around 9:30 am EST he had been brought to the dr and treated for malaria.  There are 4 injections to be given over 4 days.  He hates injections...a lot!  Pray for peace for him and healing for his body.  And pray hard for peace for his momma's and daddy's hearts.  This song is speaking to my heart today.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jesus loves you but..

My friend has a T-shirt that says "Jesus loves you but I'm His favorite."  All deep theological thoughts aside about how Jesus may or may not have favorites, I keep circling back to this thought.  I may have been wearing that T-shirt in my heart.  Not in the sense that I actively thought about it, but it think the attitude was there. 
Presumption. Maybe you all are super humble and have never felt like this, but I am going to go out on a limb and say I can't be the only one.  In the privacy of reading this -- just between you and the screen -- can you admit that you may have felt like God owed you and that he let you down?  Thoughts like, "I have the inside track, Jesus and I are buddies, He owes this to me because I am doing a good thing etc."  Ok I know that looks horrible in black and white on the screen, but I can admit that I have felt that way.  Have you? 

I mean: Adopting is a good thing.  Rescuing people from poverty is a good thing.  Sacrificing financially to help others is a good thing.  Accepting people into your family who look nothing like you and raising them as your own is a good thing.  The Bible refers to God as the Defender of orphans.  We saw His hand directing us as things began to open up and connections were made and details started to come together.  So we pushed ahead and tried to make it work in April and May.  It didn't work.

God neither owes me a pat on the back, nor a favor nor an explanation.  I owe Him love, praise and devotion. period. 

they love music!
I started to learn this when I was in Uganda the 1st time, but suppose I had more to learn.  Doing good things and following God as best as you know how is not a guarantee that you'll be protected from hard things happening to you.  But sometimes I think that belief sneaks in with out us even being aware of it.  Why else would we be so disappointed when bad things happen or feel like such a martyr when we keep our faith through a trial?  Have you let this belief sneak in?  I can't be alone in this (I hope).  I'd love to hear your stories as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to Survive in the meantime: Step 2: keep living

My life has never been about my children.  Logic might say, why should now be any different?  I have only just discovered that I had them only to lose them again.  Logic might say, you were only together for such a short time out of you entire life without them.  To say I am sad doesn't touch what I am.  To say I miss them cheapens the depth of emotion I am experiencing.  Yet I have been going to work, doing laundry, watching movies with my husband, cheering on the Bruins.  How is it possible to go on with life?  How is not the question to ask.  There isn't really a "how to" you just do it.  Would it somehow be more honoring to the children to be a blubbering mess at all times of the day unable to accomplish anything worthwhile until I get back on the plane for Uganda?  NO.  Do I sometimes want to take that option.  YES.  Not that I'm against crying, sobbing and any other emotional outbursts.  They are just the thing to do when life is this hard.  However they are not the only thing to do.

Someone at work said she hadn't talked to me since I got back because she was imagining how she'd feel in my place and didn't want to make me too sad at work by bringing it up.  I thanked her for being so respectful of my feelings.  It made me feel like she really cared about me.   But I told her, it's ok I have my wall up and can talk about it a little.  We have to compartmentalize to function, don't we? 

I received more communication from Uganda saying "the boys are always crying for mummy."  Somewhere after the initial sadness at the thought of my boys crying for me and me not being able to comfort them, I felt relieved.  They are still crying for me.  I needed to know that.  If you can't be together the 2nd best thing is having the one you miss be missing you too.  Also I was told that Ebenezar had been sick with a cold last week but was getting better now.  These are hard things to hear.  Life is hard.  Not just for me, for everyone.  Thank you for reading along on this part of our journey.  Our burden is lighter with you all shouldering the weight along with us.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Your courage asked me what I'm afraid of

Bear with me.  This is kinda long.  I am starting to thaw and feel again.

God's Mercy Shop - need some?
I heard a Sara Groves song today called "I saw what I saw."  It is meaningful and speaks to our situation very well.  One line from it was "Your courage asked me what I'm afraid of and what I know of love."  Now I am not saying that we are super-courageous or better at loving than anyone else when saying the song speaks to our situation.  We are walking the path that was laid out for us.  This is our adventure to live out and no one else is supposed to be us. But when you see someone living bravely and doing something that you don't think you could handle [first of all don't be so sure they are "handling" it as easily as you perceive them to be] doesn't it beg the question above? 

this is much larger but a similar style home to where my boys are now

My boys are living courageously right now.  They don't have a Mommy or a Daddy and haven't as long as they can remember.  They had parents for a few weeks and we left them 10 days ago and they haven't seen us since.  They have a photo of the 4 of us all together and they are told that we'll be back but 2 years olds aren't very good at having a concept of time so I don't know what they understand.  The Ugandans live so differently than we do.  How much faith does it take to live my 1st world convenient way-more-stuff-than-you-need-to-survive-the-day life?
1. Fitting in well with a person's needs, activities, and plans.
2. Involving little trouble or effort
Ugandan convenience store: that's a bag of milk she's holding
Until recently my illusion of control was firmly in place and I didn't feel needy (yuck...I hated to even type that word) So my daily life didn't take much faith trust or dependence (another dirty word).  Need is ever-present and dependence is reality in Uganda but so are DEEP VIBRANT FAITH and STRONG SUPPORTIVE LOVE.  hummm... is it worth the trade off you may be asking yourself.  We would of course choose "no" which is why we have be be pushed against our will into situations like I am in now. 

Talking to your friends helps you process what happens in your life.  They give you insight and if they are good friends they encourage you to see your life in the best light and help you to move forward and see the purpose in things that just seem hard and confusing.

My friend, Dorothy, is one of those people for me.  We have know each other since freshman year of college and have done a lot of growing up into grown-ups together.  Her first born son was very sick before he was born and 7 years later he still is.  He was taken from her minutes after he was born for surgery and she didn't get to hold him for months after that.  She had to go home at night and leave him in the hospital and come back the next day.  I walked some of that road with her but couldn't feel the depth of it of course.  She has quite literally gone for years of her life without once sleeping through the night. 

Daniel, The Brave
She doesn't feel brave.  I know for a fact that neither does her son.  BUT HE IS!!  [they both are and her husband is too!]  Just living is harder work for him than it is for lots of other little kids.  "But he's doing so much better now and he didn't even have to be hospitalized this year during flu season" was a part of our recent conversation.  He lives so exuberantly and zestfully and he fearlessly tells 8th graders who pick on him at school just what they can do...[hee hee hee! GO Daniel!]

Being her friend helped me grow and gain perspective and be more thankful and compassionate and less judgmental etc.  I know she didn't go through that just for me.  However, I was able to benefit from it and I am thankful.  I hope it is not 7 years from now but I look forward to the day when she and I are having our "remember that hard time but now look how great things are" talk about my boys and our situation like we did about Daniel yesterday.  Faith tells me we WILL have that talk.  But in the meantime, what can we learn from what is going on?  How can it be at least useful besides in a what-doesn't-kill-you-makes-you-stronger kinda of way?  Dare I say "let's not waste this pain?"

Why is this happening to our family?  I mean our whole entire family...even the ones who don't spring to mind as CLOSE relatives or who aren't related by blood are experiencing this with us and we feel their love from Pennsylvania and California and Iowa and New York and everywhere else that they live.  They are carrying a little bit of this burden or a LOT of it depending on how close to the pain they are willing to come.  I have not asked that "why us" question--honestly--I just have done what was right here in front of me to do and completed that task and move methodically on the the next one.  Analysis, a favorite pastime of mine under normal circumstances, has not really been going on.  But Faith tells me that this is happening for a good reason and simple faith is all I have had lately.  Not faith PLUS anything else.  My inner dialogue has been just something simple like.  Is God good? yes all the time.  Does He love me?  yes that is His nature.  Are His plans for me good even when I am in this much pain?  yes they have to be because He cannot go against His own nature.  Ok then I am going to keep trusting and wait for the day when this makes more sense.  And that is really it.  But as my friend Dorothy pointed out.  That is enough.  Faith is enough right now.  Other seasons of my life may be for deep thoughts and hours of studying the big heavy truths but faith is enough for now.  *exhale*
bff's Dorothy & Rachel-holding Rueben (Dorothy's youngest)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

court date 4 months late

We received notice that we have a court date for August 23rd.  (the date we were originally given was April 29th -- of course that was a lie but that is the date that got us to head to Uganda and start our adventure) That is 3 full months away.  Not even gonna count the days.  If you have any good ideas for distracting oneself please pass them along.  Come over and start a 5,000 pc puzzle and then insist it get done b4 I go back...paint the foyer (which will involve renting scaffolding)...clean and organize the basement (yikes!!)...finish the basement into a playroom ("beautiful dreamer" is playing in the background)...catalog every photo in the giant box-o-photos from our entire 15yrs together and beyond...etc.  Any ideas?  pass them along!