Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

The parts that don't show.

Such a pinterest life we lead these days, isn't it? Everything, even a stack of cereal boxes can be cropped and edited to look pretty. Sometimes I wonder if that's all we see, all we are willing to show - the parts that are favorable, while the messy background is left decidedly out. The portions of ourselves we crop and edit and exhibit, the pinterest worthy aspects of our lives. Those that cause others to say, "Wow." "Lovely." "I want that too."

Last weekend we had some wonderful friends visit. It was a blessing to have them here, a truly refreshing time. I was able to go over my speech with them for the Embracing Orphans Retreat (Coming up! In stunning Estes Park! Right around the corner!) and one of the questions they had after they heard it, was "Where are you now?" I understand why. It's because I address where I have been since our adoption process began - and that I am no longer all the way there. But I don't really express where I am now. Honestly, I didn't really want to share it. I'm aware of how everyone loves a happy ending, with the newly formed family riding off into the sunset together, hand in hand, offering everyone the opportunity to get the feeling that everything is as it should be. And, quite truthfully, I don't yet see the sunset. It is looming, just over the horizon, but I don't know when...or if it will come.

There have been highs, there have been lows, and both the ups and downs continue to show their face.

On Saturday at our last basketball game a woman came over to me and said, "I just want to tell you how much I've enjoyed watching you all this season. You have a beautiful family." Smiling politely, I thanked her for her kind words.

Inside, I felt like a fraud.

I know what she means, "You adopted those children. It was good of you."

If she only knew.

If she only knew the difficulty we experience, daily, weekly, hourly and yearly with our Meadow and Flint.

If she only knew the terrible awful, seemingly insurmountable black parts of my heart that have come to light and continue to emerge no matter how hard I try to subdue them.

If she only knew the effort I must exert - still - the work it sometimes requires to show appropriate expressions of love, fitting for a mother, toward these sweet children.

If she only knew the deep and bottomless pit of guilt that covers me like a blanket for not being able to meet their fundamental needs - their need for a mommy. Day in and day out. Night after night. For 3 solid years.

If only she knew the toll the strain has taken on me, on the other kids, on our family as a whole.

If she only knew that stress has entered my life like never before, that I regularly feel inundated by it and it has become a relentless companion.

If she only knew how often I feel that I have let them all down for not being better at this, that I should have somehow known myself better to realize the struggle that would ensue.

If she only knew I am not much of an adoption advocate.

That I am not the person she supposes me to be.

That I am not the person I once supposed myself to be.

That lack of attachment is painful.

That our scars, beginning with theirs that have intertwined with mine, run deep.

That we move forward, and we move back and I tend to grow terrifically weary of the dance, longing for ease and simplicity.

That through this process, I have been forever changed.

That hope is harder to hold.

That in tandem, as a reprieve from the tension is welcomed with one child, toil emerges with the other.

That I have let go of praying for a miracle asking instead for the ability to manage.

That I fear their wounds will not properly heal, that I won't be able to do what it takes to help them enough.

That my vision must continuously expand to reach beyond what I will see soon, to what I pray to see at any point in the future, to what I may only see in eternity.

That I pull myself up and keep moving ahead on this rocky and winding road we are traveling, though sometimes just barely.

That taking one step at a time is usually all I muster because looking ahead scares me.

If she only knew...she may have chosen to walk right on by without saying a word.

And that's the side that doesn't show when we are at basketball or at the library or out to eat and you see our beautiful family.

Some bits of our lives are truly exquisite, worthy of exhibit, begging to be showcased that we may appear lovely.

Others are not.

They are the parts we'd rather not show. Where we are tried, stripped, and refined.

Both are present, coexisting as one.

And amazingly enough, I believe they are equally worthwhile.


Emily said...

oh do you and i have some similar paths... having done 4 adoptions- i've had it all- the good, the bad,and the ugly... the ugly coming from me. i think in your speech it will be important to show that it is still in process... 3 years ago my daughter was a huge part of my testimony i gave- and back then i was still in the middle of it.. and 3 years later... i'm still in the middle of it (though hopefully edging a little further on) i too feel so much guilt for all the junk i've piled on her-- i often think- wow-- she'll have a great testimony someday about how awful her mom was! but thru all this ugliness, God has shown some HUGE truths about himself and about me. things i never would have learned.. wish i didn't learn them the hard way but i did. i am so looking forward to your talk-- there will plenty of amens and head nodding coming from me:)

Courtney said...

i'm so thankful for you and your honesty. (but keep praying for miracles!!! :-))

Holly said...

love your the way you articulate your rawness.

praying for your day today sister!

Dawn said...

Yep. I go to church on Sunday and have the same thing. I also feel like a fraud.

Erika said...

I don't know how I missed this post, but it's a good one. I'm thinking about cutting and pasting it into my own blog and just pretending I wrote it (time saver). Whenever I read things like this and see that many of us have the same struggle I'm left with so, so many questions. I'm so thankful that Jesus redeems us and can work a miracle out of anything, but wish things didn't have to be so hard.

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