Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What's Inside?

Relaxing is a dingdangdong lot harder to do than it should be. I mean really relaxing - your mind, your brain, your heart, your body, your psyche, your judgements, your demons. By definition, to relax is to make less tense, rigid, or firm; to diminish the force of; to bring relief from the effects of tension, anxiety, etc.; to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc. When was the last time you relaxed? I can't remember the last time I relaxed. Watching Dancing with the Stars does not count.

Everyone needs a person other than their spouse. That one person. The one who knows the look in your eyes is different when no one else does. The one who understands - even when they don't; who agrees with you - even when they don't; who hugs you - when they really want to hit you; who catches you when you fall. The one who thinks beyond you and ahead of you when you just can't do it. Do you watch Grey's Anatomy? Yeah, that. What Meredith and Christina are talking about when they say "you're my person." Everyone needs one of those. Do you have one? I don't think I have one, or I wouldn't feel as alone as I do so much of the time. 
Vegetables are good for your body, but so many people's bodies, for one reason or another, cannot tolerate so many different vegetables. Why is that? Why do things that are good for us sometimes hurt? And things that we need to stay away from seem so impossible to resist? Life this side of heaven makes so little sense much of the time, and I've about had enough of it. I often feel like a leaf blowing in the wind that could just as easily end up crushed in the sewer as pressed in a book somewhere by someone who saw it as beautiful and worth keeping forever. 

Each day is a new beginning - even when it feels like you're living out the movie Groundhog Day and nothing will ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever change. Like in that classic film (classic in our house, at least), subtle changes we make - small, seemingly imperceptible differences - can change the course of everything. At least this is what I am hoping.
All dogs do go to heaven. I believe that with all my heart - and do you know why? Because God has prepared a place for each of us in his kingdom, and I believe that for each of us that place will be our own utopia. And my eternal life will not be my own utopia without all of the dogs I have lost (and will lose) over my lifetime. My husband will be surrounded by Diet Coke and Twizzlers. 

Life is not like a box of chocolates at all. I'm sorry, Forrest - yer mama was wrong. Chocolates are rich and savory. Boxes of chocolate are special - not everyday or ordinary. You don't put "box of chocolates" on your grocery list. You receive them, most of the time, as a gift that was meant as some sort of gesture of love or admiration. This is a cynical view, for sure; but I've been worked over, so NO, life is not like a box of chocolates.   

Every day I wonder about, search for, and beg God to reveal what it was that he stashed within me that makes me worthy or capable of raising the precious people he put in my care. If I don't find it - and soon - it's going to be too late to tap into it to make this all turn out okay.

Doing things for others should be a selfless act. Every. Time. Did Jesus do things for others during his 33 years on earth and then go into the garden and cry to his father through prayer when no one did anything for him in return? The Bible never tells us of any such thing. He cried to his father about other things, but did he ever break down and just lose it out of sheer exhaustion? He was human, after all. He felt human pain, human emotions, human disappointment, human joy, human betrayal. Do you think he ever cried to his father that he was ready to join him NOW, and can we please just forget all of the rest of this sacrificial stuff I'm supposed to do to teach these people? Can't someone else teach them? I guess this is a conversation best filed away for when I see him face-to-face. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm Not Dead. Yet.

Check it out, people! I'm writing! Take note - this must be important.

Today is my nephew's 11th birthday. He is like many, many other boys his age. He plays in the backyard with stick-swords with his 9-year-old brother and 5-year-old sister and neighborhood friends. He loves being spoiled by Nana & Papa. He plays sports like his dad and brothers. He goes to public school and has to do homework. He complains about doing chores and bickers with his siblings. He swims like a fish in the backyard pool in their ho-hum midwestern suburban Ohio neighborhood. He has a cat.

Nothing out of the ordinary. Right?

Not so fast on the judgement there, friend.
This is Marco.

This is where Marco would have grown up, had his birth mother not had the courage to let him go so he could have a better life than she could give him. 

My sister and her husband already had the "nuclear" American family going on with two children - one boy, one girl. Why mess with that?

But they heard and answered God's call to adopt from Guatemala.

I'll never forget the day she told me on the phone that they were considering this. It was such a significant moment that I remember exactly where I was. 

My reply was tears. But I don't think she knew that - because we were on the phone, and tears rolling down your cheek make little noise.

Perhaps her heart heard them anyway. Sisters are like that.

This was Marco
when Mark & Aimee met him in Guatemala
for the first time.

As I have already pointed out,
he came home to a typical American family. 

He does silly things
with his siblings.

He loves Halloween.
He's a typical American kid whose life just happens to be the result of God's hands guiding two families toward one another from thousands of miles apart.

Two different worlds, two opposite cultures.

One Big God.


But there was much more at work here than that. God often works like that, doesn't he? 

That sly deity.

Clearly from the photos above, you can see that Marco isn't the youngest of the Davis clan. There were two more children waiting to be conceived and born into our family half a world away.

Listening and responding to God asking them to live out their faith and take a blind leap led to this beautiful family:

Mark, Marco, Zack, Gus, Katie, Ana, and Aimee

and my sister's deep, abiding love for the people of Guatemala,

whom she has worked tirelessly for both there several times a year as well as from here - as (among other capacities) an adoption coordinator bringing other families together with their waiting children, and the coordinator of a group of families who have all adopted children from Guatemala so they can grow up with others from the same culture.

I love my sister and her heart and all she is.

I wanna be just like her

if I ever grow up.

Happy birthday, Marco!

See how God has already used you in a big, big way? I can't wait to see what the rest of your life holds!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And Here It Is.

I'm tired. I'm so tired I could weep and weep endlessly for days and days until there is no more weeping to be had. I don't even care if that doesn't make sense, which it doesn't. I feel like I could fill an ocean, drain it, and fill it again. Don't come undone, my environmentalist followers. The ocean is filled with salt water, which is similar to tears. Minus the fish. Let's stay focused, here.

But do you ever stop living long enough to wonder what your next thought will be? Do you ever float just far enough outside of yourself to see and hear what you are saying to the person next to you in a whole different context than the one your mind is creating the words in?

I am tired because I put too much pressure on myself to solve my boys' issues. (Hello, God, are you there? It's me, the person trying to inch you out of your position here at the company. Again.)

I am tired because I do not do well letting the pieces fall where they may.

I am tired because I have too many plans and not nearly enough . . . anything.

158 ideas + (-420 hours of time to accomplish personal goals)   x little confidence  = You probably oughta hang it up.
 the square root of ain't-ever-gonna-happen                                                                        

I am tired because I feel lost in the shuffle every day of my life.

I am tired because it is draining hearing about the stellar parenting accomplishments of people close to me (which is not their fault).

I am tired because the feeling of epic failure weighs more than the Aquanet bangs I had in high school.

I am tired because I virtually lose my mind daily trying to find and tap into whatever it is that God placed within me that holds the key to me being able to do anything I try effectively.

I am tired and I just want to sleep through it all.

But then I would miss the snuggles. And the hugs. And the laughter that is so deep it hurts. I would miss the joy I feel when I look at the hold God has on the hearts of all four of my men. I would miss the moments when my youngest son's blue eyes look so deeply into mine, that it feels like nothing could ever separate us. I would miss my middle son's caring touch and soft words of wisdom beyond his years when he sees that I'm not feeling quite right. I would miss seeing my oldest son grow more and more from the tiny boy I once held in my arms to the man God has in store for him to be.

I would miss every single, tiny moment that marrying my best friend continues to bring me after over 20 years.

These things - these beautiful, God-given moments in time - I am willing to endure the rest for.

Please remind me of this tomorrow. And every day after that until I die or snap so far from reality that it won't matter anyway.

Illustration by Ivan Bachev.