I haven’t written since Advent – waiting for Christmas.
It is now well past Lent – waiting for Easter. The silence of Good Friday. The unspeakable joy of resurrection.
We are fully into Ordinary Time* and, against all hopes and expectations, our waiting has ended.
The short of it is this, for those who have followed our adoption journey the last 3+ years:
On January 28 this year we were matched with expectant parents. When we drove out of town to meet them on February 1, the birthmother went into labor six weeks early and our son was born the following morning. To say we were in a bit of shock was a gracious understatement. After nearly three years of hoping, pleading, false starts, failed matches, and growing heartsickness – we stood in the lobby of a hospital, staring at each other and saying it outloud to make it real: “We have a son. We have a son. We have a son.”
He is four-ish months old now. The daily rhythms of life have changed and are changing. Though we are experiencing the typical family growing pains, the shock of it all happening so quickly has sort of worn off. (This is subject to change at any time. It’s been an incredibly difficult adoption journey and I am nowhere near being able to succinctly summarize.) We’re doing normalish things like attending to sleep rhythms and carving out time for creative play with our big girl and working family outings around everyone’s hunger and rest needs. Oh. And in these past four months, our big kid finished VPK and the mister took a new job and we are settling into (yet another) new home. Our third in five years. It’s a lot.
It is harder than I thought to write the story of hope fulfilled. I had grown so used to hope deferred. I was beginning to despair, wondering if we should simply make our peace with the process and close this chapter. I mentioned to a friend that, “Perhaps our story is going to be that of people who are called on to be faithful even when God says no to our dearest wish. We are going to need to learn to press through and take a faithful posture and we will learn to find God’s goodness and love even in His no.”
In essence, I was submitting this plan to God as His option. Have mercy and stop this agony or change my heart and let’s move on. These are your options.
I like to think I am a good student of the faith, a disciple of Jesus – but more often than not, I am arguing my point and submitting my best ideas and implicitly demanding a holy stamp of approval on them.
I think I am struggling to reconcile what I’ve learned and discovered about God my whole life, through experience and through the ancient Words, with what I’d determined to be tacit neglect on behalf of the Almighty. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. [ref]
I don’t know how to move from my heartsick waiting to joyful acceptance of the good gift of a child. I am living in the tension and surprise of life having rapidly changed. On many fronts. I am balancing (the best I can) the adjustment to two children, irregular sleep, the wondering at why our story went this way, and the deep satisfaction of mothering these tinies. And I think this is okay.
I am reflecting on what it means to live in that tension. Of hope deferred and hope fulfilled, of grief and joy, of silence and of groanings to deep for words. I’ve chosen and have been chosen for a narrow way [ref]. I will not live tension-free on this earth. I’m learning to make peace with the questions and wonderings that lead me to sometimes just whisper a desperate, “Help my unbelief…”
I have long said I believe I am “wintering” – and I don’t think it is over yet.
My words are hidden and I am keeping company with a wearisome silence.
It is deeply, deeply tempting for me to attempt to explain or justify my place of silence and hiddenness right now. I want people to not just hear what our family has been through in the past three unsettling years, but to understand and agree with the toll it has taken on my heart. Yet I am strongly compelled to remain silent. There is work to be done. There is soil to be tilled, roots to break up, ugly white grubs to pick out of the cucumber beds, a man to love and make a life with, and tiny humans to be present for.
Tonight I rocked a son to sleep – my son – my boy – in this house that doesn’t quite smell like us yet, in a room with boxes on the floor. His breathing matched mine and I felt him enter into that sweet slumber where his body finally relaxes. He stuck his whole face into my arm. He likes to be a gently squooshed.
I don’t know when I will really write again, but until the God and Father I know and belong to uncovers the words, I’m going to wait in this tension and in this transition. I will keep hanging pictures on the walls and walking barefoot across backyard stepping stones and reading books to children and reheating my coffee and pray-whispering thanks and help.
*If you’re unfamiliar with the liturgical church calendar, you can learn more about Ordinary Time here.