“Let’s pray together!” She says with a childish enthusiasm. It’s her birthday today. She turns 47. But there is a pleasant serenity about her. A youthfulness of heart and mind. A mother of four adolescents. A puzzle with such appealing kindness.
I did not anticipate these new exuberant friendships. A few years ago I felt surprisingly lonely back in the familiar. Returning to old contexts, it felt harder to break patterns of habit or thinking.
Three friends. Women. Moms. We start sharing two prayer reasons each. In the context of praying, our mind opens up wildly different, with vulnerability, as if the stage was set for attentive listening. Because kids and spouses would interrupt unknowingly, we went for a short prayer walk.
Up, towards the outskirts of an already empty village, barked by a few dogs, we reached the edge of it on foot. We each talked to God, our familiar conversationalist. Shoulder to shoulder, gazing up into the tall cloudy sky, the horizon with lone trees on green and brown rolling hills, I smiled with every fiber. I was present. And God was among us, in the spring breeze, in the light wrestling of new leafs.
We sat down on the warm ground, and listened.
And I paid close attention. Not rushing. Not trying too hard. Simply waiting with an open mind. And I gather what I heard in my heart, just like Mary did, listening to Gabriel. My faith rests solid on the One I know and love. As for the gifts I received, I accept them with light open hands. And I am encouraged and I am hopeful.
The odd thing is that I didn’t hear anything new and surprising. I tune in to God’s leaning in. But I have never experienced an out loud direct confirmation of things rooted in my heart.
When Conrad and I talked about adopting again, I didn’t walk into it with blind faith. I pondered and wondered.
Could this be a good thing for us three? Should it shake the balance too much, for too long, how would we manage?
I knew I didn’t see many puzzle pieces then, and I didn’t even know myself this deeply before adopting the first time. But for the first time I’m starting to see a purpose for adopting another. A daughter. The biological sister. And this particular fact weighs enough. But who will inevitably be very different. And yet we will find a balance together. In our loss and yarning. In abandonment and in the joy of being found. Then the extravagant love. Not ours, but our Heavenly Father’s love expressed during this vulnerable time through us. The joy and knowledge of belonging. The belief that our needs are valid and will be met with generosity and never ending patience. Steady and committed.
I personally am a body of contrasts, ambivalent in social interactions. An introvert who loves people. Who learned to compensate, to make up with healthy response from places where I was broken and empty.
I mourn my own losses as I become aware of them, then I charge myself with empathy for my girls who will mourn their abandonment, powerlessness and injustice. And as I realize that God filled to the brim and redeemed beyond my hopes and dreams my life, my purpose, my journey, I know He can and will redeem my daughters as well.