Wednesday, December 23, 2015

You are my blinky strand.

The lights are untangled, tested and hung. The big reveal has taken place. The house looks cheery and bright. Then there you are. In the middle of a half mile of lights you appear. The lone, blinky strand. Through some scientific process I don’t claim to understand this strand appears to be like all the others until it has “warmed up” for a bit. 1,000 tiny lights provide a steady glow, framing the house is soft light… but your eyes can’t help but be drawn to the persistent staccato of one, blinky strand.

You, my child, you are my blinky strand.

Unexpected. Bold. Unique. Defiant. Charismatic. Improperly labeled.
Never one to blend in or back down.
You break up the monotony.  
You are just you. Being who you were created to be.
You frustrate and intrigue and inspire me.
You test the limits of human patience.

My life before seemed safe.

But now I’ve seen challenge and danger and sacrifice and abundance.  And there’s no going back.  While you were showing me who you really are, you have shown me who I really am.

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...
Hide it under a bushel? No!
I'm gonna let it shine!
Let it shine!
Let it shine!
Let it shine!"

Monday, December 21, 2015

I feel traumatized by your traumatized kids.

I see you there, foster parent friend.  Offering choices to a flailing child throwing a fit in a restaurant.  Becoming a human spatula to scrape a writhing toddler off the floor of Target.  Cheerily and consistently reminding your preteen that some words and gestures aren't encouraging or appropriate.  Beckoning a child to come out from behind the couch and interact with the guests at their birthday party.    

I see you.  Gritting your teeth, adjusting your tone and offering your thousandth do-over of the week.

And it pains me.  Deeply.  Because I've been there, and [honestly] I don't ever want to go back.  You and your people are a reminder of the valley of the shadow of death we've walked through to arrive at our current place.  Compared to where we've been, today feels like a walk. in. the. park.  

Take heart friend!  This too shall pass!... Or you will get used to it!

That may not be the kind of encouragement people cross-stitch on a pillow, but it's the truth.  If I seem a little flinchy around your difficult kids it's not because I'm judging you.  Or repulsed by their behavior.  It's because seeing you there... I am seeing myself.  Those old feelings of doubt and inadequacy are stirred up again.  Being around your traumatized kids makes me feel traumatized.  But it stirs up something new as well.  Gratefulness.  Maybe even a little pride.  You're a reminder of some impossible days, but you're also a reminder of how far we've come.  You make me want to run give my kids a high five, and a hug, and extra screen time!

Solidarity!  One day all "this" will be in your rearview mirror, friend.  So hug that lanky, tatted teenager tight.  Whisper desperate prayers over your little night-owl who is finally asleep.  And keep fighting the good fight.

"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."

Psalm 30:5