Thursday, June 28, 2012

Before, During, After, Beyond ~ Part 4 *Beyond*

For me, this is what it feels like Beyond the adoption of your child. 

If Before is sunrise,
 if During is noon,
if After is sunset,
then Beyond is dawn.





Beyond, for me, is a recounting.

Beyond is healing.
Beyond is calculating and coming up with leftovers when all is said and done.
Beyond is riches.
Beyond is gratidude.
Beyond is gathering.
Beyond is straightening.
Beyond is affirming.




Beyond shields your eyes from the glare to finally peer out.



Before there was anticipation and it was lovely.
During there was electricity and it was beautiful.
After there was restoration and it was sweet.
However.

Beyond there is awareness and it is breathtaking.

Adoption will split open your heart - whether foreign or domestic - 
and make you aware of things you simply cannot unlearn
even though life would be easier if you could.


Adopting "ONE" is not the only point of adopting
- and many adoptive parents I have known will agree.
All our babies are the "ONE" we were blessed enough to add to our own family tree 



and each is as special as 
a fingerprint
a zebra
a snowflake...



...Unique and Important and Enough.

But 
adding that "ONE" is not what Beyond is about anymore.

Adoption opens eyes.

Adoption reveals weaknesses.

It spreads awareness like ink spilling onto paper - indelible.

For a while, you think " well, good - everyone's really learning something here."

And all at once Jesus whispers again.
It's not a command this time to something big and courageous 
but rather a gentle rebuke, something small and personal.
He utters: "No, little girl. You. You needed to learn much here. 
This isn't so much about her needing you
but more about you needing her.
It's about more than her coming home.
It's about what's Beyond, too."





Today at roughly 15 months back home, Beyond has arrived and it is mercifully peaceful,
splendidly delicious,
and uncomfortably expectant.

Sometimes Beyond fades into

Again.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Before, During, After, Beyond: Part 3 *After*


For me, this is what it was like After the adoption of your child ~


If Before was a sprint,
and During was flight,
then After is fatigue.


After is when all of the emotion, 
all the tension,
all the pressure, anxiety, and
 energy spent Before and During melt into absolute
 exhaustion.


After is like running headlong for a cliff like Wile E. Coyote...


...and realizing abruptly the ground is no longer underneath you.


After is like stumbling off of a roller coaster
to find the world still spinning.

After is disorienting.

After is like gliding along a moving sidewalk
only to find you can't right yourself 
once your feet collide with carpet.

It's embarrassing.




After is confusing.
After is isolating.
After is conflicted because After
 means contentment like never before
now that this child is home! where she belongs
but After is also so solitary 
that you feel abandoned by those who were your cheerleaders.

After is a slow drifting back down to Earth
like a feather dropped from an airplane 50, 000 feet high.

After is adjustment.
After is modifying expectations.
After is sleep-deprived.
After is a steep learning curve.
After is a wink for people who are in their own Before
and a knowing smirk to those in their own During.

After is less interesting than Before,
less glamorous than During.

After is normal again for everyone watching
but really, really not normal for you.

After can feel tedious.

After can feel stagnant
as green swimming pool water.



After can be refueling as a side dish you forgot came with Thanksgiving dinner
and moments later
it can be depleting like a marathon on an empty stomach.

After means anger at others who judge while offering suggestions,
irritation at by-standers' lack of sympathy,
and annoyance at the general public often.

After is finding balance.
After means accepting assistance.
After means admitting.
After is looking around for that big, strong God who called you to obey in the first place
and finding Him still there, 
never having moved one inch away in your wanderings,
"singing over you with love"
 but not alleviating.




After is reckoning.
After is deeper understanding of salvation.
After is promises.
After is permanent.
After is not magic, not other-worldly,
but grafted and abiding.

Then imperceptibly...
After becomes comfortable.

After gets normal again.
Normalcy is a hard-fought, expensive victory but After brings normal again.

Normal feels good.

After is sweet.
After is desirable.

But...
 After is a funny thing and it evolves.
Normal wears into a rut. 
and begins to feel dull.
After's intricately woven shawl's weight starts to feel like chain mail.


After whispers that there is more.


It lies Beyond.




Monday, June 25, 2012

Before, During, After, Beyond: Part 2 *During*

For me, this is what it is like During the adoption of your child ~

During the adoption, things are electric.

During is a rush of blood like 
a never ending white water rafting trip,
waves which grow with foam endlessly breaking
 over the boat but always mercifully retreating.
During leaves you breathless.



During is fierce moments.

Way back Before things might have been clear -
the flames had certainly been stoking -
but During the adoption
 the fire ignites.



A fire naturally fascinates so During the adoption
 a crowd assembles:
 there are surveyors, 
there are spectators, 
and there are supporters.



The Voice which you heard booming in the night, 
which commanded you to "GO!"
keeps you connected to Him - to your Jesus,
your boots rooted to the original plan of obedience
by your evolving awareness of His sustaining grace.

During is a whirlwind.
During is a cotton candied
 cloud-filled bliss of weightlessness.
During is communion with God.




There is struggle.
There is passion, fervor, ardor. 
Before? Oh, Before was enthusiasm
but During there is devotion.
There is now connection where there was only concept.
There is now reality where there was only romanticism.

Before was magic but During 
 becomes supernatural.
During the adoption there is
 harmony,
a choir
melding seamlessly into a single tone.



Finally During the adoption there is unity
and you can grin at that shadow called Before.

Before was warmth --- but During is heat.
During is beauty.
During is revelation.
During is speed, immediacy, gratification.

 During is a realization of dreams.





But...

During splits your heart open and though you are distracted by glee
you glimpse it around the bend...

tomorrow is up ahead and it is not void.

During leads to what comes After.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Before, During, After, Beyond: Part 1 *Before*

For me, this is what it is like Before you adopt your child ~


Before you go
things are crystal.



Like a booming in the deepest night when the world is most silent anyway, 
you hear Jesus call you to get out of the boat and you know.

This cannot be ignored. 
This is It.

You. Must. Go.
You are going. 




"GO!", your heart screams at your brain.
"GO!", your brain screams at your legs.
"GO!" is all you hear, all you think, all you can focus on.
Just this:  Go.




Suddenly and daily now,
Scripture resonates with your soul.
Dawn breaks in your spirit.
Clarity settles like a fine mist.
Calm, determined, iron-fisted peace spreads through every tendon and every muscle and every place 
in your body
 till all your bones and all your joints and all your whole self
 is revved and throttled with energy. 



There are lists of books read.
There are blogs pored over. 
There are contacts hoarded.
There are plans laid.
There are steps completed. 
There are mountains climbed. 
There are walls scaled, bare-handed.
There are miracles at every turn, unmistakable.
There are prayers whispered intently like a mantra -like breathing- like your existence depends on it - 
at. all. times. 
Or so it seems. 
There are hesitations dismissed.
There are nay-sayers ignored.
There are moments when the face of God is so near, His presence so captivating and so intimate that you are in ecstasy.

You want everyone around to know this ecstasy - to join this adventure - to know breathless wonder of being caught up in magic.



There is so little magic in reality and you are watching magical things happen
 here-now-in real time!

Before is a time when the unknown 
means joyful fear.

Before is warmth.
Before crackles with excitement. 
Before sparkles with anticipation. 



Before is Revival.
Before is lovely.
But this Before is just the beginning of something
even 
more
spectacular.