Six days from now, I know where I will be: Akron, Ohio….waiting impatiently for 10pm to come and a boy, unknown yet loved, to arrive. Seven days from this very moment, we will be stepping in to our house, welcoming Soccer Boy to his new home.
But it’s a temporary home. As excited as I am to have him come, I am already counting the hours I have him here like precious pearls, quickly slipping through my fingers and back to the depths from whence they came.
And after that…I don’t know. I don’t know a lot these days. I don’t know what the reality of all this planning and praying will look like. I don’t know if Soccer Boy will like us or feel at home here. I don’t know if we will like him. I don’t know which of our hours together will be joyful and which will send me to my knees in desperation. I don’t even know at this point if it’s a possibility to have Soccer Boy return. These may be the only hours we ever see him in all of our lives.
And as I think of these things, I ache. I ache for the pain that brought this boy to our home. I ache for the pain that brought me to this home. I ache for the pain my own Little Man endures away from this home. I ache that this home, for all of us, is just a temporary home. I ache with longing for the home that is permanent and that has no pain.
Living in this land of sorrows and hurts and maybes and disappointments is hard. We are all scarred here, our bodies broken, our souls bruised. We are living lives that we would never have chosen.
I know things, too.
I know that sometimes the paths that we never would have chosen lead us to rich joy, made all the sweeter by the bitter roots we had to eat along the way.
I know that God’s faithfulness and goodness and mercy are often most fully displayed through the paths of pain.
I know that it’s the things that I never would have chosen for myself that turn me into the person that I most want to be. Brave. Strong. Honest. Persevering. Confident. Empowered. Compassionate. Protective. Passionate. Vocal.
I know that there is a little heart in my home right now wrestling with these truths, and I know that I was perfectly made to teach them.
I know that there is another little heart coming who knows pain and may not have experienced unconditional love, and I know that this home was created to show him what that looks like.
I know that I didn’t choose this life. I know that I didn’t really even choose this adventure. I simply walked the path that was laid in front of me. But I was chosen. And I was kept, even if just for this.
I know that even in the darkest of moments, even as I have stared at death, I have been kept.
I know that sometimes being kept does not mean being kept from harm. But I am still kept.
I know I probably will never understand why. But I am still kept.
And I know that all of these things I know are true for these two little boys. They may not be kept with me. They may not be mine forever. They may not be kept from harm. But they will still be kept.
Chosen and kept.
And so us three, kept, will revel in our oasis together, feasting on the reprieve that this is. We know that the desert of pain presses in on all sides, but for this moment, we get to sweep it away. Its presence will remain, and surely return. But even so, we were chosen to be together for these precious hours.
And we will be kept during them.
And we will be kept when they end.
And we will be kept.
Chosen and kept.