Yesterday, I had a visitor: my friend Megan. We met in college and were friends, but our friendship has grown more over the past several years through Facebook and our shared love of all things Steelers, NCIS, LL Cool J, and fantasy football. This year I know I’m taking the trophy in our league. I’m calling it now.
Megan lives about two hours from me with her husband and baby boy. Yesterday, she took time out of her busy life to drive a carload of things to me for our yard sale. She also had two bags of yarn for our knitting project.
What generosity. What love. I know she is probably hating this right now as she reads it…but it speaks so loudly when someone’s support becomes practical. Don’t get me wrong. I love having the prayers and encouragement of friends, and being in a supportive community is immeasurable. But Megan made herself uncomfortable in a practical way, both with her time and her finances, to support our efforts. I am so grateful.
But I think the best part was the visit.
Sharing our stories about the way adoption has touched our lives.
Discussing how it has taught us both things about the character of God we hadn’t seen before.
Relating together about how adoption—and hosting—is both a loss and a gain. How the joy cannot be separated from the pain. There cannot be an adoption, or a hosting, if there isn’t pain first. We live in a world that is broken, and hosting and adoption, in one way or another, comes out of redeeming that broken. There is joy in that, but still the sadness over the broken exists, too, concurrent in our hearts.
And there is pain in the process as well. We talked about home studies and clearances, risks we take, unknowns that we leap in faith toward, knowing that at the end, the child might not be there. But we leap anyway.
And how it is so true of our own adoption into the family of God.
I haven’t handled this separation from Soccer Boy the way I expected. I’ve been sad and I’ve disconnected a bit from those around me. Things they talk about don’t make a lot of sense to me most of the time. I sit at night with a little boy who struggles with tearful insomnia because there’s an empty bed and no more pillow fights or giggles. I hold him, and I hold back my tears thinking that somewhere there’s another sad little boy I am not holding, and my heart breaks a little more. And the world around me doesn’t much matter. And I don’t say the right thing, and I don’t respond the right way.
There is pain. I feel it. I fight it. And unfortunately, sometimes I speak it toward others.
I wish it was different. I wish I was different. I wish I was better. I wish I wasn’t so broken.
But if I wasn’t broken, I wouldn’t need to be healed. I wouldn’t need to be adopted. I wouldn’t need to know unconditional love.
Loving unconditionally means pain. It means that there will be times that I will hurt, and that I will hurt others. It means leaping in faith, not knowing. But leaping anyway. It means disappointment. It means loving anyway.
I don’t always do it well. I don’t always process pain the right way. But Someone already leapt for me, and He did it knowing. Knowing I would fall short. Knowing I would disappoint. Knowing I am broken. And still He leapt.
I didn’t deserve it. I don’t live up to it. And still He leapt.
So I will try to do the same. I will sit in my kitchen with my friend Megan and talk about our leaps of faith, our not knowing. But also about how we know that there is One who does.
And we will smile at one another as we freefall.