In one week, Peter Pan will be here. In one week, our lives will change forever.
I know that this sounds a touch on the dramatic side, but hosting is a lot like having a baby, and is a major change to our world. Everything will revolve around acclimating ourselves to this new life in our home. I know I will be more tired, more stretched, and more elated than I can possibly imagine.
But right now, that feels very far away. I don’t have the stressful feelings of a first-time host mother. I’m an old hand at all the details that come in this time of preparation. I know the things that are important to me in this process, and the ones I don’t bother to stress over. I’m diligently making the things I know matter—the stocking with his name at the top, his own Christmas ornament, his welcome sign—but it is being done at a calm, measured pace. I don’t have a lot of the butterflies I have experienced in the past.
I’ve wondered over the past few weeks if there is something wrong with me. Have my emotions gotten broken somehow? Burned out?
When I think of hosting Peter Pan, there is less of the vivid imaginings of what it will be like and thrilling at the thought of what might happen. Instead, it is preparing our hearts for loving him where he is. It is in scheming with Sprite about our days shopping and making treats from their country. It is in wrapping presents with Little Man. It is in finding the right colors to paint a teen boy’s room. It is in discussing holiday plans with friends and family.
There is simply the calm peace of preparation, the deep faith that comes with knowing we are walking forward into the thing we are meant to invest in. It’s not very exciting. It’s actually kind of boring.
This is different than it was with my other two host children.
But I think that perhaps this is the way of things. As faith grows, so does peace.
This is simply what I am meant to do. This is my world. And I know that the excitement will come. I know that I will not be able to help myself in loving this sweet lost boy, this dear one who so needs to be encircled with family.
I have started wondering if it is perhaps this quiet, peaceful place that is exactly what this new one needs.
In my first hosting, I had high expectations, and I was full of energy. I discovered that I needed it, hosting an extremely hyper Soccer Boy. And what resulted was a surprise: he was a catalyst not just for me, but others as well. Because I hosted him, eight other children have been hosted in our town, one of whom was adopted (so far), and we have also added a beautiful chaperone to our family-community. That active hosting led to more action.
In my second hosting, I simply wanted to invest in a teen girl. I wanted to connect. I discovered Sunshine’s deep desire to connect as well, and with that came a depth of love that surprised us both. She is marked on me, body and soul. My third hosting, a return trip for her, was a joyful reunion and a creation of the tribe of people that we call family. That investment became a building of a deep bond that cannot be severed by time or distance.
Getting ready for this hosting—this third child, this fourth adventure—has been a quiet affair. I am simply sliding into this adventure, moving forward contentedly. But it is in this calm that I have seen faithfulness and mercy rising up to meet me. In the stillness, there are deep rivers of blessing that have been washing over us already. Miraculous blessings.
I did not expect to host, but this Peter Pan snuck up on me quietly. The yes was a whisper in my heart. And then I watched it whisper into the hearts of my children as well. We all knew that this was what we were supposed to be doing.
But because of that, I was not prepared in any way for this adventure. And so others around me have given of their time and quietly served me. My friend Ben gave up a day off of work to paint Peter Pan’s room. I found out another friend was previously a longboard skater and he and his wife were thrilled to do all the legwork to get Peter Pan his dream Christmas present. Little Man built bookshelves and Sprite helped me lug furniture around. Others have slipped me little bits of cash to “help with Peter Pan’s Christmas.”
Additionally, I did not have the financial means to host at all. But for whatever reason, I haven’t felt like large fundraisers and Facebook auctions were the right way to go this time. Instead, I simply wrote a letter to friends and family and asked for them to consider helping us. And quietly, checks trickled in. Many of them came from unexpected places. Our hosting fund was built—but not very quickly. Deadlines loomed, until one very special couple contacted me. I have never met these wonderful friends in person—our relationship was built over technology, and we bonded through the most unusual of events. I marvel at how a hilariously awkward technology blunder was the conduit into a richly rewarding friendship. And I never could have predicted that it would lead to such a generous miracle in my life. With only days left until I had to pay a substantial chunk of fees, they quietly deposited the funds to cover everything left that I owed.
It fills me to overflowing, watching these simple, miraculous moments over the past few months.
And as I prepare, the quietness continues. I made plans with my family for the holidays, and simplicity is clearly the theme. I sat down with my best friend Jocelyn to discuss our annual holiday get-together. Usually we stay at their house for a few days and let crazy children run wild with joy. She called and said, “I’ve been thinking about it, and I am so torn. I want to be with you and invest in Peter Pan… but I just feel like our usual Christmas craziness would be too much for him. It needs to be quieter, simpler. What can we do??”
Oh, how I love that woman. And I love the way the One who loves us both syncs our two hearts in such a manner.
So perhaps nothing is broken in me. Maybe this quiet peace is the best way to prepare for Peter Pan. I don’t know him yet. I don’t know what will be the thing he needs from me the most. I don’t know what he brings to this family, and what our future will be.
But there is One who does and who works miracles in ways I don’t fully understand.
This is outside of my comfort zone, this stillness. I know that seems a little strange to say, but I am a passionate person, and this peaceful diligence that covers me feels odd on my skin. I never thought stepping out would mean pulling back.
But here we are, and I am ready. I am nervous here at the precipice of change. I hope that I am good enough, and strong enough, and wise enough, and engaged enough, and intuitive enough to do this.
And I swallow down the lump of fear and busy my hands in this quiet space and know that today, right here, that it is enough.