Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

(This is the next piece of the back story. This week, I am going to be posting the blog from my current journal on Sunday morning instead of waiting until next Friday.)

June 15, 2012 Unpublished

This is what I wrote yesterday:

Today, I don't want to adopt, I don't want to blog, I don't want to be so transparent about my relationship to Jesus, which alters back and forth between the adulation of a young child and the ardent passion of a woman, and either way, is neither acceptable nor sophisticated in any way, shape or form.

The home study interview really had a deep impact on me. The interview brought me face to face with a woman and a life completely different from mine, with whom I had to share a lot of the brokenness of my life before being passed forward on the adoption journey. She had absolutely no platform from which to understand me. She wished not even to begin to understand what went into making me this person. Who would? Who would want to go through that?

But I must be me. I must bear the burden of my own history, personality and trajectory. I can't go back and make it not have happened.

I could completely re-invent myself, I suppose, if I truly wished. I could give up all this about being authentic and genuine, all this about one's scars making oneself stronger or more beautiful or more insightful.

I could do or say or attempt anything to placate my starving ego, which cannot stand standing alone before the grace of God, and wants something, anything to hide behind, to add value to myself, because I, myself, surely cannot be enough.

Let me be a mother, let me be an activist, let me be a writer, just give me a label, any label, for the love of God, don't make me stand here alone and without disguise, because that is unacceptable.

It is almost impossible for me to believe that my life holds inherent value. That's what I've been facing for the last few months. Religious certainty and motherhood are two incredibly powerful shields behind which feelings of worthlessness can hide.

The things I used to hide behind, the things I long to hide behind, keep getting taken away, or not given. I must see that I am loved, loved because of Who God is, and I must see how much I struggle to accept this.

June 20, 2012

Our computer is on the blink as of today. It had been randomly crashing from time to time, but this morning it crashed a total of five times and I'm now writing this on the lap top. This is not good. This is not the time for us to be buying a new computer.

Adoption is expensive. The home study alone has cost us over a thousand dollars. In the meantime, life never leaves us alone. It keeps needing money, too.

Especially now, because our current renters move out in August and our property manager told us that there could be damage to the roof because of hail storms, and that there is a crack in the wall in the downstairs bedroom and that the deck needs repainting.

So, on top of paying for advertisement to get the place rented, as well as carrying two mortgages until it does, we may have to pay the insurance deductible of a thousand for any repairs to the roof, as well as any repairs to the foundation, as well as the work to the deck. That is some serious money, right at the same time we are going into adoption.

Until we get the house issues straightened out and rented again, I think we'll have to postpone going active with our placement agency. In the meantime, the computer decided to cave.

I seriously wonder, sometimes, why we are doing all this. I wonder why it's so important that we parent. If we decided that wasn't important, we'd suddenly have a great deal of disposable income. We could buy all the latest gadgets and go on vacation.

We wouldn't have to open our lives to the scrutiny of strangers, in order to secure their approval of us as parents. We wouldn't have to wait for weeks and months, not knowing how many times we've been looked at and tossed aside, our faces one of thousands of hopeful couples that pop up on adoption websites. We wouldn't have to risk emotional devastation at the hospital, if and when an adoption fails.

It was to avoid all this that I wanted to pursue an international adoption. It's more expensive, it takes longer, but the process is more cut and dry. Domestic adoption is upfront and personal, complicated and uncertain.

I keep trying to tell myself that somewhere out there is a woman I do not know. I don't know how old she is, or if she has children already, or if she has family that supports her or none at all. I don't know what race she comes from, what culture, what background.

I keep thinking she must be fighting her own awful battles, as she is being moved along in a course she wouldn't have chosen for herself either. She had only a few choices and they are full of grief and hardship. Not one of them is free of pain. I keep trying to believe that our lives are on these two tracks that are bound to intersect at some point. If I don't keep moving forward, then I won't be there to meet her.

I don't know who my child will be, but thinking about this makes me feel fiercely protective of him or her. I know exactly what to say to my child. I know all about wounds; I know all about their costs and their gifts.

I guess that's why Keith and I keep slogging on through this. I just wish the computer could have held out for six more months.

Keith is pretty clever with computer stuff, maybe he can get it up and running again, for a little while. Hopefully, the roof is fine. Hopefully, the crack is nothing but normal house settling, and hopefully we'll get the house rented in a month, and go active with our adoption profile in September, just like we planned.

In the meantime, hey, I have a laptop to blog on. It could be worse.

July 6, 2012

Still waiting.

Our property manager and her family are back in their house, which was untouched. (A massive wind fire came down through Colorado Springs where our house and hers were located. Many people lost their homes.) She said it was merely a matter of wind direction. If it had blown another way, their house would be gone.

Hopefully next week we'll start up the great document hunt and even more hopefully, maybe we'll be finished with all that by the end of this month.

If I were to look back and wonder what my life was like these days, it would be like living in slow motion with grainy texture and bad focus.

It's the feeling of being always on the edge of something that must be done, and then realizing that there is nothing one can do. It's waking up to that every morning. I get so I almost flinch, and then run down the list in my mind- this is waiting on that, that is waiting on this, and today- today is a great empty space.

I feel like one of those stones caught in the surf with that lovely, rough clattering and hissing of waves.

It's not that I'm actually doing nothing; I manage all my domestic duties as imperfectly as I ever did, and visitors are often coming and we are sometimes going out. It's just that my internal landscape is wide open, and pounded by waves. I can't help but think that this sort of pounding is on purpose, divine purpose. It's not to punish, but to deepen.

My understanding of God grows through these experiences- I understand Him to be greater than I had thought before. I see this best in the quiet, long stretches of waiting, the times when I am suspended in my own life.

Richard Rohr wrote that suffering can be defined as any time we are not in control. The more I consider that, the more true it becomes to me.

It makes me think of this phrase: Desist, and know that I am God, which is how Young's Literal Translation puts that verse in the 46th Psalm.

Desist is to cease doing something.

When I am suspended, when I must stop, that is when my understanding opens up to Him in a way which is beyond sensation or experience or even head knowledge.

I simply know that He is fully present and fully in control and full of His mysterious and good purposes, and that whole picture is absolutely beyond my grasp.

July 10, 2012

This morning, an inexplicable feeling of loneliness washed over me, right over my head, taking me by surprise and swamping me.

I stood there, leaning against the foot of the bed, trying to process the flood of emotion. It was like a popup book had been flung open, and a blur of images and sensations flickered past inside me.

Every day I have to try and manage my emotions of sorrow, anxiety, fear, longing, and grief that surround this adoption process, and everything else that is happening in our life.

Every lonely, anxious memory is evoked and then surpassed by this experience. I feel lost, worthless, unprepared, ridiculous, inept, sad and lonely- all the times I felt that as a child, as a young woman, this experience of infertility and adoption brings those emotions to a head.

Tears well up into my eyes at the most random commercials, at movie trailers. Each time I push them down, mercilessly. I won't cry; I won't.

It's easy to talk about suffering in a theoretical sort of way, about how valuable it is, how it leads to maturity, compassion, insight. I like talking about it in a theoretical way.

But it hurts.

It helps when I remember that God carries the same wounds; that He walked right into the heart of His suffering. He didn't medicate it or avoid it. He gave voice to His emotion.

July 13, 2012

Sometimes I look back at what happened to me over the winter and spring, and wonder at it.

I remember lying in bed, wrapped up in the personal love of God, just floating in it. When I turned over, the physical act of moving caused the emotional sensation of being loved to become even more acute.

That happened more than once. I think because moving around reminded me what physical sensation was, and that what I was feeling had nothing to do with that, even though it was so distinct and so present that I felt it had to be physical- until I moved, and knew it could not be.

Once I did this and even in the moment, the wonder flooded through me.

"Why do You love me so?" I asked Him.

It made no sense to me. Despite everything that I had said I believed, I did not think God could possibly be that interested or could love so completely His own creation. He could not be that attached, that gentle, that involved. Nothing in religion had prepared me for the actual love of God. Nothing that I sang or read or studied prepared me for it.

Because you're My daughter, He replied.

And for a moment, I remembered, in the deepest part of me, that I was born of Him. He was my Creator, the source of my life. He brought forth my life from Himself, out of His creative desire for me to exist.

Nothing else defined me, but Him. But I find that it's hard to see like this, from day to day. From day to day, everything but that defines me. I remember coming down out of one of those experiences, and feeling the loss of clear sight, of understanding.

Which is why, I can't help thinking, the best things are faith, hope and love. Another words, be good to one another. Be merciful.

Take hope in the extraordinary and sovereign love of God; He is absolutely and perfectly in charge. This is, I know, an absurd hope. It's a ridiculous faith.

What manner of God are You? I asked Him that night, suspended as I was in wonder and love.

The only One, He replied with His gentle humor.

The one and only God, the Living God. There is none beside Him. New wonder swept over me, as this sunk into me.

I understood then that the whole world is His; all of creation belongs to Him. He breathes through it, sustains it, loves it.

Everyone is His.

July 18, 2012 Unpublished

So, I got up this morning drenched in anxiety, as usual. I can feel the panic wash over me during the day. I can physically feel it wash through me.

Ever since something I read, and I took that as a comment on how I should stop talking about my experiences with Jesus, my anxiety, guilt and shame have been through the roof.  It very likely had nothing to do with me, but since then, I can't even read that article.

I've felt waves of guilt, extreme guilt- that I was showing off, that I was arrogant, that I was holier than thou, that I was telling the little people what it's like up above.

I'm not trying to be arrogant- I hate that. I wanted to remind people that they are entirely loved by God, that the love of God is what defines them. I wanted that to lessen their anxiety in the same way it lessened mine.

Also, I wanted them to know that it's okay that we don't have all the answers yet. It's okay not to know, because Jesus knows and He’s good.

Jesus reminded me of my father, who posted something glowing about the love of God- dynamic, mysterious, pervasive. And for a moment, I was comforted. But only for a moment. My guilt immediately returned.

Everything all came together and it's been horrible. Every time I stop thinking about anything else, I'm thinking about that. It's as though it physically hits me. I want to recoil. I want to always be doing something so I don't have to think.

This morning, I was thinking about how one person in particular has probably read my blog and knows that I have this intense experience with Jesus, and yet knows me in person, how stiff and formal I am as a person and I just felt so miserable. I felt like such a failure- a failure to demonstrate any of the character or person of Jesus in my outward, daily life. That’s always the source of my greatest guilt.

“I am doing just such a miserable job at this,” I told Jesus, in this choked thread of a whisper, thick with misery and guilt, as I got the coffee machine ready.

I felt Jesus come up behind me, immediately and protectively and He put His arms around me and whispered into my ear, You can't be all of Me as one person; that's why there is the body of Christ.

So, other people demonstrate or live out other aspects of Him- I am finite. I am not an extraverted, socially adept member of the Body of Christ. Others get to demonstrate that aspect of Him. That's why as a whole we make the body of Christ.

It's perfectly ordinary doctrine. That's what I love about Jesus. He never tells me anything radically strange, really.

So that's been my inner life lately. Purely miserable. Each time I reach out to Jesus, I remember there is a purpose behind this. Sometimes He says to me, as iron sharpens iron.

Sometimes Jesus reminds me that He feels it as I feel it- that's He not just watching on the sidelines, but He's feeling the misery as I do, which is so humbling. I don't know why Jesus would do that to Himself.

Jesus reminds me that I'm learning to be emotionally authentic with Him, and that this is a very difficult lesson for me to learn, but that I'm stepping out into it, and that it is messy and it doesn't fit into my old religious teachings, and that doing this is a profound act of trust on my part and that trust, the trust of my authentic self, just as I am, resting in Him, is precious to Him and of great value.

Jesus reminds me of how I am learning to take Him at His word when He insists that I am always His, no matter how I feel, or what my attitude is, or what I believe or think, and that's what He asked me to do.

Sometimes I reach out to Him like one would to a life line, as though I am drowning, which frequently, I feel as if I am, and I hear His voice strong, like a river of living water flowing through me, ceaseless, my source of life, infinite and always connected to Him, a living connection which holds all my true life, and Jesus says, You know that I am.

Sometimes Jesus says, You know. You know that I am. You know that it's true.

And I do know. I know that I know Him. Jesus is the first thing I ever knew and He will be the last thing I ever know.

In fact, it's almost homey. I get this strong impression that we are intimate friends, close, with this strong bond of attachment and knowledge and trust and love and comfort.

And I can't help but think it fact that everyone has known Him. They must. They can't have come from anywhere else. But they must have gotten blinded to the truth.

About that, I don't know much at all. I don't know much, if anything, about evil, except that it's all Jesus’ responsibility and He has all authority and that it will be completely resolved.

July 21, 2012

Ok, so here are some updates.

We have a contractor for the roof and according to their estimate, we should come in maybe two thousand under budget. Is it possible for any estimate to ever be accurate? But at least that gives us a cushion if and when they do go over budget. They should start in three weeks, or whenever the roof tiles come in.

Our property manager dumped us this month- the very month she is supposed to be showing the house for new renters. We have a new property manager, whom we've never met. She seems nice, but she has four weeks to get the house re-rented before we face double mortgage month.

We have all the proper forms for the adoption, but due to Keith's extremely challenging work schedule, we're still waiting to get FBI checks and notarizing done.

There are other things going on that I can't blog about, but there is just a lot. I feel intensely most of the time, and I am working hard on letting myself feel this. That's quite hard work, as usual, but I'm growing. I'm certain there must be something on the other side of emotional authenticity that is worth reaching.

I keep coming up against this religious idea that if I feel my emotions, then I'm not having faith- as if faith must mean being happy all the time.

That can't be it. That's just too brittle. I keep thinking that there is something about being human that is very important.

If I can get to the place where I feel everything fully, can recognize my scars, my limitations, and at the same time, know that I am the beloved of Christ, I think that would be extraordinary. I think I could extend that out to others around me, simply by living in the truth of it.

I would like to be in that place. So, when I feel overwhelmed or angry, or depressed or anxious, or shame, or guilt, I try to recognize where I am, and that right then, right exactly then, I am loved, wholly loved, perfectly loved and I can rest in that healing love.

In my sexual healing abuse, I learned to change my beliefs about myself, beliefs that had gotten wedged in my identity in an unhealthy way, and I focused a lot on being a survivor and I hardly let myself feel the hard emotions. It was right that I did that work. Otherwise, I would have been living in a victim mentality, and that would have been emotionally and spiritually crippling.

But now, it's almost as though I have come full circle. I have come back to the places of pain, but this time, I'm daring to trust Jesus to a much greater degree than I ever could before. There’s something else, something above this or beyond it.