Two Sides of Everything
We hold joy and sadness in the same hand, almost always I guess. Me
Here I sit, typing and erasing, typing and erasing…how do you talk about things that don’t make sense? I am coming to realize that the law of physics that says “to every reaction there is an opposite and equal reaction” (What law is that? I am NOT a physicist!) is actually true. Really, I knew that already but in my so not scientific mind, never really cared.
But as I try to work through all that is swirling through my mind on this quiet Sunday morning (yes, gasp!!!! I did not go to church and really, that is part of the issue…read on…) it becomes crystal clear in my mind that whatever I feel about something, the opposite feeling seems to always be present. There SEEMS to be no purity of feeling…
Like when I feel the sweetness of joy, as in watching my Emme fall to sleep in my arms, knowing she is pure miracle, not of our doing, there is the opposite feeling, of sadness, knowing all is not well with her first family, through whom she came to us, and that we may never have the desired relationship with them.
Or, knowing full well that our decision to leave our ministry post a few months ago was the right one, no regrets, but also desperately missing the fellowship of my church family and desperately longing to carry out my call to be a pastor in every day life.
Or, moving 1600 miles away from my family and closest friends for the love of Hubby, making this wonderful new family here, in our home here, while desperately missing those who know me best, who have loved me long. And desperately missing the security of knowing I am home, in my country, not in another place that just doesn’t feel quite right.
Now all these things are choices, based on my desires or what I believed God was asking me to do. I could be living at home in Kansas. I could have had a fulfilling ministry there. But it would have meant giving up the life love of an amazing man who I believe God brought to me from yes, 1600 miles away, and well, plunked him practically on my doorstep. I would not give up my marriage, my love for the joys of being home. Yet, I am homesick.
Or, we could still be in our ministry position, a part of a church family we love dearly, but we know that God released us from there. Did HE want us gone? Maybe, probably not, but there were others who seemingly did, at least from their responses to our decisions and style, and sometimes, God just doesn’t interfere with human choices. And things we have found out since our decision to leave confirm that decision. That position held at times, great potential harm to our marriage, our health and our future as ministers. We know we did the right thing in leaving, yet we miss them, we miss the fellowship, the rhythm of life in that faith community.
And I would never give up the joy and responsibilities of being Emme’s Mom. She was entrusted to us by a woman who now struggles to survive. Adoption is an experience in losing control over everything, something those who have not walked this road could never understand. So you know that you know that you know, when your child finally comes to you that you can’t question what just happened, especially after making all sorts of efforts to make sure it happened in the right way. And yet, at least in our case, we deal with the grief over her first mother’s choices, to separate herself from us and the rest of her family, to make things hard, to make choices that make it hard to honor her.
We hold joy and sadness in the same hand, almost always I guess. That is the bottom line. What is my work to be done here then? To embrace it? To learn to live with it? To actually grow from it?
I “ran” this morning back to one of my old mainstays in the Psalms for answers…
Psalm 37: 4-7 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do this. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently on him.
Eugene Peterson in The Message interprets these verses this way… Keep company with God, get in on the best. Open up before God, keep nothing back; He’ll do whatever needs to be done. He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you will approval at high noon. Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. So here goes it…
God, You know the stuff of my life, the good and the bad. You know that Kelly is hurting, and so is her family, that she has the chance of losing everything if she doesn’t get her life in order. God help her…bring a miracle. And help us live with whatever happens, to allow You to do whatever needs to be done, for the good of our family, for the miracle child You sent to us. God, You know that our deepest desire is to be obedient, to be where You need us to be right now. Help us to find that place as we wait for You to show us the next step. And God, help us to be of use here, in this place. God, I place before you my homesickness…show me how to feel at home where You are, regardless of country or family. God, I open up to You and expect You to do what You need to do in my life, whatever that is, wherever that takes us. We know You give good things and blessings. I quiet myself before You. Expecting…trusting…hoping… help me to see the only side of things, Your side.