Exploring where life and story meet!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When Joy doesn't come

Here's a beautiful article on how to survive when Joy doesn't come; how to find beauty amid the ashes.  Warning, tear-jerker, have a hanky handy!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

No one will take your Joy

There is a short list of websites I check on a regular basis, and as I was perusing one of them, an article title caught my eye, "no one will take your joy."  The meaning of that phrase to me was probably different from what it meant to everyone else, most especially the author.  Not to go into gory details, but I've spent over two years slogging through the mire of broken dreams and twisted emotions, the result of years of abuse and neglect as a child.  I've grieved, been angry and frustrated, and at other times felt I deserved it or the world would be better without me, a lie, but a common one to those in such circumstances.  Just as I felt I had shaken the last bit of stinking, sticky mud from my feet and stood on solid ground, at last eager for 'Joy in the Morning,' after my troublous night of sorrow and despair, when I felt I was at last an emotionally healthy person, the phone rang.

During this whole mess, we've sat on an adoption waitlist and pretty much nothing has happened, save the one that fell through a year and a half ago.  Our son will enter Kindergarten in the fall and tired of waiting, leaving this last gaping wound of my heart open, we decided we would be done in December when we would have to renew everything.  I had already given up, making plans for the crib and diapers cluttering up the empty nursery.  We had agreed to have our photo book looked at for a special situation and the phone rang the evening of the day the birth parents would be looking through the books belonging to hopeful parents.  I knew it was our social worker calling to say we had been passed over again.

That wasn't quite the message.  Apparently our book had been picked.  And mom was in labor, now!  The baby wasn't due until the end of the month, even if we had been picked we hoped for a couple weeks to prepare.  But apparently that wasn't to be the case.  We quickly arranged matters for work, etc. and called the grandparents to watch our son, threw everything in the car, and drove.  We didn't know gender, as the mother wanted to surprise us, but I've had names picked out since before I was married, a girl name at least, our son used up our boy name, if it was a boy I might be in trouble.

It was a girl and mom had already named her.  I wasn't sure at first, but it was very pretty and fit the beautiful child.  We suggested an alteration to the middle name, which both parents agreed to.  It wasn't my beloved name, but it was the right name.  Later we looked up the meaning of the first name, it was the same as her middle name: Joy.

We took her home (after many tears and more paperwork) and during the risk placement, a weeks long period in which the birth parents can change their mind, the what-ifs have been raging in my mind.  Then I saw the title of that article, and with a sudden sense of peace, I knew it was meant for me.  God really does have a sense of humor!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


We all have dreams, desires, hopes, and fears, but can you really achieve them?  What happens if the plot line of your life runs in a different direction?  Here's an excellent article on realigning your dreams with reality when everything seems to be falling apart.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Oracle of the Dog

'YES,' said Father Brown, 'I always like a dog, so long as he isn't spelt backwards.'
'The Oracle of the Dog,' The Incredulity of Father Brown, G.K. Chesterton

Pinterest can be a very dangerous thing, like any social media it should be used with extreme caution, never taken internally, and not while operating heavy equipment, that being said, it is just as addictive as anything else (like chocolate and Jane Austen).  I love it for finding ideas for recipes and projects around the house (all except that 'natural' weed killer recipe with the vinegar and salt, a lovely exfoliant but hardly a weed killer), but it can certainly depress you like any other social media: comparing your rather mundane life with the highlights and boast-able moments that seem to make up every second of everyone else's existence but yours, but worse, like all other forms of social media, instead of actually living you are only reading about it.  But it can also be an interesting gauge of how people think of a certain topic, how they see the world, and what is important in this perplexing age where nothing and everything is true.

I foolishly typed in the word 'adoption' the other day.  While in common parlance, 'to adopt' is used rather casually to mean anything from acquiring a new hairstyle to actually making someone an official member of your family, quite drastic extremes, only two main themes showed up on this unofficial poll of humanity's view of this particular word (a rather skewed sampling of mostly female persons in the Western world) and I'm not sure which is worse.  Two-thirds of the search results were cheesy, trite representations of adoptive parenthood, making it look like instant happiness and easy as clicking on the Pin; it reminded me of those radio commercials in the US that jokingly said if you could breath and string two words together, you could foster parent, it was as easy as that.  The other third were devoted to dogs, and I am sorry to offend any of you canine enthusiasts, but no matter how much you love your furry friends, they are not people; they are wonderful creatures, but happily for their sake (and ours) they are not human.  No matter how hard the Golden Retriever rescue organizations make it to 'adopt' one of their fuzzy proteges (and yes, my sister went through a so-called 'home study') it is far from the same thing as adopting a child.  And yes, I have heard actual people (well-meaning but clueless) say to other actual people (adoptive parents) that they were in the adoption process as well/were adoptive parents of yes, a dog; ouch.  When our adoption (human) fell through last year, I actually saw a Pin on how to survive when your canine adoption falls through, nothing like a little salt in the wound.

There are actually articles on what to say when people talk to you about your maternity leave being a vacation and people who think maybe everybody should have one!  You can get medical leave for a hip replacement or gallbladder surgery and no one considers that a vacation, but here you endure a major physical trauma and have an extremely needy new family member to boot yet it is some sort of vacation?  This kind of thinking is a little scary, exhibiting either the complete ignorance or indifference our society as a whole now holds pertaining to children, as if they are some sort of a hobby or fettish, no different than keeping parrots or a fondness for marathon running, little realizing that each of us owes our very existence to such fettish-obsessed forebears and that society and civilization as a whole would soon cease to function if there were no future citizens to populate it.  But we leave that to others, little realizing they are leaving it to us.  I'm not saying everybody should have kids or be parents (or even have pets), but we've relegated what was once a very normal part of human existence and society to the list of things we might do, would like to do, or will get around to someday.  Or even congratulate ourselves as some sort of Green saint for not contributing to human overpopulation.  As cute as Mr. Wiggles is, he isn't going to be President, cure cancer, or be there to help 27 years from now when dementia sets in; he won't pay taxes, help the neighbors in a crisis, or drive grandma to the doctor; he can't play the piano, enjoy Hamlet, or ponder the glories of nature.

For all of its messiness, work, and sacrifice, parenthood, however achieved, is worth it, even if our kids end up in jail or living in the basement into their fifties.  It makes us more human.  It humbles us, teaches us to sacrifice and love in ways we can hardly understand beforehand.  It teaches patience and self-discipline.  It brings joy and wonder unimagined and sorrow and frustration hardly to be comprehended.  We shape dogs in our own image; children shape us into the image of God.  Perhaps that is why we marginalize it, minimize it, and raise other idols in its place: we don't want to change, we don't want to hurt, we don't want to learn faith, hope, patience, and love; we don't want to discover that we are broken and imperfect and full of faults, things our dog will never see, or at least won't mention or hold against us.  The dog won't talk back or rebel and thanklessly break our hearts, yet neither will he enlarge it, he might fill it for a time, but he won't push it to the limits, burst it asunder, and force it to grow.  Dogs are content with what we are, children force us to become what we were meant to be.

Adopting a dog can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it is not parenting.  Dogs are not children nor a substitute for them and thinking such is unhealthy not only to the individual and society as a whole, but to the dog itself; dogs are least happy when treated like children, that is why we love them: because they aren't human, it diminishes the dog and the child both to confuse the two, no matter how cute and innocent the sentiment seems.  Don't believe me?  Type in 'doggy shower party' on Pinterest and see what comes up; I've been to few baby showers that nice.  Or read 'The Oracle of the Dog,' a Father Brown mystery by G.K. Chesterton (careful, if you aren't hook on Chesterton or Father Brown, this might be another bad habit worth acquiring, like Austen and chocolate).