October 31, 2012
The sound of the tree frogs’ throaty chirping fills the balmy air, and a slight breeze blows off the bay after a sudden downpour. In the distance I can just make out the rhythmic drumbeat blaring from someone’s cheap radio, and I can smell smoke from a nearby cooking fire. Every sense reminds me that I have left the familiar world of my suburban home far behind. I have arrived on the beautiful island of Jamaica.
No, in spite of the idyllic setting, this is not a relaxing vacation. On the contrary, my family and I are taking a week out of our busy lives in order to work and serve at a school for deaf children. It’s a full week of construction and maintenance projects around the campus while the students are in classes, and games, activities and crafts during their free afternoon and evening hours. It’s a week I’ve been anticipating for months!
Yes, the climate is much more hot and humid than what I experience at home. Yes, the people here have darker skin than mine. And yes, there are various cultural distinctions that I don’t always understand or particularly like. (That legendary “No problem, Mon” attitude can be frustrating for a task-oriented person like me. I am tempted to call out, “Come on, people, we have a schedule to keep.”) It is obvious in so many ways that the destination for this mission trip is a foreign country.
October 11, 2012
It happens everywhere, usually when I least expect it. At the market. At church. At the doctor’s office. People look at me and say, “I’ve always wanted to become a foster parent (or adopt), but . . .” And then they begin explain why they never have. Many, many people have the desire to love an orphan, and truly believe in their heart that it could be their calling. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of reasons, especially here in our affluent, “pursuit of happiness” country, for why the good intentions never quite materialize into actual reality.
Okay, let’s be honest. If you or I personally met a child whose one and only dream was to belong in a family, who only wanted to know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a parent’s love, would we really be able to look into those hopeful eyes and say, “I really want to adopt some day, but right now my life is so busy. You know how it is, driving my kids to soccer practice, piano lessons, and dance classes. I mean, it’s a full-time job just getting dinner on the table and getting through the evening’s homework, not to mention how crazy things are at work right now.”
And then could we really continue with our justification? “And I’m so sorry, but I really can’t afford to adopt you. After all, we have our family vacation to Disney World coming up later this year, and pretty soon it’s going to be time to replace our second car. Would you excuse me for a second while I take a sip of my Starbucks Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte? Anyway, as I was saying, I really do hope to adopt. Some day.” Of course it would be ridiculous to try to explain our decision-making process that way, and it sounds so harsh. However, every time we put a “but” on the end of our sentences when talking about fostering or adopting some day, we articulate the priorities in our life, the treasures in our heart.
October 3, 2012
“Beep! Beep! Beep!” My alarm clock blares at an ungodly hour, sometimes even before the sun itself is awake, demanding that I leave the brief escape of sleep in order to face the responsibilities of the day ahead. Even before my eyes crack open and my feet find the floor, my mind is already racing ahead to the list of tasks before me, a list that I know before I even start is way too long to complete. A mother’s life is naturally busy on any given day, but add in the stress of having a child in the hospital, and the responsibilities soon become overwhelming, almost paralyzing.
My voice says, “How can I possibly do this?! It’s too difficult!”
God’s voice says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14)