Remembering and More Tired Ramblings:

It’s been a bit of a hard day. Coming off of five good days with boys visiting – filling the house with their happy noise, and then the quiet that fell when they left yesterday evening gave way to a fitful night. So thankful things are as well as they are; Noah is learning and growing and we have good visits and talks; all things considered I’m grateful. But that does not stop the ache in the heart when we find ourselves minus one at every gathering, and when we can’t seem to shake the knowing that time is passing by – days apart that cannot be recovered. I take comfort in scripture’s teaching that though time cannot be recovered it can be restored…

We’ve come a long way since December when Noah went to boarding school. Erick needed people around, and I honestly didn’t want to see a soul. I just wanted to grieve in solitude and let my heart grapple with all the loss and hurt for which there were no adequate words to describe. I went to a football game at the high school Friday night – took Riley and another and I made it with no tears. Erick had readied to go and backed out last minute, but he went with us to the cross-country meet at Berry Saturday morning. The weather was perfect like the first time we went there for Noah to run when he was 10. I asked Erick while there how he was holding up and he answered, “I feel like I’m missing a limb.” That’s it – the missing for which no one has words…Makes me think deeply and ever-so-tenderly about others with far greater sorrows than ours; so many whose sons and daughters are not just away to heal and grow but have passed from this life not to return. Their grief is unimaginable to me and my heart is mindful of them in ways it was not before…

I remember when; when we took in the boy who was different from us and someone said to me, “I hope he doesn’t lead Noah astray.” This was not from a family member and I knew the person meant well, but it still stung, and in truth, it still does. I could have said, “I hope you don’t lead me astray and that I don’t lead you astray! Mercy! Seems we are blind to each human’s inclination to error including our own. What we do to one another with our words…

I’m not sure I’ll ever stop learning from the experiences we’ve had and continue to as a result of our journey with our other boy – the one we were blessed to borrow for a time. That cannot be taken way either – the time we had, we had, and it is now written into our stories and into our hearts where it will remain for eternity, fixed there, forever family in a sort of way few could ever understand.

I won’t forget when the Lord spoke to me saying, “love him.” I felt the words in my heart. I was certain from where the message came. I didn’t resist, but I didn’t understand what that would entail until later. The dawning became clear when on Christmas morning The Spirit spoke in my heart again and said, “set another place at the table. Make room.” And so we did. We made room…

What I’ve learned, in part, from the experiences of recent years coupled together with learning from way earlier on is that there are no “good people” and “bad people.” We are all just people, and every single one of us makes many errors – we sin – every single one. It’s when we are awakened to our own error that we are being given the great grace offered – repentance and change. What a gift, indeed. And what responsibility comes with it when we step over the threshold into His Lordship. From then on, we are no longer our own. We are His. Our lives are offered for His service to be used in whatever way He chooses – come what may. That’s where I’m learning to rest- in His will.

I never had any assurance that the journey with the boy would result in a particular way. I just had the inner knowing that it was meant for us to offer open hands. Erick had the same. I’ll never forget what he said to me: “there are plenty of reasons I can come up with not to do this, but not a one of them is justifiable to The Lord.” I knew what he meant. To those whom much (grace) has been given, much is required.

There’s an old saying, “anything worthwhile is seldom easy.” Isn’t that true? It has proved so in my life so I’ve come to expect challenge and struggle and also the benefits produced by it. To say we are changed people as a result of the last 3 years is an understatement. Mostly, it has changed how I view all people, myself included. It has changed my expectations, and it has increased sensitivity to personal need. Need is something we all have. Seems few are willing to love and give when it is costly or troublesome. The word love is thrown around like it is all about cozy feelings and warm attachments. That is not what love is. Love is the costliest of all human experiences. It holds on tight when necessary and lets go when necessary despite how it feels. It casts a broad net and draws close whatever it touches. Love is patient and kind. It never harms. It isn’t rude, proud, or boastful and it takes no pleasure at all in evil. It rejoices in truth and it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. I guess more than anything else, I’ve come to realize getting this one thing right is what life is all about. I want to see each person as The Lord sees them. I want to see them as worthy of pursuit – worthy of having a shepherd who leaves the 99 to come retrieve any one of the lost back into the fold. Every life is worth the time it takes to save it.

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