Friday, May 1, 2009

Connected. Part 2: The beauty

It's the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker.

That's the same St. Joseph that is the dad on earth of Jesus and the patron of families.
Plus of course, he was no slouch as a worker...hence a day to remember that.
And today, as our family is in a struggle and we are working hard to somehow find a way through it, I have offered up my petitions to St. Joseph, for his intercession, relying on his kindness and understanding as a father, and a worker-bee too.

That said, I have spent this past week tumbling many thoughts around in my head. And yeah, you know what that means: I gotta post. And this is a stumbling exploration of all those thoughts and yup it's centered on faith and prayer, and it's Catholic too - so fair warning. Just stop right now if you're not interested. But I gotta, I've already told you, it's how I process.

Way back in July, I wrote a post on connections, here.
And in that post I marveled at the connections we find in blogland, and beyond.
This week, I've been able to marvel at those connections all over again, much more viscerally and intimately than ever before.

As most of you know, this time, almost exactly last week, our trip to Addis was boxed. I had just finished up my ugly-crying scene at Barnes and Noble and was at home, doubled over in sobs, watching Coffeedoc turn his mouth to that determined set and get to work trying to find another way to get to our daughter. I sniffed up my tears again and again and he kept researching and calling. We are still in that same process, just beating different bushes.

This week has been one of physical grief and frustration, glimmers of hope and kicks in the gut of reality...again and again. Worry and fretting and fear.
And much much prayer.
And this is what I've been tumbling around...all this messy mass of contradiction: hope, prayer, suffering, worry, acceptance, and connections. Coffeedoc and I have been talking a lot about all this, what it means, how to walk through it.

So, bear with me as I lurch along here:
Prayer. We have been praying. So hard. My prayers and this struggle is so much that I don't actually have real, speakable words to verbalize anymore. Those were gone, just about this time last week. We are taught that the Holy Spirit will interpret out meager prayers, with unutterable groans, and carry them to the Father.
And really, I think that at this point maybe I've saved him a step.
My prayers are sort of an unspeakable toss. They are sort of "You know what's best and You know my heart of hearts, here, here take it..it's too much for me." And after that, even then, I can't actually iterate those or any words, they are kind of silently, internally groaned. But this leaves me to question..is that prayer? Is that good enough? What if they are not? But those, that, is what I've been left with before - in those most stressful times of hospitals and threats. So, maybe those prayers are worth enough anyhow.

Suffering. You know, this is a suffering. Not nearly so deep or intense as so many out there, I so realize that. We are grateful it's not more, we recognize how fortunate we are to have this, relatively measly, suffering. God knows what wusses we are. But, even so, it is a suffering. It is full of fear and worry and physical literal hurt and depression. And for what? So many say, "worry won't change anything."
Well. Hmm. True.
However, suffering, it does.
Suffering, it transforms.
This is not to say we want to suffer.
Uh-uh, not me, um, ever, ok?
But that when we do, it transforms - not only us, dare I say it, but the world.
A little bit.
And in that, there is such beauty.

Now, before you all wig out and think I am some creepy masochist, I'll tell ya now, "I'm not."
But I have seen the beauty of this suffering first hand, intimately, both times connected to a daughter. The first time was when my little four year old girl had a life threatening status epilepticus seizure and was life flighted to the downtown children's hospital and was in the pediatric ICU for three days. (A different long story. She recovered, thanks be to God.) This time, it is with another daughter, one I haven't hugged yet and she is stuck in a bureaucratic trap, half a world away. Both times, the outpouring of love and caring and prayers and support, helped us, lifted us up, and also humbled us and blew our minds. Yup, now, I'm there.

Because here is where the transforming, the prayer, the connecting, the suffering becomes beauty. Prayer doesn't change God's mind. We are not praying as if we can somehow pick a tune on a jukebox, "I'll take Elvis, B6." Prayer transforms our hearts to grow to accept God's will, if we truly want God's will. And in the process of that prayer, we are brought closer to His heart. And in suffering, we get a chance to also come closer and have others called closer to that same heart.

Erk. I'm not saying this well, or right. {I talked about some of this to dear sweet Becca, too.}
But, through our suffering (and really, this is hardly cancer or dying or anything, it is just really really hard and frustrating and feeling so desperate....and that's our own doing, as the pills we are)....I have seen such beauty in the compassion and outreach of friends and family and most of all, the blog community. Blog friends gave up food for us, fasted, for our needs yesterday. So many have been praying, and fasting even, for us. It is utterly humbling.

But, I think, me {so really, take it for what very little it's worth}, that really is where the transformative nature of prayer - and suffering - starts to play in. By our (measly) suffering (tho doesn't feel measly, you get my drift); we offer it in prayer, and unite it intimately with the suffering Christ experienced. And that, Christs own suffering is what is calling to all of you others who are so giving and kind and supportive of US....that intimacy, that call to help, that urge to help that you/others feel is a response in LOVE which is nothing if not Christ, who IS love and so we are all transformed, and there, there is the glory of God.

It's not in having our wants/needs worked out perfectly, but in bringing more of that glory, that love, into this dark hard world. It's in each of us stretching out in love to console the other...there it is, right there.
It's us getting to participate, willingly suffer/help carry the burdens of others, so that, like a small kid, we can help, even to change the world a little bit by the effort. We get to help. I see the big huge GLORY of it even as I feel and know the small personal intimate union of it all too..... Ack.

That is the transformative nature of suffering...you get the whole package, and it calls to others and so, mirrors, images, unites, us to Christ.

So. That's just way cool to me. Even as I wallow and feel sick and so so deep blue down.....I can recognize that much, because God knows what a weenie I am and need something to hang on to. And I can, and do, and will hang on to the connections...and hope to be able to do the same for someone else, next time it's needed. I see it in many many repeated emails, the flowers Jess sent me, and in the fasting Becca started, in the unexpected, providential or coincedental (?), connections like Lori.......and it all humbles me and makes me shiver in awe.

My kids make fun of me for my blog and my blog friends. But I don't care. Because I said it last time, and I'll say it again: We are connected, amazingly enough. I, even if only I, am lifted up by the connections. Which help me to remember one of my very favorite hymns, and one of Jana's and one of it's really good lines:

"We lift our hearts before you and wait upon your word"

At the best, when we are all at our best, when we, dare I say, are transformed into our best......we can walk through this all together - adoptions or other things - suffer, wait, help bear the burden and shout with glee, as we each wind our way through this long, often difficult, road....looking for the light at the end, waiting on His word.


"and whether our tomorrows
be filled with good or ill,
we'II triumph through our sorrows
and rise to bless you still"

So, maybe this is just a very long stream of consciousness thank you, because I don't really have the words to say it well or nearly nearly enough. But for all of you, your thoughts, prayers, support...no matter the outcome: Oh, my, thank you. Thank you.

12 comments:

solas4me said...

Beautifully put as always, and always you are all in our prayers and thoughts.

The Darlings

Jen said...

You never cease to amaze me... even in your suffering you are able to write so beautifully. You will be in our prayers as long as Marta is not at home. New week starts and I will pray that good news is coming.

Christine said...

You are a very good writer and a real philosopher. I did get what you were saying. Some suffering is unavoidable and some suffering just occurs as you bravely make your way through life. You did put your heart out there and that you get something good out of that suffering, I admire that. And I am happy that you shared it, too.

Still keeping you in my prayers,
Christine

Thankfulmom said...

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing from your heart. As I have contemplated suffering, I take comfort in knowing there is nothing in my life that is outside of the Lord's purposes for me. Whether it is a time of joy or suffering, He is ever present transforming me to be more like Him. To Him be the glory.

Lisa

The Albertsons said...

you say that you're not saying it right, but you ARE!!!
Oh how you are. You write it beautifully and help us all to see Christ's thread of love through it all, the good and the bad. And how even the suffering brings change, beauty, and restoration to our lives and our world. You need to keep processing through the blog, because you teach us. Lori and I actually shared a sweet smile about you this weekend, realizing that, in you, we have a common mentor and "mother hen" (i called you that- don't blame Lori :).
You are far more wise and graceful than you suspect. But, as you know, it's not because of your strengths, or your ego. It's because of who you point to, with humility and love, not with tactics of hatred or fear.
Marta now has you as a mom, and she understands. She knows you're trying your hardest. She knows you're coming...
We're continuing our fervent prayers...
love
becca

Kristi J said...

Ok...I'm so sorry about all this!! I'm shocked and saddened!! I'm behind on checking all my favorite blogs and had no idea you guys weren't traveling. My prayers are with you and Marta!! I can't imagine the pain!! Please keep us posted!! Your post was worded so beautifully and so well. Kristi

Lori S said...

You are an awesome mom! I continue to think of your situation with your new daughter and pray for you!!
In fact, I wanted to let you know that you are a link in my new blog post! You seemingly have it all together as a mom of many! God Bless!

Wolfemom said...

M, My prayers are with you daily. Prayers for (gulp) God's will and not ours. Easy to type but not easy to do. I just love the picture of sweet Marta! Your post is amazing... like always.

Nadja Magdalena said...

Beautifully expressed. My favorite hymn as well (I have been choked up to the point of tears trying to sing it at Mass on occasion).

So glad to have stumbled across your blog, neighbor! I have been fortunate enough to see you with your beautiful family firsthand, and I will keep you and Marta in my prayers. God bless you and yours.

DrewCareyShow said...

We are heartbroken for you and thinking about you and praying for you! Not a day goes by that we don't talk about you guys and think about your precious daughter on the other side of the world. Praying for a miracle -- and for wisdom and clarity for you and coffee doc. Much, much love, Carey

The Roberts Family said...

LOVE YOU dear friend!!!! Continuing to pray! ~Shelly

Midwest Mommy said...

Very well put! Still praying...~Cami