In a way this journal entry, scribbled down late one night five summers ago, is part of our adoption story too. For a long time I didn’t want kids. I was apathetic about parenting, when I wasn’t completely terrified of it, and it was slowly creating tension in our post-honeymoon marriage of four years. We began to pray that God would change my heart to genuinely want children. A few weeks later while working for an excavation company my boss brought his daughter to work, and we became fast friends. We had rock throwing contests, she laughed at me when I screamed at a spider on my arm, and by the end of the day the heretofore fallow field of my heart had been turned over by a nine year old girl, like she was running her fingers through the dirt in a garden. I drove home thinking, “Well, damn. That was rather sooner than expected.” That night, after talking to Lyndie, I wrote this down while she slept against my arm, like a child herself.
“August 24, 2005
I said it a month ago, and I’ll say it again – I truly don’t know if any small person will ever share our address and last name.
That’s not a threat, just an acknowledgement.
What is this slow and chronic need in you? What is this deep magnetism in your heart seeking to pull a new element into our lives?
Will the draw bring out a new alloy, one that comes from two, already made one?
I’m reading this journal entry from August 3rd three weeks later, and I’m staring at your metal bracelet after you’ve gone to sleep. It’s made of three silver strands braided together, each strand containing two wires side by side. One wire is smooth and solid, the other twisted and delicate. They run beside each other from one end of the bracelet to the other, through the twists and curves, never losing each other in the pattern, one strong, the other beautiful.
We have clasped hands for this life, and we walk side by side for now. I’ve seen the patience in you to stick with me and feel the curves of this course and lean into the turns with me and I’m grateful for it.
But now I’m wondering, what if a faceless, fatherless little person squeezes in between, takes our hands apart, and takes in each of her small hands one of ours, and we move ahead now three wide on the path? I know there would be times she would run ahead on the trail and come back clutching in her hands some common wonder given new life by young eyes, and times when she would fall back scared to move, and we would carry her between us, an inferno of love bristling a defense around the tiny breathing universe of our child.
But there would be times you would both quake from the threatening thunder of the unknown, and I’m just not that strong to carry two, not for long, and times when I would tremble in fear, and who would shoulder the weight?
I learned something today from a nine year old girl named Cheyenne. I learned that beauty is beauty even still being formed; that a painting that will be a masterpiece when finished is brilliant even from the very first strokes of color on canvas; that the paragraph of a person’s life can be profound and poetic even mid-sentence, first line.
God gives us marriage so on some thin, atomic level we will understand life within the Trinity. Maybe He gives us children to this end also. Maybe God’s mercy is best understood when we shed our own tears after disciplining our child. Maybe God’s condescending patience is recognized when we change hundreds of diapers for a sentient, eternal being who can’t keep from messing itself. And maybe some of the absurdity of the Father offering Jesus is comprehended in the pleading, weeping face of your child when he clings to your leg for protection from danger and pain and you know, staring into his small eyes that focus on you with a quivering ferocity of life and love, that you would fight any foe and walk through any fire to provide shelter and rescue and comfort.
So where does this leave me? I don’t know. Maybe a metamorphosis has found it’s catalyst in the most unlikely dirty blonde source. Or maybe it was just a good day. In spite of life you’re still beautiful beyond the telling, and I am trying, white knuckled and stepping carefully, to be strong. Stick with it. Lean into the turns with me. Our story has not found its climax, and not all of the characters have been written in yet, but it’s getting there, more each day, and there’s no rush. It’s a character story, not a page-turning suspense novel, so take it slow.
Take my hand, and I promise – we won’t lose each other in the pattern.”
Linking with Emily today.