*I think Wes's post may have gotten lost in the midst of all our fundraiser posts, so I'm reposting because I am so proud of his heart, and want everyone else to benefit from it as well. Enjoy and be challenged!
Good afternoon to all our faithful bloggy-buddies (Don't know it that is a thing, but if not I just coined the word and you read it here first),
Today I, Wes, will be blogging and Nina has the day off; so you best get seat belts for eyes cause it is going to get crazy. (A joke that may be a bit inside for some of you, it is from the IT Crowd, for those umpiring today that may be ball one. I hope I don't end up walking anyone day.)
It is 38 days until we make our way to Africa, Ethiopia to be exact, to go finalize our adoption of Alex and Eliana. And as the day grows near I grow a little more tense, and anxiety builds in my chest. Questions arise, like, "Are we really doing this?" ( You mean this is not just some great idea that we had that makes us feel important and good that we are going to help someone in need, but we actually are going to put ourselves in the front line of compassion and sacrifice). "What if something happens and it goes belly-up?" (The family comes and takes them away or worse the court systems takes longer and we are stuck in Ethiopia for over two months only to be denied). These are all legitimate feelings to have, I am sure, but they are my feelings and I am the one having to deal with them. It is funny how when they are your feelings, they always seem to grab your attention more than if they were your friends on the other side of the country or even next door; I can still go to sleep at night if they are some one else's but when they are mine, not as easily.
But to set the record straight, I have been sleeping fine at night, and during the day ( I have been sick for 2 weeks...blasted wintry weather). You see I have a gift, I have learned how to push any emotional attachment to a situation or person that could be detrimental to my heart, just out of reach. I put it in a safety deposit box, and bury it in the back yard. So when people ask me how I feel I only have to remember how I felt, so the feeling is a memory that can be elaborated or championed with out having to actually feel it in real time. Now I know where it is, and I can show you where it is, but for God's sake don't make me actually have to dig it up and face the feelings of the feeling! That's just unthinkable. So it is not so much a gift but more of a defense mechanism that I learned at a younger age in dealing with despair and depression; it is more like a curse! It is kinda like Davy Jones's chest, the place where he put his heart so no one could hurt him and he couldn't die (see Pirates of the Caribbean: at world's end)...what is life if you can't feel the passion of love and the pain of disappointment? It is a life unfulfilled.
I don't really like that I do that and it is something that I have begun to change in my life, through the example of my saviour Jesus Christ. He came as a man; He hungered, he was thirsty, he was weary, he wept, he was angry, he was disappointed, he anguished, he prayed, he worked, and he sighed! He experienced life to the fullest, as a man. Experience for most of us leads us to cynicism, isolation, hard heartedness, fear, and many other defense mechanisms that we feel will keep us from getting hurt. And even as Christians we lead lives that are not free, but bond with fetters from our past. Christ came to set the captives free, and I declare that Freedom over my life and my family. Are bad times going to come? Yes. They have come already, and will continue. Will I be disappointed in my family and friends? Yes, and they with me. But I am not going to let fear keep me from the Joys and Pains of life; life is incomplete without both. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but WHEN desire comes it is a tree of life" [Proverbs 13;12, emphasis mine]. A friend pointed this out to me a few months back that it is not a question of your desires coming to frution, it is merely an issue of time...WHEN desire comes...it will come and when it comes, it will far out way the sickness of your heart; fulfilled desire is the elixir of those with deferred hope.
So as a Christian man...that is, a Christian and a man...how can I disillusion myself into thinking that I can make it all the way to the court hearing and back to the States without putting my heart out there? You see, I am a father now, whether or not I have actually held or done any "fathering" to Alex and Eliana, they are my children. That thought hadn't really sunk in until the last few weeks. I had been trying to float through this adoption without becoming completely (emotionally) invested, but that is rubbish. They need a father, and they need a man to be their father!!! They don't need a father who will care for them only when I can hold them and protect them, they need a father who will do that even though they are thousands of miles between us. Those miles have caused disconnect, disassociation, and decontextualization for me and I am sure there are other fathers that have felt similar (even some mothers). We feel helpless to do anything, so instead of feelings despair and taking appropriate actions (praying, fasting, and talking about them) we simply shut it up and wait until we can unleash our pent up love and compassion on them on gotcha day, or when they are safely in our homes.
Below is a video that echoes my heart. Not just about Alex and Eliana but also for those less fortunate. The one thing that I have let myself feel in this adoption process is the issue of orphans as an epidemic and my family and I (and friends) want to help the root causes in these countries so that there are no more orphans. Is it unattainable? Yes, but that should always be the goal, anything less it not Christ-like!! He came to seek and save the lost, and his desire is that everyone is saved and comes to the knowledge of Truth. [I Tim 2:4] Will everyone be saved? No, but that is still the goal of the God. If he sets his goals that high, then so should we. Until there are no more orphans. We are the salt and light of the world, if not us then who? Unicef? The U.N.? Bono? Some secular organization that will share food and compassion but not Christ? If not us then who???
I want to be a man, a Christian, and a father! Not only to my children but to all of God's "Children". I desire to be his hands and feet. I want to be less so He can be more. I want to feel the Joys and Pains, the Ecstasy and the utter Disappointment. I want this because I know that my God has gone through the same things as me, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin." [Hebrews 4:15] I want to rise up as Shammah did in the Old Testament and face an entire garrison of Philistines, by himself, for a field of lentils; a defenseless and vulnerable thing that if plundered may have never yielded good fruit for harvest, but if protected then the harvest would feed many and for many years to come; it was an investment in the future. Shammah defeated the Philistines and protected the lentils.
Shammah is my name, and protection is my Christian, fatherly, and joyful duty. Amen.