The topic of suffering has been on my mind a lot lately. So if you're looking for one of my "lighter" blogs, please see last 2 or 3 (or 20) entries, this might get heavy. But bare with me if you will...
Jody (no, she is not my ONLY friend, but I do enjoy our discussions) and I were talking last week about this very subject. It was my turn to come up with a topic for our adoption group at Church this Sunday and I was interested in the stories of suffering that were common amongst those of us who were/had/were thinking about adopting. I was asking Jody if she thought it was a good idea to ask the question, "Why do we think God specifically put it on OUR hearts to adopt?" And even more specifically, "Why do you think God had us endure suffering in order to open our eyes to this blessing?"
I loved many of Jody's points. One was basically, when we are pregnant and people ask, what are you having, what do you want to have. The proud parents most often say, "We don't care as long as it's healthy!" Jody and I have both been through the "not healthy" parts of being mommys/pregnant. So she said, "I often wonder what it takes for someone to go right from wanting a healthy baby to running straight towards the middle of suffering." Isn't that an awesome question? I asked myself that same question...what made me give up on the idea of a "perfect" pregnancy or "perfect" family/child, what have you and go straight to the heart of suffering (by "suffering" I don't mean going through adoption, by the way, read on)?
Obviously I had the miscarriage and near death (or near life, if you're a Fight Club fan such as myself) experience, Dailah's time in the NICU, all of that. But I admit as I've been thinking about getting my hands dirty in suffering I realized something quite remarkable really. The first time I saw a picture of Tariku I remember saying, "Look at his eyes!". I think what I was really saying was that I recognized something in those eyes. Perhaps what I recognized was suffering. Tariku has experienced more than any 3-yr-old I know. More than I want to think about one of my sons experiencing. But I think the first time I saw him that's what I saw. It's not about first choices. I am not his first choice mommy. I may not even be his second (that is to say, if he got to choose) and I'm actually okay with that.
What I realized is the downpour of suffering that made me run into Tariku and forced him into me will hopefully one day be a downpour of blessings. I can already say he has been a blessing to me and our family even though we know so little of him. God has indeed turned my sorrow into grace and worked miracles in my heart. I hope one day Tariku will realize our suffering was no small matter. I hope he realizes, as I do lately, that it took those horrific, awful sufferings to bring us together. In a broken world that we live in, it took suffering to get us here. We need to continue to grieve that, surely, but perhaps seeing it has a two-sided mirror is not an altogether awful thing?
Only now do I realize I need to stop asking/demanding for blessings from God. I need to start truly asking for His will be done. It's an awesome day when I realize He really does know what He's doing. Had He listened to my begging just 3 short years ago I would've never known of Tariku and in turn never known grace as I do now.