I am a positive person by nature. I always have been. On my best days, I am resilient. But sometimes I am only naively optimistic. I annoy myself with my optimism. Sometimes I just want to be sad…for an extended period of time. And though I am learning the fine art of leaning into your pain and providing space for grief, it is fairly easy for me to quickly land on the positive. Then, if you add a deep seeded foundation of faith…my trust goes quickly to the Lord. The point is, when I write a blog post, it is done so retrospectively, when the pain caused by our circumstances is in proper perspective, viewed through the lens of Jesus. After the Holy Spirit has walked me through processing my feelings about whatever it is I am experiencing. However, in trying to provide a clear picture of our journey, I think it is necessary to write in the pain, as well as after the pain.
For example: I had a total breakdown last night…there was ugly crying, there was hyper focusing on our circumstances, and to take it even further, I simply went to how crappy this whole thing is for ME…no, seriously…I was 100% self focused…and I don’t even care.
Here’s where this crazy is coming from:
I love my church. We’ve got people there, you know…OUR people. We’re a part of a group of people who are DOING LIFE together. We are silly and weird, and all different than each other. We’re committed to each other. I cannot even tell you what it means to me to be a part of something so real… We spend time together on a very regular basis; sometimes at the spur of the moment, sometimes at an organized get together, and every other week, doing a Bible study that usually entails watching a speaker on a dvd and talking about what’s going on in our lives. Last year the series we did was called Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. I could go on and on about this book/series/way of life, but instead I’ll just say this one thing: there are many different things on the list of factors contributing to this deep desire I have noticed in my soul- a desire to actually and intentionally, love God, and love people. The book Crazy Love is one bullet point on the list.
So when a couple of “our people” found themselves in a weary place, action simply had to be taken. A husband and wife who are in our group have a major home repair that must take place in the next year. Basically, they have to tear up the city road in front of their house to repair their sewer pipe. After battling with the city over who is actually responsible to pay for the repair, they have discovered that they, as the home owners, have to be the ones to pay. So, thousands of dollars, because of absolutely no fault of their own.
In describing the early church, Paul, in the book of Acts says that all the believers “45 sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” So, that’s what we’re doing. We’re having a garage sale. For weeks we (and many people who are our “extended people”, those not officially in our Small Group, but those who are still very much in our camp) have been going through our closets and storage rooms, our garages and kitchens…we’ve been pulling items to sell, purely with the intent that we could raise some extra money for our friends. Because none of us can just give them thousands of dollars, but we can do something…we can take some extra time to sell our stuff.
That’s the background. What does this have to do with me having a breakdown?
Here’s why: I don’t have tons of junk…I mean, I’ve got junk laying around, don’t get me wrong…but, generally speaking I try not to have too much stuff in my home at any given time. So in trying to raise money for our friends, I just don’t have tons of miscellaneous stuff to donate to a garage sale. But I do have one thing: lots and lots and lots of baby items. We’ve been hanging onto all of our baby things…for years. Why wouldn’t we? And we had STUFF. When we were trying to get pregnant last year, I think having that stuff was like having hope. We had hope in our closets…the idea that we would certainly need all these items again someday.
While it doesn’t seem necessary to keep these anymore… I have known that I just don’t have the emotional capacity to go through those closets…not yet. But when Joel cleaned out the garage 2 weeks ago, with the intent to find big ticket items for the sale, a pile started forming in our driveway. Strollers, a toddler bed, bins of little kid toys, the bike trailer we pulled Jonah around in for miles…the list goes on and on. I looked at those items, and I thought about my dear friends. I realized that their concrete need for money to fix something as lame as the road in front of their house, was just more urgent then my emotions tied to these items. So I decided to let go… and we’ve been cleaning off things, pricing things, and hauling things to my friend Laura’s house for a week and a half. It has been so good.
Last night, in that moment right before sleep, when we are at our most vulnerable, I just lost it. I looked over at my sleeping husband and the thoughts slammed my brain. “I can’t believe this happened to him…I can’t believe we don’t know why…Why don’t we know what to do in the future? Should we adopt? Should he have surgery? What about IVF? What if, in a year, we adopt and we don’t have anything for the baby because we sold it all in a garage sale…what if, why, I can’t believe it…over and over and over again.
Why do I have this tie to objects? Why does having things in my closets make me feel more secure?
Here’s what I know in the calm of the next morning:
-Life is just messy.
– If, in the future, the Lord places it on our hearts to adopt, then He will be faithful to provide for whatever it is that we need. And, I can pretty much guarantee that it is likely that those needs would be met by my group of people… the very people we are hoping to help this weekend…because this is what we try to do for each other.
-Most of all, I know this: I don’t need to hold hope in my closets. Not when I have Hope in my heart.
Now- all this being said…I simply refuse to go through the baby clothes…not yet anyway…