Thursday, December 30, 2010


I was thinking the other day, that nothing more on earth shows our need for redemption more than relationships. My very next thought was, "That is not very profound. That is exactly what has been redeemed: our relationship with the Almighty."

But it had me thinking. Then I went on to read some articles by an education writer who was critiquing the character ed fads that pop up. He went on to state the flaws of each program. He stated that they come from the premise that children are sinful. He asserted that they truly are compassionate, and gave examples of children acting in compassion.

But who is to know the heart, except for God? I know I do things that may look caring on the outside, but motive is anything but. The more I read this Henri Nouwen book, the more my sinful ways are exposed to me. Oh my. How I do use relationships. How my sin taints every aspect of my life.

And yet, my relationship with God is redeemed. After experiencing hugging "my" children goodbye, and watching them walk away, and the utter desolation that I felt, God's love is even more incomprehensible to me. God sent his son, knowing that to do so would include pain.

Jesus' life was the very essence of compassion-to suffer with. His coming to experience life on earth was him suffering with us. He didn't turn away from the woman who reached out to touch his robe. He didn't cast aside the distraught father, he turned to the children who were around him. He knew Peter would deny him, and yet he didn't let that relationship go.

I watched our Encuentro video on Monday. I was attempting to transfer files to my new computer, and thought it would be a good time to put the video on a DVD so it wouldn't get lost. I thought I could handle watching it.

The minute my eyes saw the children, i felt like I'd been whacked. I felt paralyzed. And furious. And so, so sad. I watched us talking to them, hugging them, seeing the hesitation in their eyes. Our pale faces from extreme anxiety.  I got scared that my mind would forget their faces.

And then I had the familiar thought, "I need to go get them." I don't know where this comes from. It just wells up. The get-me-on-a-plane-right-now feeling. We, to this day, have felt nothing but peace about the decision. But, that doesn't take away the longing and the love, I guess.

Friday, December 24, 2010

And out of the blue, it hits.

It's been a long while since I've cried at work because of grief. (I won't go into how many times I've cried because of school stuff....) A few times last year, it happened in front of the kids, and gratefully the kids that saw it were the ones who knew.

Wednesday was math test time for my newcomer boys. I was towards the end of the test when I looked down at the story problem I was about to read out loud.

"N*st*r picked 12 flowers for his mom...."

My throat immediately tightened. I felt my entire body freeze up. I went into something between a panic and paralyzation. I tried to substitute a different name.

"Ben picked..."

I couldn't get it out. And then the sobs came. And the great big tear drops. I began reliving being a mom. My interactions with N. So sad that things didn't turn out differently. They would have been here and would have been coming home from school that day instead of me going to school. We'd be preparing to go to grandparents' houses.

And then my little student spoke.

"It's ok. You can take a minute."

And that was all he said. I turned and walked to get a box of tissues and the sobs subsided. The boys never acted uncomfortable that I was crying; they've experienced deep hurt and trauma in their lives. They just plain get it. 

Vaya con Dios, mijos....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This year is so much better than last year

It truly is. While it's still hard, it in no way compares to last year. We went out shopping today for some of the last gifts. It's so much easier when S is with me. I did start to cry in JCP; we were in the kids section and there was a Hispanic family, and their daughter... And I looked over to the underwear shelves and started to cry. The last time i'd been there I was buying 10 (or something like that, I had to make multiple trips to the counter) packages of underwear and socks and so happy to be doing it! So we left rapidly.

But i was able to continue on.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The book I'm reading by Henri Nouwen has some good thoughts in it. Here is another little bit that I've contemplated for a while now:

Such discoveries remind us of our humble place in the scheme of things. The7y keep us from self-aggrandizement. Perhaps our need to hold life loosely is no more evident than in our daily relationships. Loving someone means allowing the other person to respond in ways you have no control over. Every time you engage yourself in an intimate, loving way with someone else you become at last partly subject to the exhilaration of hearing another person's yes or the disappointment in his or her no. The more people you love, the more pain you may experience. For the great mystery of love is that while it can be received, it can also be rejected. Every time you love you enter into the risk of love....That is what his [Jesus'] death meant-being out of control for our sakes, from great love.

Our pain and suffering of the Lord are intimately connected. When we mourn, we die to something that gives us  a sense of who we are. In this sense suffering always has much to do with the spiritual life. We surrender our striving denial of our limitations. We release our hold on a piece of our identity as a spouse, a parent, a member of church...We may even suffer for our faith. Jesus' first followers were handed over to persecution and death. And so we admit, not without many tears, that we sometimes must let go of what we hold very dear. (from Turn My Mourning Into Dancing  29-30)

The absolute scariest thing for me now is to have my love rejected. Initially, it was nearly impossible to put myself in situations where it could. But, I had to. In order to move beyond that paralyzing fear of rejection, I had to still open my arms in love- especially to children.

My niece and nephews have been a balm to my hurt heart. So has another friend's boy, and our former neighbor girls. It's amazing to me how each little choice I make to risk love, risk being rejected has strengthened my capacity to love. I was telling S the other day that the "fist bump" is quite helpful. Kids are kids, and if they don't want to give affection, they're not going to. So saying goodbye can be rough on the adult who gets pushed away or ran from- especially when their heart is hurting. But the poor child doesn't want to give affection-and shouldn't be forced to.  They'll give a fist bump though- and it may even put a smile on their face.