|Her third and very determined attempt to seize the remotes. I sat in amazement |
as she moved the box across the floor and used it to raise her higher in order to reach the tray.
I find it difficult to step back into my everyday life. It is difficult to take the occupational worries that I laid down upon leaving and to pick back up their concrete and functional representation--my Blackberry. The image of rows of abandoned babies in cribs is still raw around the edges of my mind. Individual faces look up at me still with outstretched arms.
Now... I know that there are a million causes in the world, and everyone seems to have one. Some just feel like a worthy distraction to me though, when the simple action of a life on a life can change the world. Sterling, you have changed mine.
While there is a deal of effort and preparation that are necessary to complete the in country part of an international adoption, the real challenge can be in the days that follow. These are critical moments. I am now establishing my relationship to you for the rest of our lives. You will base your concepts of trust and love from the experiences you share with me and your mother. The values that we show you of goodness, and of the need to work for what you want, and to never envy from others what you do not get, the ideal that fairness is far less important than how you treat others... these are things I hope that we can give to you. We are never entitled, we are not deserved, we are simply children of God with a few simple, yet incredible promises:
He will never forsake us, He will not tempt us beyond what we can bear... He will always provide a way out. He will, however give us more than we can handle... frequently. It is in these moments that we are to find His perfect strength, and simply to trust. This is easier when we understand that our life is not our most important asset. Our lives are forfeit. We are promised an eternity that far exceeds this existence, and yet you will see so many who cling to it at the cost of everything. What you do for others becomes what you have done for God, and nothing else will matter in the end.
You will see all sorts of injustice around you: to others, to those you care for, and even sometimes to you. You must not allow this to destroy you. You cannot allow the actions of those who are misguided, hurt, or malicious to cause corrosion of your own character. Your actions must never be a result of someone else, but rather they should be a consistent reflection of your character. Remember that true character acts, it does not react.
Religion is garbage, all forms of it. When humans try to organize and categorize God... well, it is always disastrously. Our salvation is not based on any checklist, scorecard, or even fear. It is rather simple. Always approach God as a child. Look up to Him and love Him. Allow Him to love you... and actively accept forgiveness. Don't walk past a need. Love people. Pray to God that He fills you with love for Him, and a love for others. Keep God as your focus. Like Peter on the waves, it is only when you take your eyes off Jesus that your life will start to sink. When you feel the water rising... notice where you have your gaze.
No matter what people tell you, politics are important. People who say otherwise have their heads in the sand and will be held to account for the stands that were never taken. There simply is no greater sin than recognizing what is right... and then walking away, looking away, and doing nothing. It not only allows evil to thrive, it also separates you from God. We are not built to live with guilt. We are built to live like sons and daughters of God. Let your voice always be heard, and always be a voice that is carried on the winds of your beliefs. Morality matters. Your belief matters. Your salvation and relationship with God should flow out of you and be evident in your daily life. This is not religion.
Freedom, like salvation is a personal, individual experience. Neither can be gained by a collective. You are personally responsible and accountable for what you do and how you deal with life. Things will happen out of your control. Like my father told me when I was a teenager, "that's the breaks." Don't linger there. Pick yourself up and fight. You matter. The founder's of our nation got it right... you are endowed by your creator with rights that are yours by His hand. Don't be confused by "pursuit of happiness." This isn't a license to do whatever you want. Happiness is achieved only by reconciling your action to your belief.
And yet... you must always ask God to guard your heart. It is critical to be aware that our mistakes come with consequences, and at times can be painful. Even so, the pain can be used to create beauty. The pain can also be used to help others, and this will in turn help to heal your own soul.
Be cautious of those who tell you what you can't do. Most of the time they are blinded fools. The discoveries of the world were never made by those who accepted can't. If it can be rationally imagined, then I imagine it can be rationally done.
Don't be afraid to win. Play to win. Understand that losing is a disappointment that leads to learning how to win. Be willing to lose. Be gracious whether you win or lose. Never laugh when you lose, and never taunt others when you win and be a good sport. Friendships and relationships are more important than winning. Your integrity and reputation are more important than winning... but still, play to win. Never accept an award for participation.
Education is important, but is not limited to formal means. If you chose academia for knowledge, do so knowing that your teachers and professors are at times wrong. Always question them. Do so with respect. You can measure their character by how they deal with your respectful disagreement. Never take what you hear as truth. People talk from their perspectives, known and unaware. Even science has a limited understanding of reality. Follow your gut. If your eyes are focused on God, it will not lead you wrong.
Live your life in a way that you make a difference for generations to come. Die exhausted and broke. Leave it all on the field. You can never out-give God. Be wise, and at the same time... learn to live with a degree of fear. Harness that fear to guide you. Do not seek a safe life. You can't have it anyway.
So... that is enough for now. Right now you are keeping me very busy with chasing you all over the house. I am amazed at how clever you are. I have never seen a 14 month old stand back and problem solve the way you do. You will keep me on my toes... of this I have no doubt. Kellie and I have our hands full with three very intelligent children. We hope to always keep you on our side! If you team up against us... we will be in trouble!
We have only been home for two days now, and our doors have been wide open. You are exceedingly loved. You have been held, hugged, and kissed by so many friends and relatives, I must confess to them that I can no longer remember who all has been here. Tomorrow we have another round of those who are coming to meet you for the first time. I am so thankful and so appreciative of their love for you.
I will confess, I have sat down the past 2 nights to write this P.S. to you, and each time I have fallen asleep at the keyboard. You do not like to sleep at night, the 13 hour time difference has been difficult for us all. Each day is a little bit better though, and I love walking through these days with you and your big brother and sister and your incredible mother. They have all been wonderful.
In some ways, I know you will grow and you will change. I will not always be running around behind you, swooping in an making you laugh... but, at the same time I see that some things never change.
I know that there is a hand that covers me even now. My biggest goal is simply that my relationship with Him is mirrored in my relationship with you.
We walk this road together. You have my love. Always.