Monday, September 12, 2011

Sterling Mei: (3) Embrace of a Giraffe

I am held captive tonight by a concept... a memory that holds my mind in a breathless sort of stasis. Sort of like Han Solo when he was Carbon Frozen in Jabba's palace, but with an amount more of grace and beauty. Perhaps more like an early blooming spring flower that was captured in a freezing rain.

Caleb was newly born and it was deep into the night. We were approaching the early hours of the morning. Not yet time for daybreak, but at that point when the night seems to give up a bit of its depth. I was roaming through the house as I often do and I heard some soft cries.

Now, while I refuse to classify myself as an insomniac... I will admit that sleep for me is a very deep and brief episode. Even then... I dream vividly and profusely. I am captivated by my dreams, but that is a discussion for another time.

As I quietly padded through the darkened hallway I heard the movements of our new son. He was our first child, and as with most first-time parents... I was both terrified and smitten by his reliance of us. I turned the corner of his room and his soft cries immediately stopped as his eyes met my own.

I am convinced that time is relative. I know this because I have witnessed it's arrest. This was one of those moments. The universe paused as we reflected the light between our eyes. He was my son... I was his father... and we fulfilled each other's completeness.

I reached down and pulled him to my chest and nestled my nose into the top of his head as his tiny body melted into my embrace. Kellie and I had drawn a Giraffe of the wall of his room that looked down over the top of his crib, alongside the mobile and the soft glow of the crib light. (I am delighted when I reflect on the stuffed giraffe that grabbed the attention of my heart in Guatemala on our 2010 trip... it seems that at times God speaks if we are willing to listen). The worries of the day, the mistakes of the past, and even the dark unknowns of the future were forced into silence. The truth of this moment commanded the attention of my existence.

Message received Loud & Clear
This is my Path.
I knew then that I no longer lived for myself alone. It is good for me that I reflect on this now. So much of my life can get caught up into what I want... and it is easy to be deceived. Everything I want was held in that moment... that time-stopping, eternal moment 11 years ago. When I think of it, when I really pause to close my eyes and remember it... I understand that time continues to stand still, and I find my truth there.

And my daughter now... her smile into my face stops the movement of the hands of time that scrape in my head daily. I am so thankful to have her endless love each day. God somehow reached down and found her thousands of miles away... and placed the seeds of the best of me and the best of my wife deep within her being.

It is not always a given for me to cling to my faith. It is not always easy for me to believe in this unseen God who reigns in heaven while the earth burns. It can be so easy to strike the earth, smite my chest and cry out, "Why me!?" when things go wrong.

And then... I see the eyes of my children and my soul is both warmed and broken. You see... I am reminded of two things: what God has done to save my soul, and what I must do for these young eyes that trust who I am.

People speak to me of what a good thing it is that we do when we adopt. I try my best to explain to them that they have it all wrong. I don't mean to offend them... but I am terrified when they conceptualize that what we are doing is somehow to be admired. It is not.

It is, to some degree... terrifying. When we take on the adoption of another, we accept the responsibility of living lives that reflect the relationship of God to his people. Will these children see God reflected in the way we live our lives? You see, we adopt because we WANT to. It stems from a selfish place. We want a daughter from China. We want to feel her embrace.

I believe that all humans are selfish creations. We, after all are created in the image of a selfish God. But I don't mean selfish in a negative connotation. Where we go wrong... is when we focus our selfishness on things that are not: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.

Our motives are indeed selfish. My prayer is that our selfish nature is in line with the reflection of the one who holds our gaze in the dark of the night.

You see... adoption for me is a necessity because I am seized by this concept that I am this baby that is fully reliant on his father to survive, and that it is God's hands that reach down to pick me up.

And so this is that moment when we wait. Although we have waited for over five years... the waiting once again is palatable. It is heavy in the air we breath. We are close enough that our spirit captures the enormity of the emotion and we sense again the shifting of our fates.

When we live out the gospel of Christ... it changes how we see the world. Indeed... it even alters the flow of time in our conscious. 

Each day is immeasurable. Accept those moments before time seizes your embrace.

I was exhausted today... and my father called to see if Caleb and I would go with him to the local park. I told him no, I just needed the afternoon to rest. And then I stared at the phone and realized that I was allowing a moment to pass my by. A moment that someday I would not be able to reproduce... and I knew that I had to embrace it NOW. And so I picked up the phone and called my dad...

...and as I reflect on this day, I am so glad that I did. These are those moments that will last. I look forward to these coming months and I am thankful to be poised at this opportunity. I used to spend so much time worrying about who I was to become... and now I am starting to see that life is simply about embracing who we are and living our believe with passion.

And God has filled my life with an abundance of opportunities... paddles in the water... here we go!

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said Chad. I understand and agree about the selfish part of adoption. We adopted because we wanted to little girls and it was and is a terrifying responsibility. But I know they were born to be our girls!