“It takes a village to raise a child…” So the saying goes. I have been a mother for only two weeks, and I’ve known this to be true ever since we started trying to grow our family. To best communicate what I intend to share regarding my village, I must first relay a story. A story not my own, but retold in my own way.
The battle was to be intense, the fighting fierce. It was an unavoidable conflict, for what was good had been clearly defined. Our man, a leader among the good guys began so bold. And why should he not? He was a man known to communicate with God, so surely he had every confidence for good reason. He told those who would be fighting for him, “I will go up on that hill, and watch as we win. I know we will, for we are for what is good. And I have God’s staff in my hands.” He took two friends, for even in certain victory, it is unadvisable to go alone. As the battle began, he raised his fist in the air, holding the staff high above his head. It was a victorious posture, struck with authenticity. Our man found that as he held his hands above his head in this way, his men would prevail, pushing back the force of darkness affronting them. When his hands would droop, the tables would turn. The right maneuver, the best intention, a vigorous start, all cannot ensure that the end comes soon or quick. As the story goes, from a place of confidence in the good of his aim, from a perspective of certainty that he was prepared for a fight, from a stance of sure victory, our man began to grow weary. Oftentimes, even in the fights that are for good causes, even in the times that we’re sure of a positive outcome, even then, it is possible to grow weary. Weary. Unable to go on. Ready to give up. Exhausted. Undone. Finished. It is fortunate for our man and for the story that he brought his two friends with him. They saw. They noticed. The acknowledged the weariness of their friend. They didn’t cheer him on with words of positivity, at least as the story goes. They didn’t chastise him for not being more prepared to hold up his hands. They didn’t question to where his confidence had fled. No. The two others came to him, one on each side. The pulled up a chair and put it beneath him, inferring no shame that our man couldn’t even do this for himself. Each friend came close, on the right and on the left. Close enough so their bodies could hold up his weary one. Our man felt a strong hand behind each of his, and felt the staff lift as his muscles gave out those his hands were held fast to the staff all the while. I imagine he dropped his head, with no shame in the presence of the love of his friends, and he cried tears of relief. And so, our man found his hands to be steady in the consistent upholding, in the humility of complete reliance, in the strength of the others. And as the sun retreated on the horizon opposite the battle field, a smear of fiery gold filling his eyes still burning from his relieved weeping, he saw that victory was reality.
Today, for me, was a day of weariness. And perhaps the fifth consecutive day of weariness as I’m here in Wichita, fighting to bring our Eden home. The long string of rotating nurses is weary to me. The paperwork for her insurance and for her special needs, which has surpassed that of adoption paperwork, has become wearisome to me. Explaining again and again why she has three previous names that are no longer what she will be called, also straining. The loneliness, the lack of distraction and comfort, and my inability to control my daughter’s health… Folks, I have been weary. If I’m honest, in the strain of hospital living, I have experienced daily hopelessness. If I’m honest, I have grown weak. If I’m honest, I have begun to despair that victory is possible, and with the Psalmist I soak my bed with tears and find food unappetizing. The very situation that I moved into with great hope and faith has brought me to the verge of failure.
Fortunately for me and for Eden’s story, I did not climb this hill alone. I brought many friends. In my moments of losing it, I have felt them. In brokenness and exhaustion, I have felt warm, accepting, and able bodies come behind my spirit and hold me up. Through words and generosity and daily reaching out, I have felt strong hands close around mine, even from miles away, that have allowed my desperate grip on my fight to… finally… let… go. A chair has been pushed beneath me, rest has been offered. Best of all, victory has been sung over me, around me, to me: it is acceptable for me to have grown weary in this fight for a very good thing, and it will be won by the many, by the others. Each day my friends and family have held me up. And tonight, in a monumental act of holding my hands up, my village back home put on an event to raise funds for our adoption. An event that should have been my responsibility. All while I stay here with our Eden. Prior to tonight, we have been given plane tickets, blankets, tea, gift cards. We have been given offers of friendship and words of encouragement by the saints that have gone through the NICU before us. We have been loved and sustained. I tell you, my eyes have wept tears of relief. Over a distance, my exhausted spirit is resting in the hands of a God, who through His people, is bringing Eden and myself home.