The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

Parable, Part 2

I have just a few pages left of my "devouring" of The Return of the Prodigal Son, but I find that I'm reluctant to finish because then I'll have to do the hard work of reading it again in such a way that I actually let God change me! I've put off the last 5-10 pages for a couple of days now. Why can't spiritually maturity come more naturally and less painfully? I know it will be good and there is a lot in me that looks forward to it, but the lazy, pain-avoider part is not too keen to get started.

It seems to me that at this moment in my spiritual journey, the flesh is in sharp contrast with the spirit. Why should that be? Why is the battle so intense right now? The foes so black-and-white? There have been times in my spiritual journey that it seemed difficult to discern between the flesh and the spirit. That's not my problem now! The flesh is quite obvious, but no easier to deny. No easier to kill.

It even seems that the distinctions between flesh and spirit, although already obvious, have been highlighted all the more by the Prodigal book. The painting plays with light and dark, who's giving off the light (the father), who's receiving the light (the outwardly rebelling returner), who's struggling with the light (the inwardly rebelling returner). I've always identified more with the older brother, being the eldest in my natural family (by a whopping 5 mintues, but a 5 minutes I took fully upon myself) and never having outwardly rebelled, but long having recognized my inner waywardness, my slavery to duty and resentment. And, now, as I look at Rembrandt's painting, I see the older son in such a similar place as I--the light is so obvious, so close, so touchable, so available, so willing to have me, but I'm afraid to succumb. I don't want to give it all up. My place hasn't been so bad, so what if I haven't had a party in a while, I've been living on the father's estate and it's a good living. Being on the edges looking in is a fine enough place to be, right? Dare I enter into more? I certainly don't deserve to, any more than the wretch who went wild (something I was maybe not brave enough to do myself?). I want to go there, I want to be fully embraced by the father. I want to become like him (though I need a telescope to see the fulfilment of that journey). But, I'm hiding. I'm afraid.

I was discussing some of this with a friend who has also read the Prodigal book herself. She sent me the words of another woman who'd journeyed this path before us, in the hopes of affirming me on the journey, that I have come a little ways on this path and do display some of his character, his light, his mercy. Here's what she sent:

I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy and to be Your living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of Your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.

Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors' souls and come to their rescue.

Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors' needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.

Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.

Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.

Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.

Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me (...).

O my Jesus, transform me into Yourself , for you can do all things. from St. Faustina

And here's my response: Those "Help me" statements from St. Faustina just crumble me. The fact is **I** DON'T want to go there. I mean, come on, sincerely, willingly give myself to those I KNOW will abuse me?! It's crazy talk! But, on the flip side, there is truly nothing I want more. I really do, with all my heart and none of my flesh, want to be so like Jesus. But, I guess, I just want to be the Jesus who answered all the sly questions with wisdom and aplumb, the one who heard God's voice so purely he never had to question it, the one on whose chest John leaned and on whose feet Mary poured the alabaster jar. I don't want to be the Jesus who had no home (and the one he did have, the people ridiculed him), the one whose hands and feet were pierced due to no fault of his own, the one whose heart was burdened with the sin of all the world, the one who sincerely, willingly gave himself to those whom he knew would kill him. How will I ever reach the point that I could actually repeat Faustina's words with a modicum of truth in me? The path to that place (just asking for the help to be like that, never mind the actual being that!) seems too hard, too long, too lonely.


My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001


ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004


ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007


ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued