I'm speaking to the choir because I know so many of my awesome, fantastic, amazing RADical mommies have BTDT in their own way with their kiddos. So first off, here's to all the parents that still have their faith even after disruptions, dissolutions, institutions,investigations, therapies, agencies and all of the other maniacal nonsense the occurs in this RAD filled life. I think if you still have faith after all of this, you've got the strongest, most rock-hard faith of any person walking the planet, even if you never set a foot in the doorway of a church again.
Our senior pastor is very poignant. He speaks monotone, has six different lead-in stories, tells occasionally funny anecdotes to stir up the crowd but always drives home a message that leaves the parishioner thinking long after they've walked back out the church doors an hour later. Today, he talked about the blind man that was healed, recounting John's story in the ninth chapter. Forty-one verses and, as our pastor informed us, only 2 verses actually specifically addressed the nature of the blind man's healing. The verses beforehand and afterward talk about everything else, including the huge debate that ensued with the pharisees because Jesus had the audacity to heal this man on the Sabbath. Thus, the pastor said, it wasn't about the blind man at all, or the fact that Jesus did healings or that the pharisees were annoyed by it all. It wasn't about the years the man spent blind and begging, having been born blind by no fault of his own or of his parents. No, the point of all 41 verses was to reveal to the listener that Jesus could heal, does heal and that the where and why of it bears no consequence or blame.
The rest of what the pastor said, I tuned out, not because he was boring but because it gave me cause to reflect on my own situation. Which, I point out, is proof of a good sermon. Raising Sissy has nothing to do with my infertility or our choice to adopt, her abuse and subsequent RAD in addition to her dual diagnoses. It has nothing to do with the inability of the state and federal governments to meet the needs and demands of disabled persons. It has nothing to do with the sacrifices our entire family has made in attempt to provide the best possible situation for Sissy to grow and nurture. The story isn't about Sissy's rejection and/or inability to receive those sacrifices. And it's not about the grief, pain, loss, suffering, helplessness and hopelessness of it all.
No, the point of it is love.
Why have we done all of this? For love, out of love, with love. All of it has been in the name of love.
It's about the ability to give and receive love or the acceptance that love can be rejected and withheld. It's about the unconditionality of love regardless of the conditions in which love is returned, if at all.
So I learn that it's about God, after all. The author of love and creator of a faith that is built first upon the foundation of love. He, who has sacrificed more, been rejected more, been abused more than anyone in all of humanity all for the sake of love. And if you ask Him if he would do it again, He wouldn't hesitate to say yes. In fact, He'll go one step further and say of all the gifts He created, the greatest is love.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,b but have not love, I gain nothing.I Corinthians 13: 1-13 NIV
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Read this passage again, this time thinking of a RAD. Ah... how it rings true! Is this not what our RADishes are all about? Do they not sound like gongs and cymbals when they speak without the context of love? Every last word of this passage is a missive to RADs and of every passage in scripture, none speaks more truth to the purpose of our faith in Christ. Why then does it pain us so much when our children refuse love? For the same reason it pains the Holy Trinity, because it is a rejection of a perfect gift, given out of ultimate sacrifice. I ask myself, Do I care about infertility, adoption, disabilities, ridicule from the public, personal sacrifice or any of the multitudinal layers of loss? The answer is No, when love is returned, the pain of it all evaporates. I have received the ultimate gift in return. It is worth it
And when our RADlings can't or won't love, oh how it makes every ounce of loss hurt that much more.
In a religious context, did Christ feel every stripe, every blow, every last withering breath on that cross? Absolutely. Does he think of it when we return His love? No. But how much do those stripes sting him even now when we deny Him?
I ask myself one last question, Do I still believe in Christ? Do I still have faith? Because love exists, the answer must be, yes.