The boys have been home for almost 8 months. It has been an amazing, stressful, fun, sad, exciting, tiring 8 months. You get the idea? A full range of emotions. I am stunned by how God can heal hearts and create families. Life is a journey, be it with children, spouses, friends, family. It is an incredible journey.
Just when I think we've made so much progress I am reminded that life is a journey. That is okay. Life feels like a handful of emotions for me these days and I'm learning to be thankful for that. I'm glad I can feel emotions. It would not be healthy if I could not. I'm trying to live in the moment and choose the joy of the Lord that is indeed ever present. Sometimes that is very, very easy. Sometimes that is very, very hard.
I have a little story to tell. My little boys are always with me. It is rare that they are not by my side ... hanging on my legs ... tripping me as I try to walk. I love it. I get irritated with it. (There is that dichotomy of emotions again) One morning about a week ago I was getting ready for the day. I turned on "Curious George" for the boys so that I could finish getting dressed and do my hair and make up. I plugged in my hair straightener and turned around to grab my sweater. While I was putting on my sweater Buche touched my hair straightener. He knew he was not supposed to touch it. I've told him many times it is hot and it would hurt him. I also know that he understood. I don't believe it was a language issue of him not understanding me. He touched it because he is a curious toddler. His finger got burned.
But, here is the deal. It is his response that shows me that there is so much more healing that needs to be done in his little heart. It shows me that life is a journey ... for all of us, really. He walked out of the bathroom holding his finger. Totally emotionless. I asked him is he touched my hair straightener. He didn't respond. I asked him if his finger was hurt. He didn't respond. His face, his voice, his body language was all quiet, expressionless ... shut down really. The first words that he said to me was "I love you mommy". He had a blister on his finger. I held him. He did not cry. It was not until later that day when he was playing with his tractor and it was hurting his finger to push it that he told me he was hurt.
Now, this child is not always emotionless. He fights everyday with his brother and sisters and is very quick to come crying and whining about someone else's behavior or a wrong that was done to him. And, I am feeling really, really good about where his attachment is to me. But, when he did something that he knew was not okay; something that I had warned him not to do and got hurt, he didn't want to tell me. He didn't want to talk about it. He let me comfort him, but he didn't ever cry. It reminded me of the first months we were home from Ethiopia. Whenever he was hurt he never cried. He cried to get his way but not when he was hurt whether that be his feeling hurt or at times like when he got his cast off his leg and his leg was physically hurting. I thought we were past that, but I can see that is one place we need to work on. From what we know he has been the strong one of the two boys from the very beginning. He takes care of his brother yet to this day. He makes sure he gets his food, gets his clothes, gets his toy, gets to have his turn.
Sweet Buche is teaching me a lesson. Sometimes I do not do what I am supposed to. Sometimes I get burned. I may even burn others in the process. Sometimes other people in my life burn me. Sometimes it is the people that I love and trust. I know my little guys can relate to that thought process at their own developmental level. But I do believe that allowing ourselves to feel the emotions of whatever situation we are in is okay. I'm learning that what I do with those emotions is the critical point of either healing or not healing. Sometimes it feels like I spend a lot of my prayer time crying out to the Lord asking why there seems to be so much hurt in this world. He is reminding me that He is the joy. In Him ... in His Joy I have strength to carry on. I have strength to make a difference as He calls me to. I can forgive and I can ask for forgiveness. Letting the ones that love us comfort us or rejoice with us in each given circumstance feels right. And, then moving on in truth and love is where I need to walk. That's the path I am trying to teach my kids to walk in too.
"... the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10