Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lent and the Wait

Lately, I feel like our entire lives could be summed up in various blog posts titled ____ and the Wait.  Christmas and the Wait.  Cleaning Up the House and the Wait.  Spending Time with Friends and Trying to Forget About the Wait Even When They Ask How the Wait is Going and, well, the Wait.

I try to keep this blog about adoption and related things -- so if religion in general or the Catholic religion in particular offends you, ignore this post.  Religion is not going to be a major subtopic of this blog. 

However, I do think I would be remiss if I were to lie and say that the Wait, the ever present, unrelenting Wait, doesn't effect my spiritual life.  And the optimistic part of me that hopes that everything will be A-Okay and our children will come home soon and one day some other future adoptive mama who is reading this (the way I now read blogs of families in the "kids are home" phase of adoption) with an aching spirit wondering how in the world to survive the wait will come along and hopefully be encouraged.  That part of me knows I need to talk about the spiritual/religious end of it all, because that future mother might struggle as well with the rotten stuff.

Or maybe this blog is mostly an echo chamber for me to rant -- and no one will be either offended or encouraged.

Either way, here goes.

Waiting is hard.

Everybody knows it.

Sometimes, there's a known timeline.  Little kids know how many days 'til Christmas, 'til summer vacation, 'til the family trip to Disneyland.  And there are all those little things that families do to make it easier -- Advent calendars full of chocolate, a Mickey Mouse pen to cross off days on the calendar.

Penance is hard, too.  If it isn't hard, it isn't penance.  That's why everyone knows, deep down, that giving up your least favorite food isn't a suitable Lenten sacrifice.  However, I know I'm counting down to April 20th.  I know that all the things I gave up will be waiting for me on Easter Sunday (and, in Catholic tradition, every Sunday is a "mini Easter" and penance and fasting are actually considered inappropriate).

With our adoption, we don't have an "due date."  We simply don't know what the future has in store, and there's no promises of a reprieve on April 20th.  The less patient part of me hopes we don't have to wait that long.  :P

Also in Catholic tradition, there is the concept of offering up suffering and penance for a particular purpose -- and that's something that, despite the ranting whiney tone of this post, I find really helpful in this.  Every inconvenience, every annoyance, adoption related or not, is something I try to remember to offer up for the cause of our adoption and for all the other families who wait for Kazakhstan to reopen as well.  And that includes the Wait itself.

It can really be as simple as asking the Lord to take the negative thing and use it for the good of whatever situation concerns you -- a sick relative, a slow adoption process, or even for your own spiritual development.

I'm far from perfect at this -- and in my weaker moments I wonder if this, and my other numerous weaknesses are the reason for the Wait -- but I'm working on it.  And Lent seems like the perfect time to work on it.

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