There is power in being fully known and still fully loved. So many things come to mind as I think about gratitude and thanksgiving. My thankfulness isn’t about things, although I am so thankful for a warm home and food to eat.
It’s about people.
It’s always about people.
I called her in a panic after we received word from the birth mother that she wanted her son back. To say I was panicked is a complete understatement. I needed my friend to come, I needed her to stay with my girls and try to make this day somewhat normal. We walked into the room where he slept and we cried together. She held him close and we cried. The ugly, wrecked kind of crying that only comes from a broken heart.
“I don’t think I can take apart his bed.”
The next few hours were gut wrenching, it was the same exchange only different this time. Last time his mother placed him in my arms and then drove off. But this time I had to place him back in her arms and drive away.
Silence filled the car as my husband and I cried. I looked back at the vehicle that took him away and then decided I had to look forward for the sake of my family.
When I walked into my home, my friend and my girls were making brownies. The girls looked happy and like little girls should.
I walked into the room where he slept and the bed was gone.
Love took it down for me. My friend did the hard thing she knew we couldn’t do.
For me to move on and heal meant that I needed to remove the traces of him and get our home looking like it did before he came. You really can’t do that with your heart, you have to let the space of who you are to be forever rearranged, even mangled. At the moment, it felt like a wrecking ball and starting over.
But, I didn’t have to feel all these things alone.
A friend will call you on the carpet and tell you that you don’t have to fake the depression that you are in. She’ll call and remind you that it’s not okay for you to go completely off the radar and not speak for months at a time.
She didn’t want to speak with the completely together version of myself, but the messed up one who might be sobbing and blowing snot bubbles from crying so hard.
Love takes all your messy and somehow lets the landscape of your “yesterday” and your “right now” look like something two people can stand on. Perhaps even trip over.
Love takes down the empty baby crib.
Love constantly reaches out and refuses to leave you in your fog of sadness.
Love takes all of you, especially the messy parts, and gives you countless things to be thankful for.
It’s about people.
It’s always about people.
It’s arms reaching out.
It’s about sitting with the hurting and helping them cry.
It’s about letting someone love you enough to see the things that you would rather conceal.
We break bread together and make some brownies. We create family without bloodlines and with no strings attached.
We bleed and we cry and we keep pressing through difficult journeys because we know that there is more.
We make our lives about people, not on building our personal kingdom.
Because it’s always about people.
In John 21:15-17, Jesus kept asking Simon Peter, “Do you love me?” Three times Jesus asked, even to the point of hurting his feelings. Do you love me? His threefold denial in the past needed a threefold answer to his calling and signing up for a life that would cost him something, even his death. Peter would answer with a pain in his heart, “Yes, you know that I love you.” Each time Peter said yes, Jesus answered back with tend to my sheep. Feed my sheep.
In that moment, I am certain that Peter felt the sting of wondering if his affirmation of love was enough.
Jesus tells Peter that loving Him well means taking care of His children, the feeding of souls. He asks us to follow Him, wherever that leads. It seems that loving Jesus isn’t enough unless we are willing to love and feed His sheep and His broken babies.
Jesus didn’t ask Peter to be perfect and have it all together, He simply asked him to love in such a way that it would require action. So many times I think we complicate this and make it so much harder than it really is. In this passage Jesus was telling Peter that it’s all about His people.
The little things that we do to love others isn’t little to them. I am so thankful for all the little things and the people that make my life so full. My heart is wrapped up in gratitude and joy.