Eternally Grateful

I did it again.  I quit.  Didn’t follow through on my attitude of gratitude series.  I’ve thought about it every day and have indeed given thanks.  But, posting it here started to feel rote.  Trite.  Strained.  Not authentic (What is the opposite of authentic?  Oh yeah…fake).  I felt pressure to come up with something really profound (albeit the pressure was self-inflicted).  The truth is that there are days when I don’t really feel very grateful for anything in particular.  And, yet, I am grateful for all that I have — and I don’t ever want that to come across as fake.  I’m grateful for the people in my life.  The roof over my head.  Our jobs.  The big and seemingly small ways that God provides for our family (although, they are never really small are they?).  The list goes on and on. 

Three years ago — not to the exact date, but it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving — I got a call that changed everything.  Literally, in an instant, my whole world changed.  Forever.  It was the day that Madelyne came into our lives.  Born to drug addicted parents, she needed a home.  We didn’t know if it would be for a little while or forever.  Turns out, it was for a little while, but she changed us forever.  I don’t know if I can adequately put it into words.  The six months that she was with us were hard.  Anyone who’s had a baby knows that it’s hard, even under the most ideal circumstances.  Sleep deprivation makes you loopy.  Add to it the emotional roller coaster of dealing with social services and homestudies and bi-weekly visitations and it was a very stressful time in our lives.  But, it was also a very sweet time in our lives.  We were able to love this little girl — and our friends and family loved her as well.  And, at that time, it’s really all she needed.  She needed to feel loved and comforted and safe.  Deep in my heart, I know that it shaped who she is and will become.  I am eternally grateful for that, despite the crushing heartbreak I sometimes still feel that she is no longer with us.

It was easy to love Madelyne.  But, I was challenged – stretched – to love people that I didn’t want to love.  To feel compassion for people that I didn’t want to feel compassion for.  To be gracious, when I did not want to be gracious.  To forgive when I did not want to forgive.  And, in the midst of it all, to be a good example to my son, who was watching and learning. 

Today, my emotions are mixed.  I miss her.  I miss her a lot.  But, I am eternally grateful that I got to be her mom — even if only for a little while.

 
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