Have you ever felt at odds with the world?
Like you were convinced that your chosen path or idea was the one, but support, encouragement and consensus were all so lacking?
I found this picture for today’s post and thought it was just perfect on a couple different levels for conveying the ethos of my message.
First the little girl’s wonder woman costume… In most all superhero stories there is a moment of isolation for them. They are naturally at odds with the world because they are not natural themselves.
The super hero is a foreigner-not endemic to the neighborhood, community or species. So of course their chosen path, their decided way will forever be at odds with those around them… even whilst saving lives and restoring hope, this isolation remains.
And so the little girl sits alone, almost forgotten, relegated to the curbside enjoyment of her dairy confection. Not that the little warrior princess is concerned for calories yet, she seems as if to say, “screw you guys then, I’ll sit here and eat my ice cream bar.”
My wife and I have found a similar truth to hold steady in our lives, in our own pursuit of putting love in action. Our family, truly pushed by my wife’s vision and hope, has been a part of a foster adoption journey for some years now (if you include the time it took us to get licensed and approved.)
Though we had always talked about adoption when we were early dating and even just after getting married, it was a whole different pivot point after having had a few biological kids already. Somehow, some way we managed to get our first placement two summers ago, and with no guarantees at any point, the placement of Selah became official when she was adopted this last December.
You might say: how could anyone have a bad thing to say about that?
But folks will oppose any manner of good thing. Especially if it is other-worldly.
You see the opposition for us in the decision to take on another baby from the county, for example, carries with it a more subtle variety than what some other love pioneers and revolutionaries might receive. People just kind of pragmatically question and doubt and probe… and they often incredulously ask the direct question “foster-adoption, are you sure?!” While there are a ton of outright haters, I will tell you: the share of cheerleaders, champions and voices of encouragement are few and far between.
You can imagine the responses when we decided to say yes to another fost/adopt placement less than a month from when our previous baby was adopted, bringing the grand total of (potential) Applebee children to 5-what is a SHOCKING and, for some, HORRIFYING number to think about by today’s “standards” (whatever that means).
Honestly once again the responses are just kind of dull. If people-our family or friends-have concerns they are largely keeping silent about it.
It’s not as if we are counting on people holding a parade and constantly praising our heroism, but here is just one more example of how our chosen path is just… different, different in the way it is received and understood… definitely different in the way that it is valued.
About two weeks ago Rylee (my wife) got the call for this baby and then drove out to the hospital and picked him up. That afternoon a 3-day old baby boy was added to our family. We picked up a baby. We just went and drove and got a baby. Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
So okay, yes, foster adoption placements like these are probably one of the most hilariously unnatural things around. One moment you got 4 kids and then the next you got 5 and without all the build up of a labor and delivery… and without the pregnancy announcement, without the gender reveal (party, nowadays), without the baby shower, without all the shopping, without all the fanfare, definitely without the maternity/paternity leave.
So I’ll confess, as a result of the overall lack of understanding and value, we are left feeling a little alone, a little isolated… like the little girl and her ice cream bar.
And while it’s not that people try to murder us, imprison us or send us back to krypton, there are days were the lack of support and encouragement remind us of a couple very key principles:
That we are never alone when we are holding fast to God-breathed vision.
That we are never closer to God then when we obediently follow his will.
That we are never living, loving, acting for an audience greater than 1.
That saying yes to giving life, hope and love is a defiant business, but get used to it. For it puts the grandest smile of all on your Father’s face.
If you’ve ever felt this way about any act of love or hope that you’ve taken then rest assured you are in good company. Perhaps the best of company.
Assemble any list you like of pioneers and iconoclasts: the Wilberforce’s, the Bonhoeffer’s, the Rosa Park’s, the Martin Luther’s, the Jesus Christ’s of Nazareth… make the list you want so long as they went against the grain in the name of love.
And I cannot help but leave you with a biblical truth here. Because of course if Christ was going to call you to this work of love he was surely going to outline some words of expectation and encouragement. Here is what Jesus said:
22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way. -Luke 6
So what’s your call to action that you’ve been putting off? What’s the God-sized vision that you’ve been called to that has been minimized by the voices of the haters? Or what’s your list of love pioneers and hope revolutionaries?