Graced

I was delighted when Barrett qualified to join us at the January Series yesterday:

I also caused great controversy on Facebook, by sharing that Alex got approved by Boy Scouts to carry a pocketknife, and I had declined.

But I did not decline him forever.

And I am fully aware I live in rural Oklahoma where a pocketknife is a cultural a rite of passage as was Mary’s heeled Sunday shoes she got for Christmas.

I just meant the Boy Scouts had neither warned nor prepared me for Alex to have a pocketknife, and that I was going to need a little more convincing.

Especially in a week when he had already three times stabbed a sibling with a pencil, lost fancy bed privileges for having his own cave in the hallway room, and generally not completed any task at all during school time or chores.

It wasn’t the day to ask for favors, is all I meant. End of discussion.

Barrett, however, has had an excellent week in his own personal progress kind of way, and I was so excited he got to come with me! He was delighted to go to a big kid event.

Kirk also got to come, which was perfect because the speaker was the Vice President of Walgreens, who spoke about his pioneering program of employing people with disabilities. Kirk got to listen to one of supervisors speak about her cerebral palsy and what it was like to discover she had the right and the capacity to have a regular job. He loved it! I cried!

Mary was with us, and Kyrie made it through another one before falling asleep afterward while our car was still in the parking lot!

She was in charge of carrying the leftovers, which might seem cruel but she thinks it empowers her, so I’m all for it.

Nathan pulled her out of the van and carried her inside for me, as the children scrambled out of the van to go ride bikes after being such ladies and gentlemen for a whole entire hour.

I reluctantly drove away, watching them grow smaller in my rear view mirror as I spent my night off from the hospital doing home studies for foster homes and adoptions. I check the homes for safety and readiness to host children, interview everyone in the home, do geneograms and ecomaps, run background checks, go over all the paperwork, gather the supporting documents, and type it all up into a thirty page paper before going back to the family to have everything signed. It’s a lot of work, but I am grateful for it.

It reminds me of those early days before everything happened, before our babies died, before my mother was killed, before cancer, before eighty-five children came and went, and before our six stayed. We were just happy, then, and cozy. We were expecting, even expectant.

Precious moments like that are good reminders that I will someday miss these moments, even moments like tripping over their toys and shoes left in my doorway at 5am:

I worked a double shift today, leaving home at 5:30am and working until 9pm. We got things caught up enough I got off work two hours early, for which I was grateful. I came home to sweet Nathan cleaning the kitchen and making me dinner, as I hadn’t had anything since the yogurt I got from the hospital cafeteria this morning.

I slipped away for a hot bath while he did that, washing away the hospital and long hours and sadness from missing the day with the children.

And the stress of our phone calls from Cincinnati, where they are arranging scopes and procedures and stents and cardio and swallow studies and feeding consults and x-rays for another jaw distraction, which we are trying to decline.

And the heaviness of next Friday, which is the five year anniversary of my mother being killed.

I thought of my dream last night, where the many faces of my experiences paraded before me, and the strong and wise women who led me this way gathered in a garden wearing hats. There was something I was going to tell them, some way I was going to thank them.

But now I am tired, and have forgotten.

But I remember what I felt: that I am not alone, that I am loved, that angels of God help me as He directs, and that all of it is love.

Someone told me the other day that they would not have been able to go through what we have endured with such grace.

But it’s not my grace, I said. It’s His.

It is the grace of God that has lightened my burdens, gifted me with the capacity to endure, and sent me the loving help I have needed along the way.

It is grace that holds me still, wraps me safely, and keeps me here. That is where I draw my strength. That is my comfort. That is my rest, even by candlelight.

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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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