Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Price of Good

There are times in my life when second guessing devastates me. When balance becomes nearly unreachable, when the demand is so much greater than the resource...the only solution is truly a miracle.

Do you believe in God? In His design to make within us....more? More than needed, more than necessary? More than the required, the basic...the obligatory. In a swamp of "barely" and "nominal," when "good enough" seems to replace quality, I am so grateful for those who are and do and give--more.

I received a call last night. Such an incredible friend--and when we rang off, I wept. Quite simply, she does foster care. In addition to adopting a son who was born addicted and carries the repercussions of that, she has repeatedly opened her home to those children who have no where to go. I am stunned by this. They wreck her things, scream, yell, lie and steal....and she loves them with a depth that is beyond me.

She has a brother and sister now. An abhorrent history of sexual and physical abuse, they bring more baggage with them than a child should ever have to shoulder. She's had them a year....and it's killing her. Her health is rough, she's gone back to school to open employment opportunities, and while every marriage has its moments--the stress of three children, life and school and visits and court dates and uncovered expenses....is wearing the flesh from her heart and the patience from her husband. She is so tired. I was rather relieved when she told me they had decided to ask the state to find another family.

And then, last week's visit to the father.....and signs of physical contact. Distraught 3 year-old sobbing and screaming and punching...a hospital visit and medical exams. Tears are streaming down my face as I type this...how, how does a soul sink there? How can it be such a long process to prove, try, defend...2nd chances, broken promises, therapy, deception. Legal tape and procedures and....ultimately, frustration.

There is no one else.

How do you make such a choice? When is the cost too high? From a distance it is a simple thing to offer an opinion....but could you send that little girl back into the dark? Even as your own family is barely keeping above water? I am in agony for this situation, for the innocent children who have been so damaged, and for my closest friend who is entwined.

This world saddens me at times. I can almost fathom the madness of the great artists and poets--if you stare too directly at the dark for long, it seems to close in. And so we have sunrises and seasons and green twigs that bloom lovely. Fireflies and fuzzy kittens and the taste of oranges.

And each other.

Within us sleeps an amazing potential to change and grow. Unlike any other breathing thing on this planet, we can literally alter the universe. Inside how and what we choose is immense power...if we do so with intention. And sacrifice.
Being comfortable is rarely paired with giving.

Ag has changed my life. She has challenged me, humbled me....inspired me. I've never met someone who loves so fiercely....and is so much more.


Out on the prairie said...

I really respect those who do foster care. I have thought I would like to have that pitter patter of little feet again, but wonder what I might come up with, and would I have the strength to carry on.There are thousands of those little three year olds out there.I believe we learn our patterns in life in our first five years, and wonder what parents think when they make babies to be punching bags and someone to yell at.When you then look at the kids who get transfered from home to home, did they or will they ever learn better?Many become trapped in a fatal life that brought them into this world in the first place.I think if I ever found someone to share this responsibility with I would give it a try.I often say my best job I felt I have done was being a Dad.

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Lola Sharp said...

Oh, Chantel. I weep beside you. This post is written with such care and grace and love.
I have nothing but warm thoughts to give you and your friend, Ag....and those children.

The world saddens me sometimes too. And then the sun shines and an 'old' bloggy friend leaves a lovely comment. *hugs*

I am so glad you stopped by today. What a treat. Thank you.

I hope hope hope things smooth out for your sweet friend, her marriage and the children. I'm glad she has you in her corner.

Irish Gumbo said...

Often we have to take the path of most likely probabilities, even when the toll for that road is more than we feel we can give. The human animal can only bear so much...and give so much.

Life: Gin with a dash of bitters, and the taste of oranges, too.

Agnes said...

Never realized how difficult one decision could be or how many lives it could effect. Wishing I had all the answers to all of the scenerios that are playing out in my head. Praying for the judge that he would allow God to guide his heart and mind as it is he that will make the ultimate decision, I can only pray it is in allign with Gods will. Thankful for such great friends to help me think it through, to offer such sound advise and to support the decisions made... even if it's not what they would do... most importantly... for loving me thru it all! Chan... cant imagine my world without you in in!

Annette said...

Sometimes your heart just breaks when you see such pain. Especially when you have a soft heart, as you do. It is during those times that I see God's hand and His angels at work, comforting and giving strength where there is none. I hope your friend will find comfort in knowing that, whatever must happen for the good of her family, she has done what she could to give love in the world.

Thank you for your friendship. From your comments on my blog and your writings on this blog, I feel that you are a friend.

Danielle said...

This makes me so sad. I get tears in my eyes when I think of an innocent child being hurt in any way. I can't imagine the fear they feel. The hoplessness.
Your friend is a true angel!

Chantel said...

Prairie--I know, there really should be a test you have to pass to become a parent...then again, having children grew me up faster than anything else.

Marie--nice to meet you!

Lola--have missed you love, and yes--good friends make life splendid!

Irish--"gin with a dash of bitters"...you rock.

Ag--you are sunshine on a grey day love, adore you.

Annette--your kindred soul has been such a joy. And yes, she has given such love...

Danielle--makes you just want to hug your own a bit longer, eh? And thank God that no matter the track you came down or the road before you--your baby is safe.

Mom et al said...

Oh, Chantel. This strikes at my heart. This weekend I am traveling to see my best friend, to attend the memorial service of her baby who died a few weeks ago on the day he was born. Life can be so cruel, the way it allows bad parents to treat their children so terribly, and good parents who just want to hold their babies tight...empty handed. It kills me. Your friend is an angel, whatever she decides.

~ Lyndsay The Kitchen Witch said...

I saved this read over the weekend and I'm glad I did. As always, a beautiful write - this connected to me on many levels. Love to you and your friend.

Shrinky said...

My heart breaks for her. My sister (a lifetime ago) fostered. It ate her and her family up, and spat her out again. she saved a precious few, but not nearly enough. It would take several posts to describe the hopelessness of a system that appears structured to fail all of those who enter into it, be it reluctantly, willingly, good intentioned, or not, it appears we systematically and repeatedly fail the innocent and crush those who try to help. I doubt my sister will ever heal from the damge she witnessed.

Chantel said...

Maria--I am so incredibly sorry...I will be thinking of you and your friend; I cannot imagine trying to breathe after losing a child...life can indeed be cruel.

Lyndsay--thank you so much, friendship is truly the glue that holds the world together, is it not?

Shrinky--you just wrote the hurricane of words and feelings that are smashing about inside of me into a tragic but eloquent comment. I'm so sorry for your sister...I am certain she and Ag have earned their wings.