Saturday, August 4, 2012

When Helping Hurts - For Real

My people sleep quiet down the hall, three little loves and one big, and here I sit, awake, the sort of tired that makes my hands heavier than my arms were ever meant to hold.

It's been a Friday. It's been second-hand shopping, swimming, skirting. It's been cucumbers and peaches and yes, Spanish rice. It's been opening up the windows of my soul for a little airing out. It's been patience and tested patience, magazines in the afternoon, "I like you, Mommy".

Then, I swear I saw the flicker of a lost friend and it felt so good to hold her in my sight for just a breath, until the world skidded and slowed and I was left wondering if helping ever doesn't hurt.

Life was simpler when all of my people were huddled down the hall, sleeping warm and brownish. They were enough to fill my heart. They were full reason to stare dark out the window and lock eyes with the companionable streetlamp. They were more than plenty. More than I ever deserved. And their choices aren't always good, but their kind of bad can usually be wiped away with just a spray bottle and two paper towels.

But new people came and they brought all the love they had to give. They brought love they didn't even know they had, love they didn't know how to share. So we just took it. We made them ours. We didn't wait for the offer.

So we sit and watch their choices grow legs and feet. We sit at the very edge, because we know this isn't cheap entertainment. It's no spectator sport. We know the long hand is spinning until they'll need a referee or a cheerleader. A parent in the stand? A medic on the field? They'll need us. 

And we'll be there.

It will be messy and dark and the worst kind of new.

And when we can't fix a thing, when we wouldn't dare pretend that we could, we'll sit back down and feel like fools while we hope.

That's what love does, you know. It always hopes. It never gives up. It endures through every circumstance.  (NLT)