Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dreamers


I need you to know that your prayers and your sweet words to me on yesterday's post had me teary-eyed off-and-on the entire day. It's been two weeks since Robert went back to the work release center, which is why I was finally able to write about it. I was settling in to the change and believed my tears were over, at least for a while.

Not so.
Not with you guys.

It's funny how things can still be so raw, but we don't fully even realize it.

Thank you for caring so much about us and especially about him. Thank you for reminding me of what is true. Thank you for pressing me to not give up. And thanks for being a safe place for me to tell the truth about things. Even when it's hard and the glass is half-empty with a crack up the side. The prayer I'm praying for him right now is this.

After reading several of your comments, I drove into town for a last minute lunch date with Cory. I will not waste your time by telling you what we ate. :)

We had time to talk about what happens next, our community and our family. We're ready to invest more and there are far too many names and faces we don't know yet. We want to know them.

I wish you could drive down these streets with me and see the pain in the faces who life near us, though you have the same streets near you. I'm sure of it.

I still look away sometimes. Other times I wave and they look back at me with so much brokenness, their expressions ranging from numbness to disgust. I feel like they aren't used to a stranger like me waving. I guess it's a start.

Last weekend I spent two unbelievably restful days with this lady. When we were awake, we were talking up a hot streak, about all the stuff that matters most and about what it means to really love.* It was everything I needed, and I'm not just saying that because I had the same beet salad with goat cheese twice in two days. It didn't feel frivolous to drive seven hours to see a friend, it felt necessary. I was in desperate need of a trap door.

Driving home on Sunday, Pink sang to me.  

So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty, gritty, dirty, little freaks


Okay, the song is highly inappropriate in places. But all I could think is, she wrote a song to all these people who feel like she has felt. They needed a rally cry, and this is it. This isn't child's play here. It's not just silliness or a bid for attention. There are people everywhere who raise their proverbial glass to her words, and it has nothing to do with the catchy hook. It means something to them in a way I'll never understand. It means something because it's what they believe. It's how they feel.

They wear the labels we hand out. What else can they do?
We have marginalized people around us.
We've pushed them down with our words and our actions.

I don't know.

It's easy to judge people and singers and songs and all the things that aren't like us, but we've lived different lives than theirs. We'll never understand the depth of their angst or how we've helped create it.

Tonight, a little boy from our block broke the neighbor's swing. He's a stocky fellow.
I was helping Cory not ten feet away and I heard Silas say, "Nolan broke the swing because he's so...strong." Whew.

It didn't matter.

Nolan fled. I found him in a heap across the street.

"He called me fat."

While nothing with Siley is outside the realm of possibility, I knew that wasn't what he said. But Nolan broke the rusty swing, and as I crouched in the dirt beside him, rubbing his back, it was so obvious that this boy has lived all six of his years trying to claw out from underneath these words that shred his heart.

We wonder why there's so much pain out here. And in here.

Jesus is our fixer. He's their fixer. He's the only one who can change our thinking and help us see people (and ourselves) in the light of blinding truth.

I wore a new t-shirt to my hot lunch date because I'm obsessed with Sevenly and I said I'll do whatever I can to help. The work they do? It's Jesus work.

This week they're raising awareness for Show Hope to connect orphans in Asia with adoptive families in the U.S. By doing something as simple as buying a t-shirt, you're helping provide financial grants, which allow families to bring their children home.

Sometimes this world looks grim. There are young men in jail across town and shoeless kids with tear-streaked faces just across the street. There are wounded people on every side. They're bleeding out and it terrifies us. It's so hard to know how to help. It's so hard to believe we can, sometimes.

But I'm a dreamer.
And I hope I'm not the only one.


*Meg's giving away a copy of Love Does! You should try to win it. SO GOOD.

30 comments:

  1. hey lady. all I have to do is walk down the streets of fairmount to see the hurt and despair. we're a small town, mostly a rental community, multitudes of our munchkins are on the 3 month plan (1st month rent, last month rent, the month in between). I want to help our toddlers in our kids church class. we have a class of lovelies whose families didn't event attend our church until we opened up the class. I can't be the fixer but I can be used by Jesus to love, show grace, and help in any way possible.
    you and your blog mean so much to me (im not creepy, really - weird, yes )
    ok that's it I've got nothing cool to say
    just thank you
    praying for Robert. his children. your littles.

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  2. Shannan, wow between yesterdays post and today I am so blow away by your words, feeling and openness. Thank you for sharing your heart with us all. I do have to add that we are a foster family, seeing some of these kids and what they have been living through hurts, just plain old HURTS! Never really knowing "am i doing this right" and "am I making a difference"! You know what I've come to learn, as long as your showing love you are DOING IT RIGHT. I really only learned that recently when I REALLY let let God run my life, instead of trying to manage it all. ~hugs~ Hang in there and I will keep you all in my prayers!

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  3. when i drove away from rehab that first day i felt like i could fly. it was a two year journey-but she was there. she's nearly my own age-so i can't say i've adopted her-but she's my friend and i love her. 2 weeks later and she walked out. she asked us to come and get her and my husband held my hand while i said no. so she walked out. and she went back to the old ways...well kindof. when we first met she was homeless...she hasn't lost her section 8...whew!

    but tho 'i'm in over my head...and becoming part of the past' as the Fray says....it occurred to me that she went back, yes. but my grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches and cups of tea and long conversations are now a part of her story. and so she's not going back the same. and that gives me hope. whatever it is God was doing those days at the kitchen table, we're not just a part of her past, we're a part of her future too.

    and so when she comes back around we'll still open our door and my daughter will play with her daughter and i'll give her half of my lunch and in the mean time i think i'll pray that philippians verse too....

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  4. oh I love this, she went back, but she's not going back the same. encouraging. beautiful.

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  5. Hey Shannon...I have lived the path you are on for the past 12 years...the days of hope, followed by a return to the old patterns- and the maddening ability to adapt to whatever the circumstance, leaving me speechless and wondering if ANYTHING has ever made a difference...my son appears to be ambarking on trying to reinvent himself in a new state- which of course means he will be out of physical reach- frightening to say the least, but perhaps what is needed. All I can do is PRAY.
    Will include your family and Robert in particular in my prayers- hang in there- it's what we must do!!

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  6. OY- really need to proofread before I hit publish- "embarking"...geesh!

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  7. Hey Shannan,
    Do you watch Parenthood? I ask because at one point Julia has to decide if she's willing to commit. Forever. And, that's what you and Cory have done. Committed, forever. Being there, walking alongside, NOT LEAVING might speak louder than any words you could ever say to Robert, the littles, or the community. When Robert hears the words that tell that his heavenly Father will never leave him...well, I don't know Robert. So, I'm guessing here. There are a lot of us who don't know what that would even feel like. But, there you and Cory are. Dug in.

    I'm praying for you and your family. And, I'm so thankful to be able to hear the stories and be challenged by things you share. And, yes, middle class answers aren't the Gospel. I think I need to hang out with some 80 year olds - who have the wisdom of the ages and who have pondered before me..and learned.

    Hey, I think there should be a shirt, "Committed until I'm committed."
    Wudja think? ;)

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  8. thanks for the heads up about what Sevenly is doing. bought a shirt. yay for Sevenly.

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  9. The rawness and honesty in your stories are the closest to church that I've been in years, other than my own meditation. It's all of the organized religion that I can't seem to get down with anymore. I didn't even read yesterday's post mainly because Jesus was in the title. I'm glad you shared it again today. I've always been a dreamer, and I'm glad I'm not the only one. I really adore, admire, and appreciate you.
    ps - the video with Robert - where he laughs? I totally smiled and it warmed that tender spot in my heart. As a momma, and the sister of a brother doing time... and I say this with love... I want to smack Robert upside his head.
    Keep on keeping on.
    xo

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    Replies
    1. Okay, so your honesty here broke me a little.
      In a good way.
      Thanks for being vulnerable. Church is not always Jesus, though it sure can be.
      So thankful He loves us through all of our confusion and all our feelings and ways.
      And Your last line made me LOL!!! :)

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  10. I just need you to come to SC and tell your story. I've been talking to my church and I am going to make it happen. How can I convince you?

    Yesterday's post left me speechless. Every time we think our Big Kid has lost hope, your story challenges me to reign him back in.

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  11. Jesus is our fixer. He's their fixer. He's the only one who can change our thinking and help us see people (and ourselves) in the light of blinding truth...YES! THIS!

    I have had the incredible privilege of holding the hearts of several different women just this week. I knew I could not fix them, but I could love them and speak words of blessing over them as they walk out this story of redemption!

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  12. We are a Show Hope family! We received a much-needed grant from them to help bring our daughter home. Love love love the ways they love and serve.

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    1. YAY!!!! Thanks for this comment. So awesome to see *the real people* our dollars are helping.
      So much love to you and your fam!

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  13. Buying a T-shirt (love Show Hope!) and dreaming with you from Chicago. So inspired by your family! You ARE helping. No doubt.

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  14. I read what you write and my heart cry is, "do this in me God!" I need him to change me from the inside out. I don't know where to start but I do know that what really matters is what we do for Christ and I'm praying that he leads me the way I'm to go.

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  15. You are doing God's work in your little corner of the world. You have found your mission field. Continued prayers for you and your family.

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  16. i can't explain it. you articulated your thoughts better than i ever could. what you have been writing about for the past couple days....it is something i am so plagued by. but this thing today....wow. it made so much come to light. we think the "influential, popular crowd" dies once we leave high school....because it is non-existent, for the most part, in our college days. but then we wind up back in that place in society, where one group of people calls the shots and labels the outcasts. and i'm so guilty of it. and i'm so ashamed...yet i feel so powerless. this is something to chew on for awhile. thank you for sharing your thoughts and not being afraid to let them flow freely.

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    Replies
    1. Thank YOU for this right here. You're making sense to me, and you're helping articulate things in MY heart.
      We all have to do better, right??
      Much love to you today.

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  17. These posts, as with all of yours, are heartbreakingly beautiful. Thanks for so openly sharing your heart and life with us. It is a gift of great magnitude. Praying for you to feel encouraged and hopeful and at rest in God's steadfast love for you, and for R. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

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  18. That shirt is AMAZE! My 13 yr old daughter has been looking for a baseball tee. How cool will she look in one with Lennon inspiration? Just proudly ordered it from that great company! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Woo hoo!! I hope she loves it.
      It's SO soft. I will definitely live in mine.
      Right now I'm wearing one of their "aDOption" baseball tees.
      Sevely t-shirts for the win!!!

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  19. I love that thing you do where you suit your aspirations to your current circumstances, & refresh them as needed.

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    1. And I like the way you make it sound almost like it makes sense. Or something. :)
      xo

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  20. I'm a dreamer too! - you're not the only one...Take it moment by moment and trust God knows what He's doing. Sometimes the need and the wrong all around is overwhelming...We can't fix everything, but we can start with the ones that cross our path. God put them there for us to not only help them, but for them to teach us. I have a 19 year old son that is making all the wrong decisions. And it breaks my heart. I raised him in church, taught him right from wrong, loved him & love him -but inside he battles and I can't fight it for him. I can't make my faith his faith. I just keep fighting FOR him. You know what I mean? He has to learn God's truth for himself & make his faith his own. So I'm here living the Word before him the best I can. Letting him learn from his consequences and still loving him with all of my heart. I'll never give up. God never gives up and neither will we. Nothing is more powerful than God's relentless love for us and in us.

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    1. "I can't make my faith his faith. I just keep fighting FOR him. You know what I mean?"
      Uh...yeah. I know EXACTLY what you mean.
      Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone in this fight.

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  21. My heart hurts for Robert, and for you. We took two nearly grown boys from far away into our home for a year or two, and they became as much our beloved sons as our own three littles. I love them so much it hurts. They're back in their own countries right now, and flourishing, and I'm so proud and happy... and sometimes lonesome. This is what I'm praying for them (and me) this week:

    Eph 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
    Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

    I'm adding Robert to that prayer. ((hugs))

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    1. I'm so glad I read this comment... this is an awesome thing to pray. I am also praying for you all and Robert and his children. I can't get him and them off my mind. They need a "father" in their lives. If not Robert, I hope God sends others to encourage, lead, and LOVE them so that they will not repeat this pattern of living. I have seen it lived out and it is so important that children...and especially boys...have a strong, positive male role model.

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