Have you ever watched the TV show Parenthood? I love that show. I never watch it on regular weeknights because it doesn’t come on until 10 and I’m lamely in bed by then. No really, I am. This girl needs her sleep, followed by an IV of coffee to function. But that’s not the point I’m going with, back to Parenthood. I don’t watch it during the week but I do take it up on Hulu when I work out at home. It’s my guilty pleasure and payment to myself for suffering the stationary bike that is sooooo dull it makes me want to poke my eyes out. If I don’t have my trusty laptop and a segment of Parenthood to watch, that is. If you don’t watch the show (which you should) I’ll give you a little backdrop to what has been hitting close to home lately. One of the couples, Julia and her hubby spent quite a bit of time trying to get knocked up again after their daughter Sydney was born. But when that didn’t work, they went to adoption and from there endured a heart breaking fall out on adoption day. Their next step was foster care, through which they were placed a 9 year old boy. Any of this starting to ring a bell for you? Lord, it’s like a snapshot of my life in so many ways, but with a couple major differences too.
So this boy, Victor and Julia have a pretty rough go of things. And what I love about the show is that it doesn’t sugar coat the process. Adopting from FC is not all sunshine and rainbows, and at times it is downright mind-numbingly difficult and you wonder if you will make it through the next hour, let alone the day or the rest of your life. And so many times as the characters roll through the events and emotions, you see the betrayals that they face and have to come to terms with. And aren’t we all facing our own entourage of hurts and betrayals? As a mom, a friend, a daughter, a wife, an employee and so on and so forth? We all carry those ribbons of pain and thorns in our hand that cut deep and never seem to heal. I look back on my own past and often wonder what has happened. How have the friends who I had thought were so dear suddenly become like vicious vipers with poison on their tongues? Was it my fault, trusting some one who I shouldn’t have, or was I in error at some point, causing the destruction to rain down on me? And why, if it was them, do their lives seem so brilliant on the other side? Why is it that I can’t seem to find a church to call home? A fellowship that feeds me and in return I can spread the encouragement back? What have I done as a mother to cause the words and actions that I receive in return? Betrayals, betrayals. We can count them and keep them, feeding the fire and processing the loss. Tacking up our tally marks like lipstick on the mirror.
Its hard not to get caught up in them. To see what seems to be the perfect life on the computer screen or smart phone and compare it to yours. But then it’s also true what they say: the grass is greener where you water it. There are days, when I feel like Julia, when I’m wading through the betrayals that seem hip deep and I wonder how I can go on. How I can continue in this hot mess. And then I look to my God and I wonder how He can continue to love me, through all the times that He has seen the hot mess that is me, and knows my own betrayals to Him far better than I do. How can He continue to love me, when I am so far from the perfection that lights His world and the beauty He has created. I was searching my bible one day with this on my mind, wondering how I could forgive some one who had damaged, not just wounded, but damaged my soul, when I came upon this verse in Lamentations:
Oh. His mercy doesn’t end. And not only that, but each day it begins again. Each day He wipes the slate clean and gives me the chance to start fresh. His faithfulness is so deep, so true, that no matter the wounds of my heart and soul, no matter the poison that rolls off my own tongue, He can forgive. God doesn’t only water the grass on His side of the fence, He waters it on mine. Now here’s the tricky part: I have to let Him. It’s easy to be angry. It’s easy to let it fester and see how fabulous some one else’s life is. To acknowledge their pregnancy when my body will never be capable. To see their trim figure when I am once again waylaid by injury. To watch them laugh with their friends and family, knowing that those who are close to me are so far away. Anger is a right tidy little companion, and it is easy to feed with that long list of betrayals. And far more quickly than we anticipate, anger multiples and takes over, and we’re left with our long list, our own poison and withered grass.
So what do we do. I don’t pretend to know the answers, but I think there’s only one thing we can do. Each day we recognize as a new day, with a new slate and a new opportunity. Each day we offer mercy to those who harm us, and faithfulness to those who surround us. And each day, we water our grass.