Last night I watched a movie that touched my heart in so many ways. I cried. Like, a lot. Now, I’m a crier when it comes to movies and Hallmark commercials. Or Hallmark movies-then I’m a goner for sure. But this movie, it got me ten ways from tear-free. It’s called Philomena, and it’s based on the true story of a woman who gave birth at a young age, and had her child ripped away from her by the Church. The heart of the story is her search for him, aided by a writer who is going to publish the story. What she finds is almost unbearable. But the real meat, that comes at the end.
At a time when her faith should be shot, and when the faith of those around her is-she goes beyond what is acceptable. Beyond what is expected. She offers forgiveness. Initially this gift is balked at, but her response is far from what her gift was: simple. This was not easy for her, it was hard. Very, very hard. But she gave it anyway. Gave it freely. And I don’t know about anyone else who has seen it
, but I know that I was blessed by it.
Such a simple word. But it packs such a punch.
I watched my children as I watched the film. Bot Bot with her hair knotted and pinned for a crazy style the next day. Lil’ Girl, singing “Let it Go” and dancing to the beat of her own drum. X-man, crafting paper airplanes and concentrating on the mechanisms of everything on earth. Each question a “why”. And the babe-slapping the floor with his chubby feet and casting me a sqinty-eyed grin.
The are mine through adoption. But I am not naive to know that there is not a loss. I once told my hubby that in our daughter’s perfect world-we wouldn’t exist. That her perfection would have been her parents choosing her over their addictions. For X-Man, who so desperately wants to know his brothers. Who has this image in his mind that they would be his best friends. That they are kind and funny and smart.
There is loss. While Bot Bot proclaims to have no interest at all or whatsoever in her birth mom, the day may come when that changes. I’ll not be surprised when X-Man wants to search for those brothers, and Lil’ Girl and the Babe may one day want to find their biological parents too.
They may want to find that piece of them that is missing, and I am trying so hard to be ready.
We are so open with the kids. They know they can ask about that part of their life, their family, and we will tell them what we know. But I ache for them. For not knowing what those roots are. For the knowledge that already has or one day will sink in that their birth parents chose addiction over them. And I try to teach them that there’s more to it than that. That addiction is a disease, but I see it in Bot Bot’s eyes, and I wait to see it in the eyes of the others-that look that says It doesn’t matter, I should have been worth it.
And how do I tell them over and over again, in a way that sinks in to the core of who they are, that they are worth it. And worth so much more.
And I look back at the screen. I feel the tears roll down my cheeks and I watch her heart ripped away from her and I know that I would feel the same. As if my soul had been torn from my body. And I don’t think I could handle it.
Philomena chose forgiveness. In the same situation, I don’t know that I would be able to offer what she did. And yet I’ve been given the same gift. Each day, with the break of every new dawn I open my eyes to the bright, shiny, newness of forgiveness. What I pray is that I can model that to my children. So that one day, when it comes time for them to recon with their past, they can give the same gift. Not because it’s for the other person, but because it will offer them so much peace in their own heart. It will not be easy. But I hope that they will see that it is worth it.