Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The World is Getting Smaller...

But the task is getting bigger...

I have always dreamed about traveling the world, seeing famous landmarks and taking in the rich cultural histories of foreign lands and people that can only be experienced in real life. When I saw a news story once that chronicled the one-year educational journey a family decided to make with their children, traveling the world in order to teach them hands-on social studies, history, science, geography, etc, I admit the thought crossed my mind of packing our bags and driving as quickly as I could to the nearest airport. In those rare moments of wondering "if I didn't have the opportunity to be married or have children, this is what I would do..." I have pictured myself in the medical field traveling the world with organizations such as Smile Train or Doctors Without Borders. I would hope to be doing something with purpose and great personal fulfillment.

But of course that is not the path my life has taken, and I am more than okay with that. Being steward over my children has been more rewarding and personally fulfilling and challenging than i could have ever imagined, and I have never regretted becoming a mother for even a moment. In fact, being a mother, I believe, has greater power to change the world for good than many charitable organizations combined. That is a daunting yet inspiring concept!

Having the privilege to travel to a country I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I'd see in my lifetime, has made the world as I know it seem so, so small. To be able to get on a plane here in the Pacific Northwest (where every modern convenience known to man is easily at my disposal and often taken for granted) and a mere ten hours later arrive at the place where children are in an orphan crisis is proof of how small the world really is. These children are not starving for food and families in my own backyard, but they are in the time it would take to drive to my parents house and return home. They are within reach, and yet can seem so far away. And while the world is indeed getting smaller due to modern technology, the task of improving lives worldwide is now larger, as we are more aware than ever of the vast and varied needs of our neighbors both locally and globally. And there is always that lovely thing called politics that make the job of big hearts wanting to do good sometimes much harder.

So what's a person to do? This adoption experience has shown me that one person can indeed change the world, even a piece at a time. And I'm not talking about us changing Gabe's life, although his life is surely about to change, but I'm talking about my own life and heart. I am a different mother now that I have seen the motherless. I am a different spiritual worshiper, now that I have seen faith and prayer move mountains. And I am a different world citizen, now that I have seen my brothers and sisters of different languages and cultures express the universal emotions of giving and receiving love. It has been one of my greatest blessings to witness. If adoption teaches us anything, it teaches us that although one person may not be able to change the entire world, they can still be the beginning of something far greater than themselves. A quote often attributed to Mother Theresa says "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." Adoption creates many ripples. I hope that in my small world I can be a ripple of positive change.

I'm not sure exactly what I am trying to get across with all of this rambling. I guess I am just very busy in my mind these last few days before we leave to pick up the child we have imagined for so long. And I think I am extra philosophical about things because of the uncertainty that will exist right up until the moment we get back on a plane to the U.S. In the dark recesses of "what if," even if only subconsciously, my mind is trying to prepare me for the possibility of coming home empty-handed. These big life moments tend to make us reflect on the larger picture of life and how we're living it. Is all that we go through worth it if we don't get what we expected? I can easily answer yes, for no matter how cliched it sounds, life truly IS about the journey, and the beauty that comes from the most unlikely of sources. In my heart of hearts, I know that even if we come home empty-handed and broken hearted, there have been many ripples cast across a big pond, and good will continue to spread because of the plight of one small boy and how he changed our world for the better.


Thanks to those who have let me know they'd like to follow along while we're traveling. I haven't published your comments in order to keep your email addresses private, but I really have felt grateful for your reaching out to me. Hoping with all my heart this trip will be full of miracles and smiles....I am counting down the hours!

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