Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How Long O Lord?


I'm not okay.  I'm so weary and sad.

In some respect, sadness weighs heavy due to my hard heart and how simple it is to disconnect from the broken reality of Little Bitty's brothers after I haven't seen them for a while. If I'm truthful, my world revolves around a steady fixation of material possessions, ungratefulness, and discontent. The lustfulness of storing up earthly treasures. The ugly focus on ME, ME, ME.

It's easy to send up quiet prayers at random moments of our day when their names come off Little Bitty's lips, the sunshine spilling down on her spiraled hair, thick ebony eyelashes, and silver ballet slippers. Her brothers navigate life on the other side of town- where the everyday equates to bullets spiraling through the air that hangs heavy with robbery and bullying.

I have no understanding of the heaviness of their daily lives. There's no way for me to fully know. It grieves me that I nestle in my cozy home and often turn my head to try to forget.

Last night, my heart was full of tangled thorns like the stalks extending long, dry, and bitter from our blackberry patch. There was a meeting scheduled downtown at six o'clock and I was bitter, resentful. I wanted the coziness of my life.

"It grieves me that I nestle in my cozy home and often turn my head to try to forget."

I didn't want to deal with five o'clock traffic in a heavy rainstorm, twist through stark mazes of halls and cubicles, or deliberate in a sterile room at a conference table. I didn't want to talk about this case anymore. It seems to be endless.

Really, this is not what I wanted for my life. I've somehow surrendered that this is where He has cemented my feet; yet, I continue to cry out with the Psalmist, How long O LORD (Psalm 13). 

I parked my car in the near-empty lot, sprinted through the rain, passed through security, and boarded the elevator to the ninth floor, Child Protective Services.

As I signed the notepad at the desk, I scanned the room and was caught off guard to catch sight of the nine-year-old brother in the lobby, slumped in a black plastic chair against the sea of windows. The rain meandering down the glass like tears.

He spotted me, and his posture shifted, his face glowing bright sunshine into the dark room- eyes glimmering as we hugged and I plopped into the chair next to him. He told me the older brother was with a social worker. Their foster mom sat rigid in a row in front of us. She nodded as I touched her shoulder and said hi.

This was an adult meeting, a large portion involving discussions about the boys, and I immediately sensed my stomach swell with fear, worrying about their presence. We passed the time giggling and talking with our shoulders hunched over my phone. We flipped through videos and photos of his little bitty sister.

He said he's more like me, quiet; but, the older boy more like like Little Bitty, craving the spotlight. He sat back in the chair, pensive. His head tilted and he wondered out-loud what he would do for his birthday.

"When is it?" I asked.

"In a few weeks."

Our names were called and we passed through doors and hallways. The older brother emerged and we hugged.

The boys were sent to a room alone and instructed to stay put, as seven of us adults settled into the conference room with green Naugahyde chairs encircling the dark brown table. We shuffled notepads and pens, made introductions.

Diverse backgrounds, social statuses, and cultures, our paths only intersecting because of three siblings. 

The conference room door was propped open as the meeting began. I asked if I could close it.

No. Assurance was given that the boys were well out of earshot. No time wasted, no small talk. We jumped into a heated conversation about the case. 

Suddenly, one of the boys breezed into the room and was immediately instructed to leave and not come back. Again, the door to the room was left gaping wide. Surely our voices could be heard down the hall. There was no secret we were there to discuss them.

I had entered the room with an undercurrent of frustration, resentment, and fear brewing in my stomach, now it had risen into my throat.

Not to mention the fact that the discussion took an unexpected turn, which further wrenched my heart. I gazed to the doorway as the boy made another entrance to announce the other sibling said he was leaving and had disappeared.

An adult hurriedly pushed away from the table to search the huge, tangled mess of offices and hallways as the rest of us continued to discuss the tangled messy topics left laying on the table.

Five minutes went by and the boy was found roaming the massive building.

Alas, the meeting room door was finally closed, with the boys situated outside the glass windows so we could see them. Who knew what they heard.

I couldn't stop watching them- the wide smiling faces of two brothers tossing a Nerf football back and forth on a rainy day at Child Protective Services. Their entire life packed with unknowns, jagged pieces a tangled mess at their feet; yet the resilience and the playfulness caught my attention.

The conversation continued around me and I was lost staring out the glassed panel at the two of them. I had friends pray beforehand, specifically praying that I'd be kind and that He'd show favor- because there are things I know and have seen that quickly send me to a crazy place.

Tears filled my eyes as I realized prayers had been answered. In the midst of my anger, frustration. and personal agenda, the Father's kindness spread across my frozen heart, thawing. He cracked a window for me to gaze at something bigger, something dear to His heart.

We said our goodbyes and I drove home with cars swooshing by on wet asphalt and salty streams trickling down my face. The road ahead a blur in so many ways. 

Through the tears and ache, I mentally began a checklist for a celebration. 

Because there's a little boy about to turn ten-years-old, who very much deserves to be celebrated.


Lauren said...

Wow. This is a hard post. It reminds me of how heart ache can be constant for children in the system sometimes. I have become increasingly interested in foster care, so I will have to start following your blog to learn more :) Thanks for this.

Melanie Singleton said...

Thank you for commenting and following Lauren. It's a wild ride for sure. 😉

Shannon said...

Oh, friend... so much here resonates with my heart. You have a gift of speaking even the sharpest parts of this messy life with grace. Thank you for being faithful to live it and speak it. Love to you. <3

kaitlyn said...

Hi Melanie, I found your blog this morning and I love it already. You're a great writer and I can relate to many of the things in this post. We've been foster parents here in Ohio for 3.5 years. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog!