Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurdling the Four Letter Word

I would stand on the edge of the high dive clenching my life jacket, unable to move.  My swim teacher, in her red one-piece was treading water below, pleading with me to trust her and jump.  Gentle chants of encouragement would come from my mom sitting in the bleachers.  But it was all useless, the fear had paralyzed me.  Eventually, my swim teacher would climb the ladder and walk across the wobbly board to my stiff little body.  She would escort me back to the ladder so I could shiver my way down.  I could sense her disappointment.  But who could blame her, who wants to come out of the water on a chilly June morning in Iowa to rescue the terrified student week after week.

Fear.  It makes me do weird things.  It's paralyzing.

While I've pushed through many hurdles of fear there are always new ones popping up.  Down goes the hurdle of the high dive.  Down goes the hurdle of trying out for the team.  Down goes the hurdle of trusting a man.  Down goes the hurdle of traffic in a big city.  Down goes the hurdle of foreign travel.  Down goes the hurdle of culture shock.  Down goes the hurdle of adoption.  Down goes the hurdle of the "special needs" child.  Down goes the hurdle of...

But, up pops the hurdle of gray hair.  Up pops the hurdle of finances.  Up pops the hurdle of being misunderstood.  Up pops the hurdle of being labeled.  Up pops the hurdle of parenting.  Up pops the hurdle of my limitations.  And up pops the hurdle of opening my home to a waiting older child...

Admittedly, I search the faces of children in the US and abroad that are waiting for a family.  Many of them over the age of nine, their chances of exiting the foster care system and entering the streets has increased.  In some countries "older" means only five or six years old.  I have "older" children in my home.  Four of them to be exact, and they all still need a lot of parenting, a lot of love, and the security of a family.  Especially, the one that will reach the coveted "teenage" label in a few months.  These are emotional, insecure years.  Maybe someday I will open my home to one of these waiting children, but right now that four letter "F" word stands in the way.


It's funny how I recognize fear when it stands in the way of something I want to do.  Like jumping off the high dive.  Why did I climb that ladder week after week only to climb down wet and discouraged?  Because deep down I wanted to jump.  Deep down I want to love these waiting kids.  I want to give them what they want.  A family.  As I hear them speak my hurdle of fear starts to wobble and teeter.

Hear their voices...


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