Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How big can a family be?

On the one hand, I'm pretty blissed out nowadays. I've been practicing mindfulness, trying to be present to the beauty that surrounds us, the kindness and joy of our daughter, and the love of our families and friends and even of the people with whom I walk down the street. Just, so much love coming to you, it breaks your heart open sometimes. Which makes it that you have more love to give.

And then here we are, waiting for even MORE love to come to our family. It's been about two months now. Waiting, for a child still unknown to us, but probably she is somewhere in Ethiopia, maybe struggling or suffering or maybe doing okay -- maybe in an orphanage already, or with a relative, or maybe still with her mamma. This time in the adoption process is charged and strange to me: to see that nothing, really, differentiates this unknown child, who deserves the world, whom we will love unquestionably, unfathomably -- nothing really distinguishes her, at this moment, from any other child in the world. She could be ANYone. And so I realize my responsibilities to the children of the world are greater than I had previously allowed. And that is heavy and hard, especially in these heart-broken-open sort of days, when so much love is coming to you.

The fact is, if I went to Ethiopia today, I might walk right by my child on the street. If she were begging, I might offer her a banana or a boiled egg. I might not realize that she is the child I am to love as my own. And if the next day, walking down the street, they said, "This is your child!" and they chose her from the throng of children, what if I asked, 'Well, why not the one next to her?' And if they said, "Sure! That one, then!" I mean ... doesn't there seem to be just something false about the entire construct of it? That we will love one and not the other?

For me, the question is raised: How do I draw the line? Should I draw the line? I could be the mother of any of them. Or, if time shifted just a little bit, 20 or 30 or 40 years, I could be mother to any of the men and women I pass by on the street each day. Where does my responsibility end? To my child, to the things I take responsibility for. What is the difference between "my" child and any of the children of the world?

The randomness and arbitrariness of it and maybe even the falseness of it -- that I love and care for this child but not that one -- breaks my heart. Because the immensity of the responsibility and of the potential for love and for, dare I say, the peace of the world is all in this one seed of realization: That the divisions between us are all but imagined. And that we must love and care for each other. But, like, seriously do it. Maybe we can't undertake parenting all the people of the world, but surely we can at least act like we're all friends.

Is what I'm thinking.

1 comment:

Danni and Tommy said...

Love this post. Thank you friend!