Please note: this post, maybe even more so than my last one, is open and honest. If you can't handle that, you should probably stop reading now. I do realize the internet "is in ink" and that it's possible that people may think less of me for saying certain things. That's OK. I'm saying them because other people either can't or won't and because it may help someone believe they're not alone. There will be a happy ending at some point. I promise.
I'm sure it's not hard to figure out that we didn't plan on this. I mean none of it. We didn't plan on struggling through illness. We didn't plan on building a family through means of adoption. We didn't plan on leaving our home state of Oregon. Those are the big things. The big griefs, if you will.
When you look back over a span of 10 years, there's no way you can remember all of it, but you can look behind and see the peaks and the valleys. Those are the things that stick with you. Not that all the in-between stuff isn't important. It's very important. But the one-page biography--my perpetual obituary, if you will--always covers the highs and the lows.
The fact is, I don't know why things happened the way they did. I believe they were right and that God had his hand on us, guiding us through it all. But it still hurts sometimes. Especially two of those big three. The one is not as difficult, because as hard as the adoption process was, the daily presence of our kids has been a daily reminder of God's goodness through that.
Those other two though. Wow.
Months of unemployment and months of uncertainty have been hard on us all. Moving four times in 14 months is more than exciting, it's downright unsettling. The learning curve has been pretty steep. But we are learning and that--along with all the great relationships we are forming--helps.
Sickness? Man, I really hate talking about this one. You know that I've had a lot of struggles in the last four years, but Anne-Marie's difficulties have been way beyond anything I've experienced. And we've had people ask if things have "gotten back to normal yet?". (Which I'm not bashing. It's just that people don't know.) It would be like asking an amputee if things have gotten back to normal. Normal died some time back and we don't think it's coming back.
Though the major treatment ended after seven months, a 5-year-long procedure of starving out the cancer has continued. This is not a precise or flawless process by any stretch. Do you know what happens to someone when they take chemicals that are purposely trying to shut down things in their body so it can save itself from itself? Yeah, neither did I.
Suffice it to say, my level of compassion has multiplied. Please make the time to take a second glance at those around you. It just may be that the "normal" folks you think you know spend a lot of nights fighting things you can't even imagine.
Many mornings I wake up and think to myself, "How did we get here?" It seems impossible that we would end up where we are considering where we were just 10 short years ago. The greatest memories, joys and inspirations are found when life is spontaneous and dynamic. And this has been like hitchhiking on the interstate with a sign that says "anywhere", then finding out our ride is going to Mars.