The Coup – The Fear of the Unknown

(Some more of my thoughts on the night of February 29, 2004 as a Dad who had two kids in an orphanage in a country that was just had it’s government overthrown in a coup.) 

 

So, that Sunday night we went to bed.

Just like thousands of other people in West Michigan.

Except we weren’t like them.

We weren’t any better or stronger or more charitable. We were still just ordinary people.

But we had a great big old “unknown” sitting in the bottom of our stomaches.

What does this mean? Are our kids safe? (We knew they were at that moment – but what about the future?) Was this going to turn into a long civil war?

What are we going to do if the new government declares the paperwork from the old government to be worthless?

What if they close adoptions? How will we ever get our kids home?

So many unknowns.

I should have gone to bed with one big truth rather than so many unknowns. But I didn’t do that very well at that point.

So I went to bed worried.

What’s that big thing?

No matter what, MY GOD IS BIGGER.

He’s bigger than an overthrown government.

He’s bigger than potentially lost paperwork.

He’s bigger than all of that.

He’s bigger than what you’re struggling with today.

He’s bigger than what I’m struggling with today.

He’s bigger and He’s got this.

But it’s hard to step back and say, “okay, God, it’s you.”

None of us do that very well.

Not nearly enough of us do it at all.

Looking back on things from 14 years later, I can tell you a couple of things about that time:
⁃ God took a very confusing, very stressful and difficult time and did some very awesome things in that time (Read the post “Time – of Coups and Careers”)—
⁃ We’ve been blessed with some friendships that have stayed in place since those days, 14 years ago.
⁃ Through the publicity that Haitian adoptions received at that time, I know that hearts and minds were touched and opened to helping kids who need someone to stand up for them.
⁃ There were many things that happened after the earthquake in 2010 where we could look back and draw on what we learned and what we did after the coup to help us at the time of the earthquake. I’m not talking people who were on the ground in Haiti, I’m talking about people in the United States who were attempting to help or who were adoptive parents with children who were “stuck” in Haiti. But more on that later.

The long night of worry, of fear of the unknowns, came to an end. And the sun came up on Monday morning……..

TJV

Looking back at 2018?  No thanks!

I had a discussion with a friend he other day and we both agreed that if we had stood talking on January 1, 2018 and knew what 2018 would bring, we would  have…..well, we would had a hard time.

I don’t want to look at 2018 any more, though I have a feeling it will be a year that will be hard to forget.

John Pavlovitz is an author who I don’t like but I respect.   Why don’t Iike him?  Well, let’s just that I think sometimes the tone of what he says is a bit…… never mind.   Why do I respect him?   He is clearly thought, well written, rational and thorough in his beliefs and ideas.   I don’t always believe the same way but I always find myself better off for having read him.

Below are two exerpts that he wrote just before the end of 2018.   I hope you’ll take some time and read those and maybe even go on over and check out what the rest of the article has to say.

I’m going to look back at 2018 and remember the Dad that went home to glory.   I’m not going to look back at some of the other things.   As our minister said on Sunday, if God woke you up and brought you here today, he must have a plan for you.   Let’s try to see what it might be.

TJV

 

Be a story-learner………. When you sit across from someone and actually listen to them, you’ll realize how rich and complex and like your own, their stories are. You may not end up liking them better afterward or agree with them any more, you’ll just know them more.

……    

Source: 2018 Was One Long Decade

”Quit Trying to Steal the Pen” by Toby Mac

“God is still writing your story.
Quit Trying to Steal the Pen”

Quit – Stop – don’t do it.

Quit trying – It doesn’t usually work, but you can try.

Steal – it doesn’t really belong to you.

The Pen – the thing that makes your story the work of art that it is.

So what does that leave you with?

God holds the pen.

God is the artist in charge of writing our stories.

If we attempt to steal the pen from the artist, we’re going to mess up the story.

If we attempt to steal the pen, we’re messing up God’s work of art – which is you and me.

Don’t mess up the Master’s work of art. Instead, ask the Master, “how can I help you write the story?

But if you do ask that, be prepared for what he might ask you to write about.

It will be a great story if you write it with God’s lead…..

Tom

The Thing About Having Kids

Well, it’s not really THE thing.

It’s more like, no wait, it’s not even A thing.

But it is a thing. It’s a thing that is fun. A thing that can be really enjoyable.

A thing that can help them learn and frankly, help the parents learn too.

I’m talking about bedtime stories. Reading bedtime stories to your kids, with your kids.

Acting out “Ten in the Bed” with two little girls and 9 stuffed animals.

Reading the entire 7 books of the Harry Potter series with one kid on each side of me over a 2 year time span.

And then there’s Doctor Seuss. I miss reading Dr. Seuss. “Oh the Places You’ll Go…..” (I’ve often thought that’s could be a good speech for a graduation ceremony).

Who can forget “Thing 1 and Thing 2?”

And the Cat in the Hat who always picks up his playthings? (Hint hint….)

But the story by Dr. Seuss that stuck with me most is the story of the Lorax.

The Lorax is a sad story. It’s a story of nature ruined by greed. It’s a story of manipulations and misunderstandings. It’s a story that parallels much of our world.

The story ends with nature in trouble. Pollution is contaminating everything.

And there’s this one old “guy.” He was there since the beginning. He protested the growth of the factories. He complained about the sick animals and the animals that had to leave to find a place to eat and water to drink.

When there was nothing left, he levitated through the clouds and left a marker behind with one word on it……

“Unless”
The story ends with the Onceler telling the Lorax’s story to two kids and he ends with “Unless.”

But this time he completes the sentence……

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s Not.”

Someone like you.

Someone like me.

Cares – not a little but a lot.

Unless – if we don’t care, things won’t get better. If we do care, things will get better.

A call for action from Dr. Seuss. A call for social justice. For caring.

That’s one of the things that I’ve learned and seen time and time again. It’s not the big companies that are going to make the world a better place (even though Coca Cola would like you to think they can). It’s the people.

You and me.

I don’t like the way things are right now. Too much pain, too many people struggling, too many people angry and hurting.

Whether it’s immigration or education or racism or taxes or politics or abuse or trauma or….. or………, find something that matters to you. Find something that you care about that isn’t the way you think it should be and care about it.

Do something. Make things better.

It’s the Lorax Iniative.

And we can all learn from a children’s story about how to make the world a better place.

TJV

P.S. Does anyone else remember the thing that they found in the park and what they named him?

When…..

When I’m an adult…..

When my kids are out of school…..

When we get the house paid off……

When I get my college degree…….

When……

When…….

Guess what – God doesn’t work that way.

God doesn’t say, “When you’re an adult, I want you to……”

“When your medical problems are gone, I want you to…..”

“When you graduate, then can you……?”

“When your kids are out of school, then……..”

“When your kids go back to school, then…….”

God says, “I am God, your God. I love you more than you deserve or can even understand. You don’t have to do anything to “earn” my love, it is given freely.”

But God also says that when we are helping the poor or the sick or the needy or those in jail, we are doing that to him and for him. So, we can help the needy and show, through our actions, how grateful we are to God for his love. Or we can ignore those in need or worse yet, support programs and policies that harm those in need and we are in direct conflict with God’s designed purpose.

““Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’”
Matthew 25:37-40 MSG
http://bible.com/97/mat.25.37-40.msg

There’s an author by the name of John Pavolvitz who makes me think. He writes a lot about the current happenings in the world and one of the reasons he makes me think is because I don’t always agree with what he says, but he is very persuasive. He’s a hard writer to just “brush off.”

He wrote a piece on a while back, you can read the whole piece at https://johnpavlovitz.com/2018/07/03/pick-a-hill-worth-dying-on-america/
But let me read you one paragraph…..

So instead of lamenting how horrible it all is, accept the invitation to make it less horrible.
Instead of looking to the sky and wondering why no one is doing anything, you do something.
Step out of the cloistered place of your private despair, and into a jacked-up world that you can alter by showing up.
Use your gifts and your influence and your breath and your hands—and fix something that is badly broken before it breaks beyond repair.

Don’t just stand there and complain about how bad things are, pick something that’s important to you and get busy trying to be the change.

Be the change for kids in foster care.
Be the change for immigrant families on the border with Mexico.
Be the change for your church.
Be the change to combat racism in your community.
Be the change to elect truly competent and wise people to run our government – at all levels.
Be the change for the kids who attend schools that are underfunded and over crowded.

Don’t just stand there and talk about how awful things are. Don’t just stand there and say, “there’s so much that is wrong in this world, how would I even make a difference?” God doesn’t want us all to do everything.

God wants each of us to do something.

What’s your something?

Tom