Janet’s Column for July 2016

By Janet Hauter         July 22, 2016

ARE YOU HAVING A GOOD FRIDAY MOMENT?

 You know what I mean…  Have you experienced a time in your life that brought you to a crossroads time to deal with a problem and define your own emotions around it?  Most of us have and that moment is a time to either become bitter and negative or to choose a different path.

Life can be brutal at times when change hits us unexpectedly and we are totally unarmed to deal with it objectively.  Confusion, sadness and overwhelming darkness takes over leaving us vulnerable.

I speak from experience because the last eighteen months have been a prolonged Good Friday for our family.  Our adopted daughter has struggled with emotional issue stemming from abuse by her biological father sine adolescence.  While there are many legitimate reasons for her pain, she is a poster child for the phrase “hurting people, hurt people.”

There were days we asked ourselves is this just teenage rebellion or acting out to find boundaries or a way to find herself.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist for others to see “our pain” and we were more than surprised by reactions from individuals we considered to be friends.  Some suggested we “give her back” while others asked if we had regret in adopting her.  Quite frankly, we were insulted by those remarks and we responded that we believed we were chosen for this child and she, us.  We believed we were strong enough to handle whatever we are dealt with.  That generally stopped the comments.

Some questioned why we adopted after we were empty nesters but we believed then, as we do now, that the decision to adopt was a God moment for us.  Our lives were changed when we adopted Hope as we unconsciously “let go” of a soon-to-be senior lifestyle with all the travel, the freedom, the time to spend leisure time with friends.  God had another job for us.

It was interesting that during that time we connected directly to the Jonah story as we felt we were in a very dark place, a place with virtually no joy.  She chose to run away five times and we were beside ourselves never knowing if she was safe.

We had to let go again when she became an adult and experienced a pain like no other.  Yet, looking back we were being transformed.  What is it about transformation that it seems to generally follow a period of painful chaos until we are “spit up” by a whale of a problem.  We had to let go of the imagery of our later years.  Transformation is like that—there is a time of loss, of extreme pain, of pandemonium that precedes it.  For us, it was at our daughter’s fifth runaway.  We recognized she was an adult and needed to try out a path that felt right at the moment.

Could it be that that is how God gets our attention?  It may be that disorientation clouds our ability to see another path, an unexpected direction, a direction we could never have foretold.  As the pain slowly lifts and we have a peek at clarity, we enter a period of discernment where we can finally look at the options before us.  When we choose one that offers us peace, God assures us through our emotions that all is well.

As we watch Pope Francis, we see that a number of bishops want to marginalize him.  He has indeed discerned his path and the peace shows on his face; he is quick to joy when he mingles with the people.  Francis has been transformed by hearing his Spirit call for a Pastoral Revolution steeped in prayer.

I’d concluded this column somewhat accepting of our lost daughter but lo and behold, our Prodigal Daughter returns!  I just arrived at the San Francisco airport waiting for her and our four-month old grandson to board a flight home by midnight!  Goodbye Good Friday and Halleluiah Easter!

 

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2 Comments

  1. Lynn
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Janet, you are an amazing sojourner. God bless and hold you all on the next leg of the journey.

  2. Lydia Limbaro
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Parenthood is sometimes very hard, but we don’t send our children “back” whether they were born to us or adopted by Us. I don’t understand that people think there is a difference. Your children are your children. We only “lose” them when they choose to go away. Having also experienced that, I can only say it is a heartbreak. I am glad that your Good Friday turned into Easter. Enjoy your daughter and grandson. I am joyful for you.

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