On the way home from getting Salinda the van was quiet. Salinda drove the first half because I was quite tired but she couldn't stay awake either so I drove the last 20 minutes. We don't talk much. Talking hasn't really helped us much in the past few years. She is an introvert and doesn't like to talk, and I'm convinced the mere sound of my voice makes her hairs stand on end -- that is the extent of negative emotion she has had. I used to think that if we could communicate and I could really tell her how I felt... that if she could understand me that maybe her behavior would change. Until I realized that she really didn't care. Typical for teenagers for sure, but teenage girls with attachment issues ... forget it.
But today I was tempted again to tell her how I felt, to help her understand what I was going through in regards to her and her choices, but I kept my mouth shut. And this line popped into my head.
Lord grant that I may not so much seek ..... to be understood as to understand.
And I remembered back to our wedding day in 1996 when a quartet of some of my favorite people in the world sang this song:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.
Maybe it is that prayer that led us to the life we are living. Maybe God took us seriously. Maybe God heard us and knew that in the adoption of our children we would be required to do all of the things above. That there would be hatred and a need for love, injury and a need for forgiveness, doubt, and a need for faith, despair, and a need for hope, darkness, and a need for light, sadness and a need for joy.
And perhaps he knew that we would want to be consoled, but have a need to console our children instead. That we would wish for others to understand us, but that we should focus on understanding them, and that when we would not be loved, it was crucial for us to learn to love anyone.
And now, with tears in my eyes I am reminded that as we give we receive, when we offer forgiveness, we are forgiven, and all of this helps us die to ourselves -- the key to our eternal life.