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Monday, November 7, 2016

SCARY - or just Scared


I’m SCARY!” the small voice suddenly boomed out menacingly, while the arms straightened and stuck out and there began a stiff-legged strut around the room. Frankenstein had come alive! It was only a costume, of course, and not a very good one at that. It was just a cheap print of the infamous monster’s face on a sort of rectangular pinafore of vinyl with a matching plastic mask. But he had chosen it himself and now wore it proudly over a bright yellow raincoat and dark red jeans. I’ve often wondered if he thought he really was that scary or was just trying to convince himself of the fact…
We had only lived here six months when we got the OK to pick up this four-year-old child in Everett and bring him home as our foster child. It was not really what we wanted; we wanted to adopt, not foster, a child. But as they say, beggars can’t be choosy and we’d waited long enough - we’d been married fourteen years and time was flying by. We’d been assured that they were “almost positive” this little boy would become free for adoption within a year and we decided to take the chance. It proved to be so.

I look back at that time and cringe, for none of us really knew what lay ahead. We drove to Everett once to spend a couple of hours with this boy before picking him up the next week. There was no time to get acquainted; very little time to prepare. We’d had a bedroom ready with the basics - bunk beds, chest of drawers, rocking chair – because we’d hoped to adopt while living in Idaho. When that did not happen before we found out we’d be moving to Washington, we stopped planning. Disappointment can do that to a person. We went through the motions of applying to adopt here, but had no idea things would happen as fast as they did. By the middle of October, we had a child and wondered if we knew what in the heck we were doing. All new parents must feel this way to some degree, but this was a preschooler with “issues” and we had no instruction manual. We were new in the community, so knew few people and had no family nearby. My husband was commuting to Seattle every day and still traveling some with his work, so I was alone much of the time. To say I was apprehensive is an understatement…

Our son arrived with one small box of clothes and a small paper bag of toys from the child center – he had none of his own and didn’t seem particularly attached to these. We drove to Penney’s in downtown Bremerton (There was no mall in Silverdale yet.) to buy him a few clothes that fit better and just sort of winged it the rest of the way. As Halloween approached, he made it known that he wanted a costume and to go Trick-or-Treating. I took him around to a few houses where we knew the people for his treats. He acted so brave, but I could tell that underneath the bravado was a scared little boy – new home, new parents, new experiences. But he did enjoy himself and managed to eat his entire small bag of candy the next day. We all had much to learn yet!

How often we put on a brave face and go forward as if nothing is bothering us, afraid to show our perceived weaknesses to others. How often we won’t face our fears and misgivings. How often we refuse help and seal our hearts against risking more. How much hurt and grief we would avoid if we would just let it all go…

My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes.  Psalm 38: 10

 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. 
Psalm 109:22

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