Many of you know from my last post that we had to return our foster son, Lil Guy, back to his biological parents yesterday (Monday) and many of you responded to my wife and me with compassion as you sensed the weight upon on our hearts over losing him. Thank you. It really felt like losing a son. Both of our eyes were puffy yesterday from the continuous sobbing. Last night, I had the inclination to make today a mournful day – relax, chill and allow myself to be somber. Until, I remembered that it would be our second foster son’s 1 month birthday the next day! As many of you know from a previous post (Foster Dad 11), we were asked two and half weeks ago to accept another foster baby, whom we call “Peanut.” When I realized it would be Peanut’s 1 month birthday, I decided that being sad would have to wait. The next day was a day to celebrate!
We still had a real reason to be sad, but we also had a real reason to rejoice. The sadness is still there over losing Lil Guy from our care, but the rejoicing for Peanut’s growth and life should also be there. While the sadness is real, I don’t have to be in that space. I can choose to be in the space of rejoicing, which is just as much a reality as the sadness. To allow the reason for sadness to compromise the reason for rejoicing would be a tragedy and a mistake. I don’t know if this sounds a bit schizo. But I think life doesn’t always serve us one meal at a time; rather, it sometimes throws the whole buffet menu at you where the moments of sorrow and of joy bump into each other. When they do, we have the freedom to choose where we want our souls to be in those moments. I reflect on the wisdom from Ecclesiastes that reads: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Eccl. 3:1,4). It’s important to recognize which season we are in. We often don’t get to choose what season occurs anymore than we can choose the weather. But we can choose how to dress for the weather that we’re in – we can choose to respond to the season given to us in those moments.
I’ll have time to still be sad. But today was Peanut’s one month birthday and we had to celebrate his life. To allow our loss of Lil Guy impede on Peanut’s life would be wrong to Peanut, and it would be wrong to us for when real reasons to rejoice are offered to us we should embrace it and dwell in it. Throughout today, my wife Ellen repeated three times, “Peanut needs us.” I think Peanut was counting on us to celebrate him! And I’m so glad we did. There’s a time for everything: a time to mourn and a time to dance – a time to mourn the leaving of a beautiful little boy whom we loved as our own with all of our hearts, and a time to dance over a beautiful one-month-old boy in our arms whom we love with all of our hearts. Knowing when to cry and when to laugh is important for the sake of our own souls and for the sake of those we love.