I was taken by surprise on Christmas Day. It was a wonderful low-key day, spent at home with our immediate family (minus our 19 year old son, Teyler,--still in the States). After opening gifts, I immediately started in on making homemade cinnamon rolls, I also made homemade rolls, and our traditional Christmas Chowder Soup. At about 3:00 p.m., the phone rang and it was Teyler. A lively conversation ensued between Teyler and his brother. I could hear the excitement in Christian's voice as he conversed with his brother. They were laughing and updating each other on the latest happenings in their lives. As I stood over the sink scrubbing potatoes, I was surprised that I began to cry. I had been perfectly fine up until that point. Christmas Eve had passed without incident, and two-thirds of Christmas Day had passed. But now, knowing my son was on the phone, the dam broke. The tears began to pour and my heart felt such pain. I wanted to see and hold my son. Not only was I shocked at my reaction, but so was my family. I left the kitchen and laid down on my daughters' bed and sobbed for about an hour. (The following picture shows two of my children coming in to "cuddle" with me to help me feel better!). During that hour, I cried out to God and told Him of my heartache. I searched for some profound spiritual insight into the pain but found none, only pain. Eventually there were no more tears to shed and I finished the rest of the day feeling rather melancholy--extremely rare for me. I looked forward to bedtime, the escape of consciousness/emotional pain.
The following morning (Christmas Day in California--remember, we're a day ahead in Guam), I slept late and was greeted by Eric with one of my cinnamon rolls and orange juice in bed. How kind of him to be sensitive to where I was emotionally. About an hour later, as I sat at the computer, Skype began to ring (our computer web camera system) . When I answered, who was on the screen? My son, my parents, and two of their foster children. I was so thrilled! That was the first time I had "seen" my son in nearly three months because of computer difficulties on his end. Eric, the kids and I all gathered around on our end as we talked to my family in California. We talked and laughed for two hours!! It was an incredibly special time for all of us.
That night, after everyone was in bed and I had tidied the house, I felt the need to write about the pain I had felt being separated from our son. Writing helps me process my feelings; it's very therapeutic for me. It was 12:30 a.m. and I had just typed the first sentence of this blog when the phone rang. Who would be calling us at this hour? I grabbed for the phone worrying that perhaps something was wrong with our family in the States. It was Jim, the gentleman I've been working with at Thomas Nelson Publishing (the largest publisher of Bibles). I had ordered one of the textbooks for the class I'm teaching through them. It was 8:30 a.m. in Tennessee and there was a problem with my order and he wanted to alert me as soon as possible. In the course of his conversation with me, Jim told me how he'd spent Christmas with a friend who had a 20 year old son in the military stationed in Afghanistan. Because his son is on the front lines he has had no contact with him for two weeks. Apparently, this man broke down crying on Christmas saying how hard it was to have NO contact whatsoever and to not know if his son was dead or alive. As Jim told me this story, it was such a reality check for me. My son is safe and, for that matter, is being spoiled and loved as he lives with his grandparents. I can talk to him on the phone at any moment. I was even able to "see" him on Christmas Day through modern technology. I felt such gratitude towards God for having my son where he is. I also had to smile at God. I don't think it was a coincidence that the phone call came RIGHT when I sat down to write about this topic. I also don't think it was a fluke that Jim "just happened" to tell me this story of his friend and his son. Here AGAIN is proof of how God consistently meets my needs emotionally and physically. He sent me a BIG message. "Karyn, I see you, I see your pain" and then very gently He reminded me, "Pray for this man's boy and all the other moms and dads who have NO contact with their children and whose children may be in VERY dangerous places physically and sometimes spiritually." Oh, how I love my dear Father, who ever so lovingly and gently moves me beyond my self-absorption to a place of gratitude and willingness to "bear another's burden."