We’ve had a lot of those since we began this adoption process. Most often, the surprise has involved getting a green light, a ‘yep, you’re good, keep moving forward,’ where we expected a red light (an ‘I’m sorry, you don’t qualify’).
Things like passing the initial application process, hitting financial benchmarks to keep moving forward, having overwhelming support from close family and friends – these all surprised us in the very best of ways. We both, I think, kept expecting reality to come and slap us in the face at some point and say, ‘this isn’t actually happening for you.’
Personally, I think that keeping my expectations low had become a kind of defense-mechanism, a learned behavior after months and years of trying unsuccessfully for children. Somewhere along the way, I had decided that if I don’t expect much, it won’t be as disappointing if it doesn’t actually happen. And so, I started insulating the walls of my heart against looking too far ahead in expectation.
So, when we started this process, my knee-jerk reaction was that we probably wouldn’t be approved to begin with because of…x, y, or z. That, because our request was, shall we say…unusual, family and friends would react with ‘are you crazy?!’ and list all the reasons why we shouldn’t do it.
But none of those things happened. And I was surprised.
Each application, each background check, was stamped with a green thumbs-up. Some aspects took a WHOLE lot longer than expected, but the end result was the same – approval.
Our family and close friends were not only overwhelmingly supportive, they were flat-out excited for us! (In fact, there were days that I had to borrow their excitement when all I could see was another paper to sign or and endless waiting period stretching in front of us.)
Surprises that I hadn’t seen coming.
Maybe you too, have learned to lower your expectations for fear of getting hurt – again. It just feels easier, doesn’t it? But while there is a time and place for not creating unrealistic expectations, a life built on insulating your heart against hurt is not just a life protected from pain, it’s a life protected from love.
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket of coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
God’s been allowing these surprises, these green lights, to tear down the insulation in my heart. And the breezes of unexpected gifts have been oddly refreshing.
So my prayer, for me and for you, is that God would keep our hearts vulnerable and open to love. And may He awaken our vulnerable hearts with surprises that can only come from Him.