Monday, January 19, 2009

reflections on patience

"Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas.
And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination."

~ Robert Fulghum

This is a very interesting couple days for me that has me really reflecting on so many things right now, so please forgive my fuzzy ramblings! ^_^

Today marks 6 months since we mailed our dossier across the big pond. 6 months - wow! Has it really been that long? I know in adoption world it really isn't that long at all - many, many families wait even longer than that! - but I'm more surprised by the patience that suddenly belongs to me than the length of time we have been waiting for that magical invitation.

I have never been a patient person; I was a true product of America's instant-gratification society. I think that impatience has been both a blessing and a curse for our country - you can see the latter in the current state of our economy - never ones to wait for homes and material things we can truly afford, we're all so quick to just take a shortcut and take on more than we really should! - but the former in what is often amazing generosity, persistence and hard work when it's truly needed, in something as simple as our USCIS office processing our paperwork in just 6 days. Not weeks as is the usual, but 6 days. Sometimes we find friends in our impatience. :)

Although I do feel sad that our little angel has waited these 6 months, that we still don't have a definite end date, I'm also forever grateful for this tough lesson in patience and I think it's one we all need to learn - and will be learning - and it will only make us a more generous, persistent and hard working people.

Beyond my own small personal significance for today, I can't help but reflect on the fact that today is the day we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and tomorrow is the day our country welcomes our first African-American President! I don't like to talk politics and philosophy on my blog very much, even though I am a philosopher by nature LOL!, but the volatility of the world right now - the change in administration, the economy, the war in Gaza, the gas crisis in Europe - always manages to get me thinking deeper. I know many in our country do not agree with a lot of Obama's principles, but I think his greatest potential lies not in "liberalizing" America, but in opening the door to challenging our perceptions of our own morality and others around us so that maybe, one day, we can learn to see both sides of issues and still find love for one another and in that love one day find a greater respect for all humankind.

Many people think too big a deal is made over Obama's "blackness," and too little over the man, but I think it is a significance independent of him and it is one that gives me hope for the morality of our society. That might sound strange or backwards to many people - I will say I am one of those rare pro-life Democrats! - but I feel such a sense of moral victory this week as I would if a man with Down syndrome were becoming President. There was a time when many people saw little value in the life of a black man - as many people today see little value in the life of a person with a disability, or in the life of a fetus - and though laws were passed in an attempt to circumvent that conviction, it was not law that brought us to this Tuesday. Laws do not create morality. Morality creates laws. And the only things that bring morality are time, patience and love.

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

When I see something like President Bush's proclamation of a "National Sanctity of Human Life Day" - I am left scratching my head. "All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection." It's a beautiful idea because it's true - whomever you want to see as the "Creator". But what of the Iraqis? What of the people in Gaza and yes, in Israel too - where is the American voice there? What of the convicted criminals awaiting their death sentences? What of the countless innocent people that have fallen because of our aggression, or our apathy?

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
- Gandhi

We cannot have it both ways. If we want to teach love for all, we must love all. If we want to teach peace, we must stop waging war. It is only with hearts full of forgiveness, compassion and empathy that we can ever hope to truly celebrate the sanctity of human life - all human life. Without border, color, sex, stage of life, age, place, sexual orientation, opinion or religion. Anything less is hypocrisy.

Maybe such a world is a utopian dream, but it's one we're getting a little closer to on Tuesday - even if on the surface that doesn't seem to be the case. It won't be easy and it won't be instant and it will require a great lesson in patience!