Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shop of Horrors

Let's say you need some brown boots. You bought a black pair about three years ago, but it has been at least eight years since you even thought about brown ones. You have no idea what is in style, what is out there or what you even want. You know you can't wear the stilettos that you have seen on people in the street. Are there even a short heeled boot being made now days?

So you put boots into the search bar on your computer hoping to be taken to the most viewed boots across the world. But you mistype and accidentally type boobs.

It takes about fifteen seconds for the message to reach your brain that you are not looking at boots. But before you can reach up and slam the cover of your lap top down, the damage has been done.

You sit shaking. Your heart is pounding in your chest and you feel sick to your stomach. You have lived nearly forty years without having these kind of images in your head. You feel violated, dirty, like a child waiting for your dad to get home after you have done something really wrong.

And then you feel sad. Who are these people? Who takes photos like these? Who poses for them? Who looks at them? You feel a sorrow in the depths of your soul for the world in which you live, for the depravity, for the loss of innocence, for the perversion of love and beauty.

And then your sorrow turns into a simmering anger that quickly moves to a boiling rage. How dare they? Whoever they are. How dare they make it so easy to come across such filth. How dare they come into my home, my mind, my heart.

And then you snap into protective mode. My children use this computer. You research blockers and software and hardware. And then you sink into depression and defeat. You can not win. There are phones and hand helds and wi with internet access. It wasn't a pop up or a selection from a set of choices. It was there on your screen because of one mistyped letter.

It is too big. It is too evil. You can not fight it.

You recommit yourself to raising children of character, forming their consciences, heightening their defenses and awareness.

And then you fall down on your knees and pray: For the people in that industry, for the people addicted to such things, for the innocent people who are damaged by mistake, for the children, for your children.

And then you cry for your own loss of innocence. And then you pray again that this heavy feeling of evil will be lifted and you can become childlike again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More than Words

I love words. I am a writer. I am a talker. I love the written word, and I consider conversation to be the heart of all relationships. So how am I doing with a child who doesn't know more than ten English words? How am I communicating with a boy who speaks two languages, neither a language in which I understand a word?

Watching him for ten days in his country of origin, I already know that he too loves words. He doesn't know a stranger and will talk to himself if no one is around. To those who know me well, that may sound vaguely familiar. He will talk to babies, peers, and adults. He will talk to people in a shop or sitting near him on the plane. I witnessed a twenty minute conversation between him and another little girl that did not have one second of pause time. Just word after word after word. I think they must have breathed while the other was talking.

Somehow, we manage to communicate. He came to me on our second day together with a question. I didn't understand the words and there were no accompanying hand gestures to give me a clue. With an inspiration like something from the Holy Spirit, I asked, "You need toilet paper?" He nodded, "Yes." Don't ask me?

Sometimes it is hard. When we descended in the plane and I saw the tears rolling down his face from the pressure on his ears, I couldn't tell him to hang on, it won't last much longer. I just put my arm around him and held his hand.

I started this post with an idea of something along the lines of the title "More than words." A love story of a mom and her child where all that needs to be said is said wordlessly. But I am afraid that simply isn't true. Much of what we communicate is in our tone and our body language. I will grant you that. I can make him feel safe and loved with out words. He can show me what he needs.

But I am a talker and he is too. Until we can communicate with a common language, we won't really really know one another. We both have so much to say. There are just too many words we need. We both love words, and I think he would agree they are irreplaceable.

He knows I am Mom and I know his basic needs. I know when he is happy and he knows he can trust me. That is a great start, but there is just so much more to say.

Does this bother me? Not in the least. I know that in the near future, we will have some good heart to hearts. I know he will learn quickly. I know that conversation will be at the heart of our relationship.

And most importantly, I know that we have a life time ahead of us. Our story has begun and soon we will both tell it. It will begin once upon a time and it will end happily ever after.