Jumping over puddles and running between the raindrops, I dashed into Whole Foods on my usual brunch break during a busy morning of teaching. But unlike most days, I did not have trinomials on my mind.
Instead my thoughts were circling round a pair of binary ideas.
First, a Christmas card from a dear work colleague from back in the day had arrived in my mailbox the day before, and Barb's annual update brought me fascinating news.
I have been working a lot at Pregnancy Life Line - it is a wonderful ministry that helps women and men facing unplanned pregnancies. Our area is very poor and many of our clients have not had good role models - we work with them on an ongoing basis to help them become good parents
I found myself deeply touched and incredibly impressed by my friend's willingness to put herself out there and make a difference in her neighbors' lives. In a nation consumed with rhetoric on both sides of the abortion debate, it's a rare breed who goes beyond posturing to actually help unintentional parents make the best of a situation that they're not equipped to handle.
Second, I was on my way to meet with a pair of students whose family is fostering two young boys, ages nine and seven. Like many kids in the foster system, the boys have a troubled family history and a turbulent family tree, and over the past weekend, these foster parents - Jenn and Tom - were put in the uncomfortable position of delivering some sad and complicated truths to the boys about their lineage. I was anxious to get an update on that delicate situation
As I finished my shopping and stepped back outside into the wet, windy weather, smoked turkey wrap in hand, my eyes fell on a curbside display of flowers.
Delicate spring blossoms in sweet pastels, these flowers were no match for the storm that raged around them. How fragile they seemed, how impossibly incapable of surviving the cruel world into which they had been thrown. Certainly no one had considered the tulips' well-being when plopping them down out-of-doors on a Pacific Northwest December day, but here they were, just the same, vulnerable and alone.
And I wondered who was taking care of these tulips, who would make sure they were safe.
* * * * *
I was halfway across the parking lot when something inside of me insisted on going back for photos.
The metaphor hit me as I sat in my car, flipping through the just-captured images on my camera roll.
These are our children.
The ones whose parents did not plan for them.
The ones whose birth families don't know how to care for them.
The once who have been taken from dangerous homes.
The ones, vulnerable and alone, who are still hoping to survive in this wild, storm-tossed world.
I'm so thankful for people like Barb and Jenn and Tom who step boldly into that void and care for those fragile, beautiful, deserving children. And I pray that I might be wise and strong enough to join them.