"Mom, why don't people understand our lives?", she asked.
"They haven't walked in our shoes....so to expect others to understand us is unfair."
Such began a discussion at midnight in the middle of a king size bed in Rosemary Beach last week.
Lydia and I were "blessed" with the task of getting Hopey to sleep, which was proving difficult since Poppy had fed her a huge piece of chocolate cake while we were out earlier that evening.
When we walked in the door, my dad had asked: "Hey, guess who REALLY likes chocolate cake?"
And then I was promptly met by a laughing little munchkin who's face was covered in chocolate icing....even her teeth were coated in the stuff. I knew it was going to be a long night. And I was right.
Lights were out and all was quiet except for Hopey who continued to jump up and down on the bed even after we had made our best effort to "tuck her in" with cozy blankets dozens of times already....just when we thought we had her settled, we'd hurry to pretend to be asleep with the desire that she decide to join us....she may have an extra chromosome, but she ain't that easy to fool. She caught onto our game and made up her own rules. How many times did I silently curse at my daddy when Hopey would throw back the covers, leap to her feet, bounce up and down with giggles and then land right onto my tummy (or head)? I lost count.
What I hadn't anticipated was how we were just about to have an appointment with our Father in the middle of that king size bed turned trampoline.
Lydia continued: "No, mom, what I mean is why can't people see things the way we do? Everybody thinks they have the answers to our problems, but they don't even have a clue. They're just all selfish. Most people who offer us advice about Natalie haven't even adopted a kid themselves." (ouch!)
My answer to her possibly surprised me as much as it did Lydia: "We are just as selfish as those people are....every single one of them....and just as judgmental too."
Those big eyes. Lydia can never hide her true thoughts or feelings, because those puddles of brown betray her every single time. This evening offered no exception. The moonlight burst through the vertical blinds and landed right onto those eyes as Lydia shot up in the bed and used them to accuse me:
"Are you kidding me? WE are selfish? WE have adopted two kids and take care of two little ones with Down syndrome every single day of our lives, but WE are selfish? Mom, WE don't even have a life! How in the world can you say WE are selfish?"
I answered with a question: "Who are you comparing us to?"
And boy, did she ever have a list. I didn't have a clue she knew so much about so many people. Teenagers watch and take everything in, because my 14 year old rattled off a list of moms who routinely get manicures, host parties, and travel....of dads who play weekly rounds of golf, drive sports cars, and throw back beer like it's water in an effort to appear younger than their middle age....of families who have plenty of money but never reach out to help the poor, the widow, or the orphan....of friends who care most about popularity and of churches filled with hypocrites.
This time, the shock was in my eyes. Had I raised Lydia to believe our lifestyle somehow made us more holy than others?
So I asked her: "If right now, a reliable person were to make you this offer: 'Lydia, I will save 50 orphans if you will give up everything you have....those orphans will never want for anything again...they will be loved and provided for until their death...but with the condition that you give up your family, all of your belongings, your home, and all conveniences to live in a trailer alone for the rest of your life....and with the condition that no one could ever know the sacrifice you made'....would you do it? With the absolute 100% guarantee of saving those 50 orphans?"
Her eyes betrayed her again. Oh, how I love those eyes:
"Ummmmm, yes, of course I would do it." Her voice was so soft and pure. I can still hear the words escape from her mouth.
I turned to her, in the dark....with Hopey still jumping up and down like a caffeine drugged little bouncing bean....and I matter-of-factly said: "I wouldn't. In fact, I wouldn't do it to save 500 orphans....or even 5000 orphans. Heck, Lydia, I am ashamed to say I wouldn't do it to save every orphan on the planet."
She didn't even look at me, but instead fiddled with her fingers when she asked: "Why?"
"Because I am selfish; I am terribly rotten and selfish...that's why", I answered.
She immediately replied: "Me too. I didn't mean it when I said I'd save them, Mom. I am horrible. I wouldn't give my life up to save the orphans either. But why?"
And then it was time for God's appointment with us. Thankfully, I was ready for it even though it wasn't on my schedule for the evening.
"Because, Lydia, we are human and we live in a fallen world", I answered, "and that is the reason we need a Savior."
We talked for more than an hour....Hopey never stopped bouncing the entire time....Lydia and I in awe of what redemption truly means. Both of us grateful for a Creator who saw ahead and provided for us....and for a Father who loves us even though we are terribly rotten and selfish. We wrote this song about that gift of redemption; hope you like it: