Posts Tagged tears

Reduced to Tears – Bishop Stacy Sauls

Reduced to Tears Used by permission of Bishop Sauls

Posted: 07/14/2014 2:39 pm EDT Updated: 07/14/2014 2:59 pm EDT

 

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.” (Rom. 8:15)

At the moment hundreds of children from Central America are risking a long, dangerous trip without adults to come to the United States to escape oppressive poverty, violence, and exploitation. They are receiving a mixed welcome, sometimes with compassion and sometimes with hostility. St. Paul’s words seem relevant to me.

The spirit of adoption is something I know a little bit about. Here’s how I learned.

Thirty-one years ago my wife Ginger and I were in the process of completing the home study process for the adoption of our first child. We had had all the interviews. The social worker had come to visit our house. (It was, by the way, one of only three times in my adult life that I’ve cleaned the oven. I don’t know why I thought our case worker would be checking to see if our oven was clean, but that is what the words “home study” conjured up in my mind anyway.)

The final interviews had come. These were to be with Ginger and me separately. I assume the reason for that is that if one of us had not really wanted to go through with the adoption we could bring a halt to the process without having to reveal the complete truth to our spouse. In our case, we were both as committed, and anxious in every sense, as ever.

I was to have my interview first, and I promised to stop at a pay phone (before the days of cell phones) to call Ginger and tell her what the social worker had asked on my way back to the office. I did. Ginger, in turn, was to call me when her interview, scheduled late in the afternoon, was complete.

The time of Ginger’s interview came and went. There was no call. I waited and waited. No word. I began to get concerned. My anxieties ran rampant. I feared that the social worker had completed Ginger’s interview and said something like Ginger would make a wonderful parent but that I was a complete Bozo who had tried to trick her into thinking we had a clean oven. I imagined Ginger crying because of the disappointment and too upset to call me.

Finally at about 5:30 Ginger arrived at my office door. She had red, puffy eyes. She had clearly been crying. I thought my worst fears were confirmed. Instead, however, she stepped in and said, “You have a son.” And she pulled out a picture of a Korean baby boy. We know him as Andrew. At that point I started to cry. It was all I could do. People from the office came in to see if I was alright. It was very embarrassing.

It turns out that the social worker’s last question to Ginger, as it had been to me, was, “So, are you ready for a baby?” When Ginger responded, “Yes,” the social worker had said, “Good, because I have a referral for you,” at which point she pulled out a file and a picture. Ginger had, of course, met this news with tears of joy, and in all the excitement she couldn’t remember exactly how to get to my office. She had been driving around a long time hoping to recognize something and be able to find the way.

Now, here’s the rest of the story. Ginger is the emotional one in our family. She could cry at the drop of hat. Happy or sad made no difference. Tears were appropriate for any occasion. Not so for me. Up until that point in our lives together, I had never cried. Not once. I didn’t think I had it in me. But when the news of Andrew came, the floodgates broke open. I started to cry, and try as I might, I couldn’t stop. I would think I had myself under control, and we would try to call someone to tell them the news. I would be prepared to speak, but when someone answered the phone, I would start again. I would have to hand the phone back to Ginger. I was reduced to nothing but tears.

People come to the United States from faraway places for many reasons. Some come to escape persecution. Others come in search of freedom. Many come in search of a better life. Some are oppressed. Some are displaced by war. Our son Andrew, and later his brother Matthew, came to complete a family.

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Tears and Cheers – The Daily Cup – The Rev.

New post on The Daily Cup

Tears and Cheers

by jimq2012

When I was a kid my mom used to say, “Jimmy, you cry at the drop of a hat.”  I never considered this to be much of a compliment but never took it as much of an offense, either.  In fact, crying at the drop of a hat has turned out to be something of a gift as I’ve gotten older.  Nowadays my tears are rarely the result of injury but rather of pardon or deliverance – a sign that something wonderful is happening.  My first mentor in the Episcopal Church, Robin Jennings, told me once that tears were a sign of the presence of God.

I’m serving my Daily Cup later than usual today because last night, during the hours I usually write my contribution, I spent the evening with God’s presence rolling down my cheeks.  I was blessed to attend the National Education Association Foundation’s annual gala.  The event had been described to me as the Academy Awards of Public Education.  As apt as that description is and despite the vast similarities between the two events – the venue was grand, the lighting was theatrical, the attire was black-tie optional and there were photographers and film camera crews running about – there was one exceptional (and holy) difference.  The “film shorts,” video montages of the award winners at work, featured public school teachers and their kids rather than actors on movie sets pretending to be people they are not.  Again and again throughout the night, amidst raucous applause and the whetted cheeks of cheerers, each exceptional educator – dressed as if they were receiving an Oscar – was escorted to the stage to receive the honor of a lifetime – oh my.

Since last night I’ve remembered many teachers of my own – Mr. McCauley who was infamous for the admonition (which he shouted regularly) that all students “Keep all four points of the chair on the floor!” and who’s dripping forehead sweat would smear the math problems he was illustrating on an overhead projector;  Mrs. Wrede, a creative writing instructor who introduced the emotive adolescent that I was to Hugh Prather’s Notes To Myself (and who once returned a paper I wrote with a hand-written apology explaining that the top right-hand corner was missing because her rabbit chewed it off); and Mr. B, who, without doubt, is the reason I have lived much of my life as an artist.

I’ve also been thinking of the teachers in our own midst at St. Alban’s.  Our lay leaders at Children’s Chapel and Sunday School, our Acolyte leaders, watching Ron lovingly instruct youth during worship, hearing the beautiful voices of chorister’s led by Sonya and regularly witnessing Lorena and Matthew endeavor to teach God’s statutes to our children and young adults.  I’m also reminded of the ongoing educational work we support as a parish – the Bishop Walker School in DC and our recent and overwhelming Mustard Seed offering which helped to build two dormitories for young girls in the Sudan.  Last night an award was given to a DC based initiative whose mission is to reduce illiteracy for children growing up in poverty.  Check it out online at firstbook.org.

For all those whose teaching has enriched our lives and our minds, for our ministry to  children at St. Alban’s and for all those who’s work in public schools makes a holy difference in the lives of children, let us pray:

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom: Enlighten by your Holy Spirit those who teach and those who learn, that, rejoicing in the knowledge of your truth, they may worship you and serve you from generation to generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

jimq2012 | February 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Categories: The Rev. Jim Quigley, Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p1oOBV-Xm

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