For the last time, dammit, I am not a saint. Seems that every time I have a conversation about adoption or fostering children, someone says something akin to, “It’s so good that you’re doing this. You are such a saint.” And I’ll say something like, “I don’t know about that, but it is good that we are doing it. Good for us too.”
They mean well, but what I want to do is scream, “I’m not a fkking saint!!! I’m a regular person! Don’t put that on me!”
Saints, in their popular conception, are one-dimensional “good” people who are great to admire from afar but are kinda boring at parties. They are not allowed to be selfish, or hypocritical, or resentful of the very people they are helping. And Lord knows I am a selfish hypocrite. And at times, God help me, I resent the very children it is my mission in life to love and care for.
There. I said it. Not so saint-like now, am I?
Besides, I can be plenty of fun at parties.
I am not made of stronger or better stuff than the regular person. All Heidi and I did was say, “Yes.” That’s it.
I have allowed that “Yes.” to turn my world upside down and inside out. It has upset my carefully laid plans, my personal daydreams I nursed as a young man. My life now is nothing like I had envisioned it when I was young. And I know that twenty years from now it will be nothing like I want it to be today. I am in the process of relinquishing control of my life. And I’m scared. Such is my mid-life crisis. And I want control back. Yes, there are definitely days when I want to throw a tantrum and take my “Yes” back from God.
I spent last night in the throes of such a spiritual tantrum. Selfish, resentful, and hypocritical — nothing at all like a saint. And in those moments I had less than charitable thoughts about everybody who ever called Heidi or I a saint.
We are at yet another decision point. Another choice that pits our discernment about what’s best for the life of a child against the last set of limits we set for ourselves. Another junction that threatens to upset the latest revision of our bedraggled life plan. And I cannot for the life of me distinguish between my honest internal discernment and my own selfish rationalizations. What I do know is that I don’t feel it right now. It’s a good thing that feeling it is not necessary, but I need some other source.
At least Jonah got a whale. That’s what I need; a whale to fkking swallow me and take me where God wants me to go. Because I don’t want to go on my own.
Pema Chodron advises me in her book to sit with my difficult feelings instead of running from them with my familiar patterns of distracting behaviors. So here I sit.
Waiting for a whale.