Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Boots and Bottle Caps.

This advertisement has followed me around and has been up on the “board of fame” in my office for about 10 or 12 years. My original intent was always with the next raise, promotion or when I had finally “arrived” I was going to buy these boots. The advertisement served as a sense of inspiration I guess. But with each raise or promotion life happened – a new baby, a house, bigger car, etc., and the boots never came down from the board.

Then this year shortly after coming home, having spent three straight weeks in Ghana with my adopted 5 year old daughter Akosua "Zoey", I took it down. Those weeks gave me a better perspective, so I thought, of this quote from C.S. Lewis which also resides on the “board of fame."

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I can’t tell you the exact thought that was going through my mind when I took my “boots” down. If you’ve ever spent any time in a third world country you know there is an overabundance of events and images to mentally process. But the reality of being far too easily pleased kept punching me in the gut like the school yard bully you regrettably pegged in the face during a round of 4th hour P.E. kickball.

The vivid images of the time spent in my daughter’s village, where she still resides, and the bottle caps she uses as toys just kept spinning in my head. And believe me, there’s a lot of room up there to rattle around!
These boots and bottle caps have consumed my thoughts since my arrival home. Recently, I thought I had come to this conclusion, “Zoey and I both are too easily pleased!” Yes, both of us. That’s it!

The difference is, I’m easily pleased by my worldly minded selfishness and she’s easily pleased by her innocence.

In my selfishness I am the half-hearted creature(s), fooling about and she in her innocence wants to be a part of my world. So here we are both making mud pies in a slum together. I say this because during our stay together she uttered these words in her native Twi, “…I am ready to go, there is nothing for me here.” And as I ponder those words I desperately would like her to understand, “Baby don't be so easily pleased, there is nothing for you here either, but there is a holiday by the sea waiting for us.” As her father I’m already struggling with a way to convey that thought.

Now, here is the part of this post where after you’ve read my previous statement you will either be or are really confused, convicted or upset. Or I’ve already lost you but you’re hanging in here so you can get a firm count on my grammatical errors. Which I’m positive are in the double digits by now! I like myself a good run on sentence you can’t read in one breath now and again.

Nonetheless, I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again. America cannot, does not and will not fix her! Don’t fool yourself into believing this or think that we believe this. If you do, then honestly you don’t get international adoption. No problem, I didn’t either till God called me to it. It is true that God, by His will, has chosen us to be born and live in this great country. America has given us opportunities and has provided us a means to be a loving forever family to a fatherless child half a world away. But America does not fix her! For one thing she does not need fixed!! She is not broken!! She is perfect! What’s broken is what she’s been left in and that’s a life without a mother and father!! That can be fixed!

But herein also lies the flaw in my previous conclusion.

I actually thought when she cries out, “there’s nothing for me here” that she desires to upgrade from Ghanaian bottle caps to American boots! And I honestly worry over how to protect her from this!

Then as he has done so many times, God humbles me through a child when He whispers to me,

“Wake up Tyson.

You make proclamations you don’t even understand yourself!

But she gets it.

Arrogant boy, her cry is not for the world you live in. She knows all about the holiday by the sea because I have clothed her in innocence and it protects her from your simple minded selfishness.

Son listen when I say, her cry is a yearning to share this journey to the sea with you, her father.

Now, wake up!”

And once humbled, I do finally wake up. Now I see she and I aren’t making mud pies in the slum together. Nope, it’s just me, with a mud pie in one hand and the picture of my boots in the other. She’s already turned in her bottle caps while I stand here still far too easily pleased.