Tonight, the kids and I were watching "The Princess Diaries" and I heard the quote, "The brave do not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." It resonates with me.
And while I don't think adopting Manny is exceptionally "Brave", I'm told that all the time. Truth is, I felt God laid him on our hearts and let us know he was our son. We eventually agreed.
But there's a line in the song, "Mighty to Save" (I especially like the Hillsong version) that strikes me. It says, "I give my life to follow everything I believe in." And that's the bottom line. I either believe God is the Father of the Fatherless or I don't. I either believe He has called us to do Matthew 25 (feed, clothe, visit, etc. the "least of these") or I don't. I either believe He is the Healer or I don't. And if I am not willing to give my life to follow what I SAY I believe in, what good is my life?
That song was actually playing on the radio one day as we were deciding whether to adopt Manny or not. The opening line just made me BAWL, "Everyone needs compassion. A love that's never failing." Pretty much the bottom line. Here was this precious little baby sitting in the hospital all alone. No family. No parents. He'd just had a major loss of his mother and just had major surgery. And he needed compassion and love.
And we hesitated. I guess you could say we were cautious. We counted the cost. And that included how this would affect the other kids. At the time we didn't know Manny had a fatal diagnosis ... but we knew his needs were extensive. One by one, they all said let's do it.
I still shudder to think about "what if" and how losing Manny would devastate the kids. I can't even let my mind go there. But I also know that their lives are forever enriched by having him as a baby brother. They love him with no hesitation. They hold no parts of their hearts back. They love unconditionally. They celebrate when he says a new word and clap wildly when he does a cool new trick. They know he should be crawling and walking, but they cheer when he moves a couple of fingers to wave "bye bye" because they know how hard it is for him. And they were heart broken to hear the news yesterday that he couldn't eat.
So I guess if I look at this from an outside perspective, that IS the definition of Brave. To jump all in, hold nothing back, to love with all your heart, to risk being hurt, to let someone into your soul.
Manny, my precious prince ... you are truly loved. And you are teaching us all how to be brave and how to truly LIVE.