"Hold on to hope." Pollie Robinson
I've been reading at some of the Face Book pages that speak to the experience of either being a mother of adoption loss or an adopted person. I read a lot about pain, anger, heartbreak and grief. All of those are part and parcel of the experience of adoption separation.
What I love to see is the occasional post by someone who has learned from their tragedy and grown because of it and in spite of it. It's refreshing because we can. so often, become so entrenched in the pain that it grows weirdly comfortable. I used the Twelve Step program of AA, OA, NA, Alanon...well, you know what I mean...to find some peace amid the storm of reunion, self-discovery and life in general.
The members of these groups are fond of saying that when the pain of where you are grows greater than the fear of where you have to go to find recovery from that pain, then you are on your way. This involves incorporating some spiritual values into your thought and emotional processes. Now I'm not talking religion. I am talking about spirituality. No, they are not the same. A humanist, pagan, agnostic or heretic can have spiritual values. Religion does not have an exclusive claim to hope, love, compassion, tolerance, courage, charity and all the others. And the spiritual value of hope is what pulled me out of the mire and into a life that was worth living.
Hope was the seed that was planted, nurtured and allowed to grow in my heart. Believing that, "no doubt the universe was evolving as it should*," realizing that the only things over which I had any control were my own words and actions and that each new day was a blank canvas where I could paint a picture of my own choosing, made that hope blossom into full flower. I was a stubborn cuss and that warm pile of crap in which I was sitting had become so comfortable I had learned to ignore the smell.
It was a simple solution to healing but no way was it easy. It was damn hard and sometimes, my grasp on hope would weaken. But when I would get off my pity-pot and reach out for support and understanding, my hold would grow stronger. And I learned to hope for the possible, not the impossible. I was not going to achieve perfection but I could achieve progress with perfection as a goal. I could not heal all my loved ones, but I could heal myself and let them see that it was possible. I could not undo what had been done, but I could come to terms with it and find a way to do something about what could be done. As Bobby Bare sang, "There ain't no tens." I can only do my best.
I turned 65 this week. I might have another 30 years. I might drop dead today. But each day I have, I will face with all the hope I can muster that the tragedy of adoption separation will become a thing of the past, that all my sisters..ALL of them and all our children can find healing, and that the Industry that has preyed on us for decades will come down like the walls of Jericho.
Hey, the quote said hope for the possible. It didn't say we couldn't hope BIG.
*Now, a lot of people think the Desiderata is trite because it has been quoted so much. But it still speaks to me as a guideline for life, one that I stray from often, but to which I also struggle to return. So I am quoting it here because I love it..
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble,
it's a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.