All the Known that We Need
A couple of weeks ago, I ran the Philadelphia Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon with my dear friend, Jess. On the eve of the race, Jess asked me with genuine concern in her Philly accent, “So, how are ya doin’ with the adoption process?” With a sigh, I shared how difficult the wait has been for me, for Glendon, for our kids. I appreciated that Jess took the time to listen and offer insight, especially with her experience as an adoption social worker. Jess & I chatted and laughed for a while before going to bed, hoping to rest well for the miles ahead.
- Pre-race pic with Jess (on R)
Getting to the start line and connecting with other runners made for a fun, eventful morning. The gun went off, the bands played, and Jess & I laughed, enjoying each mile together. And then we hit mile 9. And I began to feel like…well, like garbage. I had no pain or cramping but I felt exhausted, physically spent, and wondering how I was going to finish this thing. After two previous marathons and countless other races over the years, I did not expect to feel this awful.
So, I went into my “zone”, a place not unfamiliar to me. This is where I go mentally when I need to stay focused, keep running, pray harder, and hang on to every motivational thought. And nothing is funny in the zone. NOTHING. Just ask Jess.
At about mile 10, thoughts of adoption meandered into my zone, uninvited. I was reminded of how hard this waiting continues to be. With the salt dripping from my foul-smelling frame, the sun beating down, and my sizeable thighs creating their own applause, I had an epiphany:
Adoption is like being asked to run a really difficult, painful race in the dark. With no end in sight.
Unlike our Philly race, this adoption journey has no posted finish line. No cheering crowd when you’re nearing the end because none of the spectators have a clue about the finish line. We could be running for another month before we can bring our baby home. Or another two months. Or until Christmas. Or Easter. Or until next summer. Or another year from now. Or…more. How do we prepare for all the unknowns?
What helped to motivate me through those last few miles was the knowledge that mile 13.1 was in the distance. Jess & I knew that the finish line was coming. If we could keep running…just a little bit longer. Rest for our weary, salt-crusted bodies was on the horizon. The knee pounding would end. Cold water was waiting. Carbs beckoned. Knowing that the end was in sight helped to keep us moving, to finish strong.
Not so with adoption.
I have no idea how long we’ll be running this difficult race in the dark. We are plagued by the unknowns. And we certainly can’t see the finish line. By God’s grace, I’m trying to run well despite feeling pretty discouraged, lately. I am so thankful for friends like Jess and for all of our family and friends who are running with us, infusing our hearts with Life and Truth, especially when I’m not sure how much longer we can do this.
Most of all, I’m thankful for the Lord, who was present on my fairly predictable 13.1 mile run. And who is ever-present on our weary run toward a sweet baby we do not yet know, on a road we cannot predict, with no knowledge of a finish line.
We’re choosing to trust that He is all the known that we need.