My wife is a Birth Doula. In her work she often has to bite her tongue. It’s a part of her job to make sure parents have all the information they need in order to make a decision. Her job is not to make sure they make the “right” one. That’s hard. It’s something I think about every time we talk about her work, and it’s also uncovering some difficult aspects of my own.
It seems that Joshua Station is filled with stories that include myself and other staff people having to let go of control and simply love our folks well. Recently a young lady from our youth program was forced to make the decision to move out of her home to live with another family member.
I have been struck by the difficulty of loving her well through it all. Loving her well, I am finding, doesn’t mean fixing things. The raw truth is that this cannot be fixed. That’s really hard for me. I am the guy that wants to make sure that she never has to deal with this pain ever again. But still the pain returns. I want to make sure that everyone in her life makes only the healthiest choices for her, but then they don’t. It’s as if God is using a crowbar to pry my fingers away from the whole situation—asking me to take a step back and realize that this one’s out of my control.
Loving is not fixing. But what does it look like to love a 13 year old who has never known stability? If I can’t protect her, what does loving her look like? Today, maybe it looks like a prayer. Maybe tomorrow it will look like a hot chocolate and sincerely asking how she’s doing. Honestly, I don’t really know what it looks like. Love is like that. It’s mysterious and impossible to boil down to a formula. For now I feel like I am simply being invited to hold her story with intentionality. To pray. To grieve. Maybe that’s what love looks like after all.