Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Launch

Dear Tulip,
          On the evening of your birthday, while you were still snug in your crib in China, we were far out on the very easternmost tip of Bermuda with a cardboard box full of Chinese lanterns.  What I had envisioned and hoped to be a 'holy' and 'breathtaking' time of reflection and thanksgiving turned out (as usual) to be something quite the opposite.
       Tulip, I wanted to launch four Chinese lanterns on the evening of your birthday to acknowledge the four special groups of people in your life:
1. Your birth family-who gave you life
2. Your orphanage family-who has sustained your life over the past 2 years
3. Your adoptive family-who will give you a future
4. Your Heavenly Father-who brought all of the groups of people listed above in and out of your life

The symbolism was there.  However, the perfect conditions for lantern lighting were not.  First of all, we had no idea what we were doing.  Having never lit these types of lanterns before and finding the directions were clearly NOT written by an English speaker, we had two strikes against us immediately.  Then add in the constant 'island breeze' and 82% humidity and we were quickly heading toward disaster.
Your daddy, bless his heart, never gave up.
 He burned off the tip of his finger and nearly lit his shirt of fire in his determination to light those four lanterns.  We could only get half of the lanterns to fly--the other two plummeted onto the rocks and burned up.  I cringed as that happened because I was so stuck on the symbolism of the four lanterns--I wanted all four to fly so badly and for everything to work out perfectly.  BUT, the longer I stood there and waited for Daddy to light the each lantern, I realized that the true symbolism was captured.  Not in the four I had pictured in my mind's eye, but in those two tenacious lanterns that, against all odds, did somehow manage to take flight high above the Atlantic ocean.

Tulip, as that first lantern struggled to gain strength and altitude, I couldn't help but think of it as a symbol of you--with all the odds against you, you falter, dipping down dangerously close to danger.....
.....but then slowly you inch back up....
climbing higher and higher.....
until--you take off!
All the while your biggest fans are cheering--
Go Tulip!!
{*these were the actual words we were shouting at the Chinese lantern. Mercifully, there were no witnesses}
Sweetie, we are ready to cheer you on--to watch you fly.  We will support you when you falter and yell like crazy people when you finally succeed. Some things are not going to work out 'perfectly' or 'beautifully'--some days will feel the exact opposite of 'holy' and 'breathtaking'. But man, that is where the true beauty will lie.

You are so deeply loved Tulip.  Hurry home, OK?
Love, Mommy

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