Bridge fostering or fostering with the intent being reunification, is, I imagine, a bit like finding out you have a terminal illness. Please before you judge what I'm saying here, hear me out. It's not comparable in the ways that a terminal patient knows their life is ending. It's not watching your physical body wither away...but it's knowing your days are numbered and making the very most of every one of them.
I'm reading a book...yes, I'm reading again this summer. If I had tried to read last summer I couldn't have made it through two solid pages. I was BUSY! I, with a whole lot of help and support from the man upstairs, helped two little boys learn to trust, learn to love, and learn to behave within a set of given guidelines. I promise ya, there were many days I'd have liked to read...on a beach...far far away...from everyone and everything! The author I'm reading is a cancer survivor. They are a beautiful set of people. I've walked the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure a couple times with my family, in honor of my Aunt Susie, who fought the good fight and won. It's amazing. Being surrounded by pink. Hearing stories of survival. Looking at the bald women walking... even running.. to show their strength, determination, and bravery. The stories are different but the same. They hate the disease but they love the reminder to live. I've watched my aunt LIVE. I'm beyond thankful for this.
I recently found out that a friend of mine has a terminal illness. I thought for two weeks what to say before I said anything at all. What do you say? How do you say it? When someone has had an impact on your life and changed you for the better, you want them to know. Especially if you know that your or their days are numbered. I decided to just speak my truth. This is what you have meant to me. This is how you've helped me and the ones I love. It was a little sappy but to the point. And of coarse a thank you. Something we all need to do more of. How in the hell did he end up praising me by the end of our conversation? Well, because people that have been reminded to live do these kinds of things. He called me a game changer. Guess what? We have something in common. The book I'm reading (please don't quote me!) said something about " the place where your greatest joy and the world's greatest need meet, is where you'll find your purpose". I thought of Nick. I've been a part of so many teams and played for some truly amazing coaches over the years, but I don't know that I've ever seen the same passion matched that I've seen watching Nick coach wrestling. There's no doubt in my mind that somehow he found that place where his greatest joy met the world's greatest need. He's been a game changer in the lives of some lost young men, looking for a place to belong, looking for something that mattered. He has been so much more than a wrestling coach to so many. Damn you for turning this back around to me...but guess what...if someone like you calls me a game changer, I guess I am! I've found the place that my greatest joy meets the world's greatest need as well.
You see, something beautiful happens when we start to REALLY value our time here...our time together. When we know our days are numbered, we start to be vulnerable enough to tell people what they mean to us. We start to remember to say thank you for the things that really matter. I can't have enough days to just stay in our pajamas and cuddle watching cartoons. I can't have enough days for adventure and soaking up everything we can see. I can't put my phone down because I want to capture every picture and I can't leave it tucked away enough because I just want to FEEL the moment. I can't give enough kisses or break up enough fights. I've learned to find value in all of these moments. I've been mad at God so many times in the past because things didn't work out according to MY plan. If I had only known it was all leading to me learning how to LIVE!!!
Don't waste time being angry at someone you love. Don't feel stupid for telling someone how you feel. Go ahead... That's the good stuff! Soak up TODAY! Do something fun or do nothing at all. Be grateful that you're alive. Be thankful for the good days, and in the bad days, be thankful for the good memories. Tell someone you love them. Be the one that starts one of those "pay it forward" acts. Take a walk. Read a book. Do something that brings you joy. Then spread it!