To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. – C S Lewis
When Maria* came to The Children’s Home with her two siblings, Jorge* and Olivia*, we had no guarantee of the amount of time we might have with her. Just as with every child that comes to us, we could have years or mere months.
But no matter. Stacy and Lou Holt, her family teachers, along with our entire team of staff, approached Maria as we approach each child: risking vulnerability. We covered her with love and grace, intently focused upon building relationships and making her feel safe, secure and treasured. And she did.
We had fun with her, prayed with her, laughed and cried with her, taught and guided her. We forged deeper and deeper bonds and she flourished: Maria with her deep throaty laugh, contagious grin and sparkling eyes.
We watched with pride and anticipation as Maria’s mother, Kendra*, did things right and made positive changes. Kendra would thank us for taking care of her kids, grateful that they were in a loving place, but her hunger to have her kids with her was clear.
Finally it was time. She had done everything asked of her, and Kendra got her kids back. When Maria left, the Holts were heartbroken and happy – knowing they would miss her, but confident in the situation. It seemed the poster for success.
Sadly, as the old saying goes, sooner or later, everyone’s bill comes due. it wasn’t long before Kendra was picked up for trial onan old charge. Once again her kids were taken from her. But this time, a very difficult situation was made easier because of the relationships already formed.
When Maria walked back into the Holt’s home, she was welcomed with joy. She knew she was walking into a place where she was loved. Kendra reminded her,”I’m not worried about you, baby girl. I know you are in a safe place. I know Stacy and Lou love you and will take good care of you.” The groundwork had been laid and the reward is great. Even though it’s been difficult to watch things unfold, we have a basis of relationship to help Maria and her siblings with this new twist in their story. During a recent phone call, Kendra asked for prayer. As you pray for our kids, would you pray for their parents as well. And contend, too, for our family teachers that they would have the heart of Christ who risks everything to love.
Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. – Brené Brown
* names have been changed.