Today our guest blogger shares a very personal experience on how he has "processed" his life.
By Rev. John Diener, Lifeline Team
The words flow from our lips in the course of a worship service, “And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life...”, and we may never give them a second thought. But these words frequently tug at my heart and cause me to reflect on a headline from a newspaper article some fifty years ago that simply read, “A Lot of ‘Processing’ Involved.” Pictured were six adults with one of them holding an infant affectionately called “Baby Boy Doe.”
The article simply stated, “Baby Boy Doe, an abandoned, unwanted foundling may never know how many individuals went into action on his behalf after he was found in a restaurant parking lot when he was less than four hours old.” This little boy’s mother chose life and left him in the front seat of a car, knowingly or unknowingly, where a purchasing agent ate daily at the Howard Johnson’s restaurant. He was eating that day with a doctor. As they finished lunch, they came upon the four-hour-old child and put into motion the measures needed to secure the child’s safety and well-being. This involved police, social workers, detectives, foster parents and a myriad of people “processing” details and providing care for the protection of life. The article concluded by stating that the Probate Judge would have the final decision regarding the young boy’s future. By the grace of God, this simply was not true. The Lord and giver of life has that distinction. He had people in place “processing” the matter long before his birth, during the chaotic event and His love and grace for life continues today.
I loved to read. The aforementioned article and others concerning the event were tucked in one of the books on a shelf in my room. My adoptive parents told me that they knew I would run across these articles some time - and when that time came - they knew that would be the right time to tell me that I was adopted. At age 9, I took the articles to my mother and asked, “Who is Baby Boy Doe?” Her answer was, “It’s you, John.” Within a few days, there was a gathering of all those who were invested in my upbringing in those first years - Godparents, court workers, the Judge, not to mention my sisters, and many of the children my parents cared for as foster children. There was certainly a great deal of “processing” involved in making me their child. They had to endure another process at nine years old to help me understand the whole idea of adoption since they were the only parents I ever knew. My parents put the following poem in my hands - one that I carry with me at all times - the legacy of an adopted child:
Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call mother.
Two different lives shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first gave you life, and the second taught you to live in it;
The first gave you a need for love, and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name;
One gave you the seed of talent, the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears;
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.
One gave you up - it was all that she could do;
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me through your tears,
The age-old question through the years:
Heredity or environment - which are you the product of?
Neither, my darling, neither – just two different kinds of love.
Because of all the processing that has gone on in my life, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, these are the things I can share about investing in one another for life. Except for Jesus, God’s only-begotten Son, the ONLY children God has are adopted children. We are familiar with the phrase that “it takes a village to raise a child.” Life, with all its complications and challenges, joys and blessings, is to be shared and “processed” with a group of people invested in life. As a child of God, a champion for life, stand for life 24/7 by investing in the lives of those around you. When it comes to life, from the womb to the aged, your voice, your time, your talents, your gifts will touch lives. The church family is a “village” invested in the lives of one another through prayer, fellowship, worship and caring and mission ministry. Who can we “invest” in for life with the grace of God?
The Lord and giver of life took an abandoned, unwanted foundling from the front seat of a car and brought him to Christ and led him to serve the Lord in His Church through the “processing” of many people caring about life. As the words of confession flow from your lips, may the prayer also flow, “Lord, use my life to be invested for life.” You may just be the one receiving a hug and a “thank you” for being there and making a difference for life.
Rev. John Diener is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Wyoming, Michigan. For more informaton on Lifeline, contact www.englishdistrictlifeline.org