Friday, March 22


Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Girl,

Fourty-two years ago today you bravely gave away your newborn baby boy to a hope and a future.  You had no idea what would become of your decision.  I imagine it was made out of a mix of what was best for him as well as what was best for you, or perhaps what was best for your parents as they continued to raise you.

I don't know your story, your situation.  Only your decision.  I'm told that you left your baby boy in the hospital to be cared for until his new parents arrived three days later. I'm told that you delivered him early while they were away visiting family grieving a passing. Into their grief, your baby boy was born. Giving him into a new family surely created some grief of your own.  Though perhaps your relief was greater. I can't surmise which.

Your baby boy was placed in good hands.  And he grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and humanity. In his twenty-second year I gladly committed myself to be his wife 'till death do us part.

You gave me a gift when you gave him.  While I don't believe that there is only one person for each of us to love and marry, I do believe he is a match for me that doesn't just suit me, but teaches me and gives me opportunities to give, to serve, to grow.  You gave me a loyal, so loyal, husband; a man who always assumes the best of me, values my words, encourages me, shows me a side that no one else sees.  And he kisses me every time we part.

He bonded with his family and doesn't question his origins.  But he thinks about you every year, on this day.  What do you do on this day, etched in your biological memory?  Every birth is traumatic to the body, but yours, too, was traumatic to the heart.  We women don't just walk away and move on.  But he could.

And he became a sweet, intense presence in my life.  A father of my three sons -- the last looks just like he did as a boy.  A seeker of God.  A pastor to many.  A mentor to some.  A leader.  He's invested in marriages, in families, in communities, in everything, really, that he didn't come into the world having.

I don't know how you did it.  At sixteen I was thinking about hairspray and individuality and black and angst and poetry and fear.  I was not thrust into thinking about bigger words like courage and perpetuity and mission.  You were a woman of strength and I pray that you have only continued to be so.  Statistics don't support it, but I do.

I want to say thank you for protecting him while he was yours so that I could love him while he was mine and see the hand of God in his life.  So that the church could be blessed: youth could be taught and fed and cared for, communities given a hope and a vision, the Kingdom played out in a thousand ways. That three more boys could come from him and be brought up to move into grace-filled vocations and dreams.  That a widowed woman could be cared for in her old age, that woman into whose arms you placed him 42 years ago and changed her life.  And that a man would grow to intimately know the words of courage and perpetuity and mission.  Just like his first mother so many years ago.

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For two years I have had comments turned off as a discipline to write for myself. I'm seeing the other side. I just ask that you comment with grace.