Friday, March 30, 2012

Flowers by the Path

Two Sundays ago, we were sick and stayed home from church. (By "we," I mean me and/or some of my children. I can no longer remember who contracted the cold when--only that it feels like we've had it since 1973...and it's still going!) While nursing Graham that morning, I turned on the radio and caught the last little bit of "On Being," an NPR program that featured as its guest that day a gentleman named Kevin Kling.

Kevin Kling was born with a congenital defect, and five years ago, a motorcycle accident resulted in further disability. That hasn't stopped him from building a career as a successful playwright and author. I heard him read the following excerpt from his book, The Dog Says How:
Back in the days when pots and pans could talk, which indeed they still do, there lived a man. And in order to have water, every day he had to walk down the hill and fill two pots and walk them home. One day, it was discovered one of the pots had a crack, and as time went on, the crack widened. Finally, the pot turned to the man and said, "You know, every day you take me to the river, and by the time you get home, half of the water's leaked out. Please replace me with a better pot." And the man said, "You don't understand. As you spill, you water the wild flowers by the side of the path." And sure enough, on the side of the path where the cracked pot was carried, beautiful flowers grew, while other side was barren. "I think I'll keep you," said the man.
My little cousin Aaron has a condition called arthrogryposis that limits the use of his hands and feet. It takes unusual effort for Aaron to walk. He can have trouble feeding himself, since his arm has a limited range of movement. When Aaron falls down, he typically ends up with a face full of nasty scrapes and cuts, because he can't reach out to catch himself with his hands.

Three years ago, Aaron was an eastern European orphan with no future save a lifetime in desolate institutions. Society saw Aaron as a leaking pot, something to cast off and abandon. But by God's grace, there were people praying for Aaron. And God saw fit to answer those prayers through Rob and Julia and Ben and Elijah Nalle, my uncle's family. They adopted Aaron and made him one of their own. They looked at Aaron's beautiful little face and saw by eyes of faith, not the crack in the pot, but the flowers along the path.

In Aaron's story, actually, it seems that an all-out rose garden now borders the path. The experience of adopting Aaron left my uncle and aunt with knowledge and burdens they literally could not keep to themselves. Through their blog, they are now daily advocates for the children and families of Reece's Rainbow, among others on the journey of adoption. God is using Rob and Julia and their boys to do good things. They speak out, they write, they post pictures, they talk, they educate, they inspire, they give, and they pray, pray, pray. Their efforts over the last few years have transformed my heart and my prayers. I think I might even say that I've become a little bloom on the path of Aaron's life.

This month, Rob and Julia are doing a little project. Well, not so little, really. The project is called the Mulligan Stew Give-Away. It's a combined effort by the Nalles and a whole bunch of their friends to raise money for [mostly special needs] orphans and their prospective forever families. Adoption is a costly venture, especially in the countries where many of these kids live. Most families can't do it without help. Hence, the Mulligan Stew Give-Away, where you and I have the chance to contribute to desperate kids and the families who want to bring them home. Not only that, but there's the added incentive of chances to win one of the lovely donated prizes.

I could go on and on about this, and I have wrestled so much (for weeks!) with how to write this post. But I've finally decided to stick with what's here. That's primarily because this give-away ends tomorrow night, when March turns to April. So go check it out! And please, PLEASE consider giving... even if the amount seems tiny. Nothing is too small for God to use to care for these orphaned children. Give whatever you can give. And pray that God would provide families for these kids, especially Harmony and Laurel, who will age out of their countries' adoption pools in a few months and be relegated to adult mental institutions for the rest of their lives.

Please. Even though this is super late notice. Stop and pray right now. Give. Be one of the flowers by Aaron's path--for God's glory, and for the sake of His precious orphans.

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