When all that could be done has been done…
When all paths open to us have been taken…
When all options have been explored…
When all bridges have been crossed…
… what do we do?
It's not as if we can shut off the love we have for our family, friends and neighbors. It's not as if we are all clinicians of a sort, able to distance ourselves from people who are hurting or are in need. These people are our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, children, friends.
They are us.
We cannot relinquish our love, but there comes a time when we must relinquish how that love lives out in daily life.
She is beautiful — dark hair, dark eyes, and a small nose that turns up quite well when she is pointedly ignoring you (smiley face). She loves her hoodies, bonfires, and music. Like most kids her age, she wants to get her driver's license, become independent, and pursue her dreams.
Her birth mother drank heavily during pregnancy resulting in an FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis for this beautiful young woman. She has a bright happy spirit, but her spirit isn't always capable of thinking ahead. She lives in her world of emotions, makes her choices in split seconds, believes people when they say: "Oh we'll pay you back, of course!", and she loses track of details easily.
It wasn't until she had been through a list of foster homes and a locked down group home that she entered into a loving family setting. She found people she could begin to trust as parents; she found other people to help her with budgeting and living independently; she found people to hear her story, to listen to her, to love her.
Love didn't seem to be enough, however. At least not in human terms.
Day after day became crisis after crisis.
Discovering peers with like life difficulties, her lying increased… her drinking turned to binging… her activities at parties became ones she regretted again and again… and her money dried up.
Loving people did come for her. Repeatedly.
She loves the people who loved her back. Truly. Life simply becomes so fuzzy and out-of-focus when she's pressured by others who really don't love her for who she is. Still, she chases after these people more and more.
Meetings are called. Support networks are set up.
All agree that failing at certain things is a form of learning.
But what sometimes can't be spoken aloud is: "What happens when failure leads to devastation… or even death?"
Wasn't love supposed to be enough? Wasn't God supposed to be her Source?
When every bridge has been crossed…
In community, it's not simply the person being served who is at stake. All are.
When we cannot let go, knowing the danger that is lurking at the door, hold us all close. Show us another path, if another one there be.
And if it be that we let go and watch her fall, love us all in the moment. And for many moments beyond. Broken as we are, give us strength to step back, to hand over what control was not ours to take, and to return to who You need us to be for her and for each other.
You will not let Your Sparrow falter.