Some of my Facebook friends have asked me who the inner city boy is in some of my FB pictures. For a little insight about Polo you can read my blog A New Man in My Life (08/14), but this week I had to ask myself that same question as I held back tears at his eighth grade gradation.
There was a sweet video of all the graduates baby and toddler pictures and photos of the students with friends and on field trips. There were pictures of siblings hugging, family vacations and Fourth of July picnics. When it came time for Polo’s picture however, it was exactly that. One picture. When the state removes you from your home and you’re separated from your only sibling you don’t have a Creative Memories album to take to the orphanage.
Now that we have been mentoring Polo for over a year, when things happen that I’ve never thought about before he came into our lives, I reflect. I reflect on how sad it is that Polo doesn’t have baby or family pictures from his childhood. I reflect on how despite that this boy is happy, resilient, grateful and somehow still trusts people. I reflect on how much my kids have financially, relationally and spiritually. I reflect on what Polo’s future holds and what he will do after high school graduation. I reflect on a life that has been so unfair and what a follower of Jesus Christ response should be to it.
I can’t get Polo’s baby pictures. I can’t make up for almost 14 years of loss. I can’t do a lot of things but what I can’t do shouldn’t be my focus. What I can’t do in an overwhelming situation and incredibly difficult life is what has precluded me from getting involved with an orphan in the first place. What I can’t do is what keeps me from doing anything because I can’t make up for the loss, pain and disappointment that has already been done. So what I need to do and what everyone who calls themselves “Christians” needs to do is focus instead on what we CAN do.
Polo CAN have pictures from when we met him until he graduates high school. He CAN have memories of camping, sporting events and birthdays. Polo CAN know he is loved by a crazy Asian Italian family in small ways that matter to him. He CAN be the beneficiary, no matter how big or small, of all the CAN’S we can do. Can’s are rarely convenient and do not give me warm fuzzies. But I am learning if I profess to love and follow God then failing to look for and act on what I CAN do is an unacceptable alternative. I challenge myself and my kids on this all the time: Do we look any different because we follow Jesus?
“Dear Lord, thank you for what all of us can do. Obedience is an uncomfortable and inconvenient place, but God help me and help every Christ follower be open for “can” opportunities. Help me look for things I can do that may be small, but that should make it hard for me to sleep at night if I fail to do them. Thank you for Polo’s graduation and for the joy you have given Him despite the unbelievably awful past that has been handed to him. Please continue to protect him as you have and thank you that you have a great hope and future in store for him. In Your Name, Amen.”