There is beauty all around us. Some of it is loud, some of it is soft. Some beauty surprises us. I know, I know…I’ve written a time or two before about looking for hidden beauty. Last week, though, I was reminded of the many forms and places beauty takes shape. Sometimes this splendor isn’t always in the pictures I look for, the images I capture with my camera. Sometimes the beautiful details are in every day life.
I repeatedly preach (occupational hazard of being a Pastor’s daughter?) to anyone who will listen about not missing opportunities to see the magnificence that surrounds us. Sure a sunset, wild flower, sculpture or mountain landscape practically blind us with splendor. Looking closer at grass blowing in the wind, white puffy clouds, the fluid patterns of rusted metal, or the reflections of light from a pile of broken glass reveals concealed loveliness that waits to be noticed.
Every day, I try to notice new beauty, find opportunities to discover those patient details waiting to be noticed. Sometimes though, I get in my own way and miss it completely. Last Tuesday was one of those days.
Last Tuesday, in a courtroom before more than 25 witnesses, we signed papers that finalized our daughter’s adoption. That’s a pretty big deal. Yes, early in the case, while we were still fostering her, we knew it would be quite possible to adopt her. We knew the risks. Yes, she was “ours” in our hearts from the day we met her. We knew we wanted for her to be with us forever. We waited. We loved her and waited.
And our day came. Tuesday’s day in court meant we were a forever family. It meant we don’t have to look over our shoulders anymore, or have people looking over ours. We have rights now as her parents! We don’t have to explain the situation to people about different names and paperwork they have to fill out, or paperwork we have to show them. We can breathe.
We couldn’t help but remember the sentiment of our son’s adoption, finalized just 17 months earlier. This day was certainly no less emotional. The significance of this day was huge. We shuffled in to the courtroom with friends and family around, waiting to see “the judge”. As he walked out and approached our little family at the table, I couldn’t help but notice how casual he was. No robe, cowboy boots.
He greeted us, sat, chatted with Nate, and tried to engage Lyla. He spoke to us about the meaning of the day, showed us the papers, had us sign on our lines, and then signed on his own lines. With a quick flip of his wrist, a smile in his eye and a hand shake, he congratulated us and invited us to take pictures in the courtroom. That’s IT?!!! I remember feeling disappointed at Nate’s finalization because it was so fast. This time, it was even faster!! He didn’t even make a declaration or announce her name to the courtroom!!! Just a hand shake???!!! What the….
I wanted to yell, “WAIT! That’s….IT???!!!”. But I just smiled back. The whole time pictures were being taken, I marinated in my indignance and disappointment. I smiled for the cameras and kept thinking…
We went through 67 social worker and lawyer visits, 38 bio dad visits, 12 doctor visits, and lost 60.88 days of sleep since Lyla came to our home in April 2013. (Yes, I can provide proper calculations.) All that, and a guy in cowboy boots and no robe comes out, takes 6 minutes to talk to us and sign some papers, doesn’t make a proclamation and that’s it?!!!
I stewed like this for days. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful, relieved, and filled with joy. But somehow I lost sight of that joy and peace because I thought those 6 minutes didn’t match the enormity of that day like I thought they should. I missed the beauty in those minutes.
When I took the papers out of the folder just yesterday to file them, I looked at them again. And then I saw the beauty…it was there all along. The judge’s signature, Lyla’s name, our names, the SAME last name, the names and signatures of our family and friends- perfect details. How could anything be more beautiful? How had I missed that?