Monday, January 4, 2016

Thoughts On Becoming A Wide Receiver

Mr. S getting an eye exam just before the new year.

One of the lessons I’ve been learning over and over again the last few years is that it is blessed to receive. It’s been a humbling – and beautiful – lesson.

As part of the hosting program, host parents are asked to get their host child dental, vision and medical exams. (If you’ve adopted internationally, you know that current and accurate medical records from American doctors are HUGE for so many reasons, not the least of which is that the records are in English and therefore aren’t subject to possible translation errors). The caveat is that the only medical insurance these kids have is travel insurance that covers emergencies. So, the host families are encouraged to ask doctors to donate their services.

At Thanksgiving, when we were back in our old stomping grounds, I hand-delivered letters to our prior dentist, eye doctor and pediatrician asking them to gift the visits. I also asked a Mandarin-speaking friend if she’d serve as an interpreter at the eye doctor’s (the dentist speaks Mandarin and I knew we could get by at the pediatrician). Each one of these beautiful people said yes.

Could Matt and I have scratched up the money for the visits? If necessary, we would have. But can I tell you how meaningful it was that we didn’t need to. Immensely so.

The doctor visits took place after Christmas. There was the usual waiting room angst and poor Mr. S was a wee bit nervous about shots, but, in a way, these visits felt more akin to stepping into a cathedral with light streaming through the stained glass window than a place with crinkly paper covering the tables.

These weren't just routine medical exams. These were acts of communion.

While not Buddhist, I always enjoy watching Thai monks make their morning rounds with their alms bowls. The monks aren’t ashamed or embarrassed; they know they aren’t taking food, they are receiving it.

Receiving is a sacred act.

Monks carry their alms bowls close to their stomachs - not because of the contents - but because of the connection. They carry it with two hands, even when it's empty. The bowl isn’t just a repository, it’s a vessel.

Receiving is not a passive act. Lift your arms high today. Cup your hands wide. Receive with grace.