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Just dropping by ... This too shall pass

Yevet Crandell Tenney for Progressive Dairy Published on 17 April 2020

As fear escalated in January 2020 over what would become a global pandemic, and the store shelves became devoid of the necessities of life, I thought about the hard things of the past and realized that nothing stays forever.

No matter how hard it is, it will pass into oblivion.

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I was looking though my files and found this excerpt from the past. It reminded me of another time when life was crazy. I was in the mad rush of raising six children, five of them adopted. I can’t say it was easy. In fact, I must say it was downright hard at times. I never wanted to give up because I had committed my heart to them, and I knew another heartbreak for them would be devastating. I couldn’t give up. Here is what I wrote on a good day; back then I didn’t have the heart to write on a bad day:

“Sometimes I just get so tangled up in life that I forget all the Lord has done for me. I get lost in the fragmented disorganization of my life. I notice the sock left on the floor and the stain of the spaghetti sauce on the tablecloth. I see the crumpled leaves on a plant instead of the plethora of ripening tomatoes. I look at the stains on the old carpet instead of admiring the entire room full of new carpet that my husband just bought for me. I walk through the garden looking for bugs instead of looking for new leaves and developing fruit. I listen to the radio and watch the television and open my mind and heart to all that is wrong with the world and blink briefly at all that is right.

“My doctor has a solution to my problem. As he scribbled me a prescription for Prozac, he said, ‘You are depressed. I can’t see how you have gotten along this far without an antidepressant.’ He knows I have five adopted children. Three of them are teenagers and two think they are. All have special needs. Their parents let life overwhelm them and abandoned their parental responsibilities, leaving their children to the state.

“My husband and I gathered them up and brought them into our home. Our house is big and was soon going to be empty. Our hearts were ready to welcome new life into our home. We had just raised five children and had one to go. We were pros as parents and knew just how it should be done. I had taught 7th and 8th graders and had been through the refiner’s fire with my students. I naively thought I had seen it all. So much for illusions of grandeur! We were not prepared in the least.

“Raising adopted children is a challenge that comes with a lot of baggage that is not in suitcases. These children miss their parents. No matter how bad things were with them, they still love them and are confused about why they can’t be with them. These children come with old habits of fighting and scratching to get the things they need. Often, they have been with two or three foster homes and formed attachments only to be sent away again. They don’t understand and often blame themselves. What is worse, it is natural for them to shift all the good things the new parents are doing for them to their biological parents and blame the new parents for the bad things their biological parents did to them.

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“That sounds crazy, but love is not a logical thing; it’s an emotional thing. These children didn’t have the benefit of logic. They couldn’t see why the state had yanked them from their home for their own protection. Being beat up by an adult is normal to them. In their minds, having to fend for themselves for food and needs was just everyday life. They’d never seen a better way. Life had always been broken for them. They have been jerked from their comfort zone and will do anything to get back.

Some children’s comfort zone is conflict and chaos. If there is peace and calm, it is uncomfortable. The best way to remedy the situation is to create chaos. Bite or smack somebody. Take something that doesn’t belong to you. Scream for two hours even if it means discipline. No matter how your heart cries out to these children, they are not mature enough to understand why their behavior is destructive, and tough love seems like hatred.

“Because they are bereft of love, these children often misbehave and do socially unacceptable things to get attention. Putting poop in a brother’s backpack seems to be a good choice for revenge and pouring turkey grease and bones from Thanksgiving dinner into the van carpet seems like a logical thing to do for fun. We have had nails put under our vehicle tires and lug nuts loosened from the neighbor’s car.

Once, my husband and I were driving down the road, and we saw our tire rolling down the dirt road in front of us. Upon closer examination, we found that both the front tires had loose lug nuts. It was a good thing we weren’t driving down the freeway. Another time, we couldn’t figure out why our car wouldn’t start. One of the kids had taken the garden hose and let it run in the oil receptacle. When we questioned him, he said, ‘I was just trying to wash out the engine.’ These children are precious, but it seems they have little or no impulse control. What a time!”

Those were my thoughts back then. To quote a famous song, “Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end.” The years have come and gone. I never took the Prozac. I cried rivers of tears and threw temper tantrums that only made the situation worse. I learned to pray for relief, and though it didn’t always change the situation, I changed. I grew gentler and more tolerant. I learned that every battle didn’t need to be fought and every misbehavior didn’t need to be corrected.

Finally, it was over. The graduations came and the weddings followed. The children grew up and left home one by one. In time, nearly all of them have written me a letter or talked to me on the phone telling me how sorry they were for putting me through hell. They have all recognized the love I tried so hard to give them. They didn’t grow up to espouse all my careful teaching. They grew up to go their own ways and make their own decisions. That is how it should be.

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The experience made me better. I’ve come to realize that doing hard things doesn’t last forever. Hard things come and go, and we survive. In my lifetime, we have had one crisis after another. The talking heads and the modern soothsayers predicted the end of America more times than I care to count. Y2K at the turn of the century was supposed to be the end of the world. The economy was supposed to never recover from the most recent crash, and we were destined to be a Third World country forever more. Even before that, the nuclear age was a constant threat. The bomb was supposed to be the end to all mankind. One careless touch of a button and poof, America would not survive. Three times while I was in Italy during the 1970s, an exact date for the end of the world made headlines. Each day came and went without incident.

Back in the 80s, I wanted to go back to school for a master’s degree, but I was concerned about the economy. I was sure we were in for another depression. I went to my dad and asked him what he thought about my going back to school with the economy so unstable. He said, “The economy is always unstable. If you want to go back to school, go.” I went, and he was right.

There is always a new doom-and-gloom forecast from the media. There is always a new crisis on the horizon. I know one thing for certain. It doesn’t matter what the soothsayers predict; if we trust the living God, it won’t matter what we face. We will get through it. If we live, we live unto the Lord, and if we die, we die unto the Lord, and He will consecrate our suffering for our gain, just like He did with me while raising my children.  end mark

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom.

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