I am writing this on a flight from Florida to Michigan, going from 80°F to 20°F. Due to extreme weather in the northeast, we’ve been rerouted through Detroit, where we will most likely miss our connection because a passenger on this flight suffered a seizure moments before take-off. Seriously.
We are traveling back home to Virginia after a four-night Disney cruise to the Bahamas. It was extraordinary. It was our first family trip since we brought our son home from China almost five years ago. When we traveled to China to get Ren, we took ten flights round-trip. Quite a few of them were “out of the way,” but they ultimately took us to him and brought us home together. Sometimes we have to go hundreds of miles in another direction to get where we need to be.
At the onset of our journey to adopt Ren, I started a blog. When I was choosing a name for the blog, I asked my husband, Chris, what I should call it. He quickly replied, “Seriously.” I laughed and asked him why. He said, “Because you say it all the time.” I suppose it’s one of those words I’ve repeatedly uttered without realizing. Now it’s a word that frequently rolls off my children’s tongues. That’s when you know you say something a lot.
The journey to adopt our son was like looking in a mirror, one that reflects back your deepest passions and flaws. Chris and I felt called to take the orphan crisis seriously. We desired to put flesh and bones around a faith that sometimes felt untried and abstract. It revealed the ways I struggled to trust Jesus when He asked me to follow a path that I couldn’t see. It also showed me how seriously I tend to take myself. In short, the blog stood for this: take God seriously, take life seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. The older I get, the more I’m learning to lighten up, to laugh so I don’t cry. Doesn’t life consistently coax us to find humor in the obscurities that make us want to scream “Seriously?”
Here’s one such obscurity: traveling with children. On our way to catch the cruise ship, the children had me crying “SRSLY?!” on multiple occasions. The one that took the cake was when my daughter, Lucy, left her beloved stuffed animal, “Night-Night,” on the flight to Orlando. When we were in baggage claim, she broke down in a fit of anguish, realizing he was gone. “SERIOUSLY, child, we told you multiple times to make sure you had your things!”
Chris’s immediate reaction was, “Well, it’s gone,” but I was determined to fight for Night-Night. I ran to the baggage office and a Delta worker kindly called back to the terminal. Miraculously, our plane had not yet departed–it was searched and Night-Night was recovered. I was cleared to go back through security. I took the tram to the gate and reclaimed a priceless piece of my daughter’s childhood that was almost gone forever.
Night-Night has been through a lot. He’s had a craniotomy and a laparotomy. Chris, an eye surgeon, has sewn him up multiple times with surgical suture. Night-Night is also a bilateral above-the-knee amputee. The remnants of his legs are secured with rubber-bands. Most of his filling has leaked out through his previous head incision. He’s been with Lucy since she was an infant. He was by her side at the hospital after she got hit by a car. Did you know how much emotion and comfort can be captured in a fabric, a smell, a texture?
You see, the big secret is that I still sleep with my childhood blanket. I’m serious. I am thirty-six years old. It is falling apart at the seams. It’s been reinforced and sewn back together multiple times. My blanket is a steady source of comfort amidst a life of maddening polarities. It joins me when I’m drinking my morning coffee and gathering my thoughts for the day. It’s there during prayer and sex, two of the holiest things. Chris has learned to throw it to the other side of the bed.
Our family is divided into two parts: Extroverts and Introverts. Chris, Ren, and my oldest daughter, Tessa, are all strong extroverts. Lucy and I are highly-sensitive introverts. We all balance each other out. The E’s invite the I’s to play and engage. The I’s invite the E’s to slow down and reflect. None of the E’s in our family have “loveys” that they cling to–it just doesn’t do anything for them. It’s an interesting phenomenon.
Chris and I were discussing why Lucy and I take our loveys so seriously. I told him that it’s an integral part of self-soothing that perhaps our introvert-wiring still needs. I think these well-loved items provide access to pockets of wholeness and peace amidst a world that leaves us consistently fragmented by overstimulation.
To create moments of beauty and rest for myself and for others—this is what I take seriously. These are the moments from which the most authentic, creative things in my life are born.
These are the times I can hear God’s quiet whisper. Solitude is a super power. In quietness and confidence is your strength.
Other things I take seriously: direct flights, a good cup of coffee, adoption, Napa Valley Cabernet, poetry, the human heart, bumming on the beach, creativity, Italian food, good conversations, a sense of style, story-telling, and most importantly, Jesus.
Also, did I mention that the meal we ate before Lucy lost her Night-Night was at PF Chang’s in the Atlanta airport and Chris’s` fortune was this…
Seriously, God has such a great sense of humor!
What do you take seriously? What things make you cry, “Seriously?!”
Elizabeth (Libby) Kurz holds a BS in Nursing and an MFA in Creative Writing. Her work has been published in The Poet’s Billow and Relief Journal. After years of moving cross-country with the US Air Force, she now resides on the coast of Virginia with her family. When she’s not reading, writing, and keeping tabs on her three kids, she works as a registered nurse in the cardiac operating room. She is a self-proclaimed coffee snob, wino, and beach bum, who appreciates finding meaning in the ordinary moments of life. She occasionally writes at www.libbykurz.com.