There are certain drives that I make at least once, if not a few times a week, one being to the place our kiddos get OT (occupational therapy), which also happens to be on the way to where they go for EAP (equine assisted psychotherapy). Driving to all of our multiple appointments is exhausting, but there’s one part of this particular drive that I always look forward to. The highway tops a hill, and no matter which direction I’m heading, I see mountains in front of me and mountains in the rear view mirror. It’s gorgeous no matter the season.
I love mountains. Maybe it’s because I grew up in flat Illinois among the corn fields and never really remember seeing a big mountain in person until I studied in Mexico during college. Seeing the mountains always lightens my moods.
Living in the Valley
The reason we see mountains in both directions is because we live in a valley. When nothing’s blocking out the view, we see the high tops of the mountains that surround us. We live in a valley! I was thinking about that the last time I made this drive in relation to our life. We’ve had some high points in the last 7 years, but as foster and adoptive parents, it always seems we are in the middle of some behavioral or medical crisis. We always are trying to solve some puzzle with a child, searching for a diagnosis, looking for progress, seeking healing. Some days of the foster and adoptive journey feel torturous and life sucking. There are days when I feel like I cannot move forward, like we’re stuck in this endless cycle of trying to help our kids heal and reach their potential to no avail… taking three steps back after a step or two forward. There are valleys and sorrows so deep they cannot be shared online. The other day I watched a doctor write PTSD on my chart and circle and underline it. The struggle is real.
“It’s not over Yet”
Earlier on our foster care journey, I was talking about some struggles we were having, and a friend said, “This too shall pass.” She went on to remind me of some of the previous valleys we’d successfully climbed out of with our kiddos and how much progress we had made. I recalled this conversation last week when I was driving a child to OT, and I thought how true it is. The valleys we are in now are not the same as the ones we’ve been in before.
As the kiddo and I were finishing up our drive to OT and I was lost in these thoughts, a song by For King and Country called “It’s Not Over Yet” began to play on the radio. These words caught my attention:
“[….]you’re bruised and beaten
And you feel defeated
This goes out to the heaviest hearts
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit […]
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet, it’s not over yet
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark, into the light, it’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in, never give up, it’s not over
Living in a valley, we often cannot see the mountains from where we stand. Trees, buildings, hills, darkness, or clouds block them from our sight, but the reality is they are still there. Valleys in life are temporary. Our kids need us to keep fighting to help them out of the shadows of the valley into the light of the mountaintop.