I am sure that we have not done a very adequate job of updating you all on his departure and his status since he has been gone, so here is a summary of all that has happened with Bashful in the last four weeks.
He has become the reigning fire starter in his group, he is working hard on his goals, he has been on a three day canoe trip with his tribe, he is often helpful around camp, he is learning how to carve, he usually has no troubles getting up in the mornings, and he is working very hard at keeping a clean and neat space in his footlocker and making his bed. Oh and my heart was happy to see that he had not been eaten alive by the mosquitoes!
I am not sure what I was expecting to find upon our arrival to camp. They say that disappointment is based on unmet expectations. I was so uncertain about what I would find or see in my dwarf, yet I in some ways I was hopeful for such "great" things.
We were greeted by a young man that looked, and smelled, and sounded like Bashful. While his teeth are cleaner than they have been in years, thanks to the hygiene station at camp, and a little intense peer pressure (see photo below of where the magic happens) there was a bit of a standoff posture to him. Oh, he greeted us appropriately. Hugs all around. He was excited to hand over a gift that he made for his eldest sister, and was super excited to see the Prince because he thought that I was the only parental attending....but there was just something that rubbed at me. Something that made me think (and say out loud to the Prince) that three weeks away had done nothing but change his geographical location to me. My heart was not softer, my attitude was not kinder and my words were a great struggle. Much about him just, well, sort of annoyed me. In a deep place.
I know that moms that have children that are a delight to your hearts always, may be struggling to read the words that I am writing, but I think in the span of our visit, even though here in the kingdom, I was doing what needed to be done to get through the day with Bashful, (sometimes the hours or the minutes) I realized just how much his attitude, his behaviors and his brokenness have affected me. I am hurt, and I am resentful and I am saddened. I can not place my finger on an exact thing. I just started to realize how deep and how raw the emotions are that run through me. Did I expect him to gush all over us, no. Did I expect that the boys in camp would be excited to meet us and that he would be excited to introduce us to the others, no. Did I expect that he would have had something profound to say to express his remorse, or to show me he understood his brokenness, or our sacrifice, or the need for him to get this help, maybe? Sort of? Mostly no.
What I do know is that God is not surprised by Bashful's station in life. That because of our diligence and because of God's great love for Bashful, He is also not surprised about any of our stations currently in life. God knows my heart and my hurt. He has created Bashful, and is working diligently through the chiefs at camp to assist him in his growth and maturity in ways that we could not here in the kingdom. As much as he loves Bashful, he love me too, and if I allow, he will show me how to work through the hurt of having and loving a broken child.
Here are some ways that you can pray for Bashful. Pray that he is able to start to "own" things. Be responsible for his words and his actions (or lack of them). That he would understand that no one is out to sabotage him, but many are championing to set him up for great success. That authority is a component of life that is necessary as a child so that you can learn, and grow and be successful in a protected environment. Pray for the chiefs that live with these boys in the woods six days a week. Pray for the camp as they continue to grow and offer hope to other parents that find themselves with boys in the same condition as Bashful. Pray for our family for healing and grace. Also for the upcoming Thanksgiving break where we have Bashful home for a week.
It was towards the middle of the visit when we were able to take this photo and Bashful actually seemed to be relaxing and able to smile... this is the dwarf that I love and miss... Here's to his healing, and his growth and maturity in the weeks and months and years ahead.
You just can't make this stuff up....