When I caught II, I stopped praying. I didn't give up my faith, but I couldn't pray. Well, unless you count the prayers that God would just let II die, but I think they were more crying out in pain. Slowly, I have returned to prayer but it has never been what it was. I have taken comfort in knowing that my God holds me even when I cannot reach out and I have let my journey of faith be what it is and not try to push for what my soul wasn't ready for yet.
The experience with S brought me back to daily prayer. It had to. To help a hurting child heal, you must remain steady yourself. Even the pain of letting S go when I thought it was a much longer placement has not caused me to lose that change in my faith again. Instead, I find that as I walk in the mornings I talk to God again. I let go of my doubts and the years of not trusting the church. That time is not about an imperfect church. It's about myself and my Creator. I walk. I talk. I meditate. I heal every step of those walks, not just physically but in my soul.
Every step of my journey back has required I think carefully about how to care for me, how to balance my own healing and needs against a family that requires so much of me. It's so easy to lose myself, or resent their dependence upon me. I have to coach myself less and less. As my soul restores, I find the fear of losing balance is less. Every morning I get up and I walk. I get my olders up for school and I stay here to be part of their lives as they get ready for school. While they get ready, so do I. When they leave for their bus, I hug them and tell them that I love them. Then, I walk out the door and I walk. When I get back, I start the youngers on their day. When baby J wakes up and needs to go with me, I take him with me. When he doesn't, I walk alone. Each day that I make these choices, I restore that balance just as I allow my soul to heal. Someday, perhaps I will even find the courage to step back into a church.