‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Friday, May 03, 2013

RAD is Not a Life Sentence, Part 2

Yesterday I sat in my car and watched my daughter's tennis practice. She's on the tennis team for her high school; it's her second year on the team. Normally I just drop her off and pick her up two hours later, but this time I stayed. And what I saw amazed me.

Just a few years ago my daughter could not have handled something as seemingly normal as a sports practice. I know, because she tried. But love, real love, has a way of breaking down the walls around our hearts, however impenetrable they may seem. The slow, hard work of helping my daughter learn love has paid off. In many ways she seems whole in ways I never thought possible for her. Sure, there are setbacks, but, all in all, her heart is strong and brave and willing to be open now. Yes, it took a good eight loooong years, but there is no deadline set by Love. 

And so, I watched my daughter play yesterday. And laugh. And get cheered on by fellow players. I watched her miss a few lobs but not hang her head in shame. I watched her loudly support her teammates with words of encouragement. I watched her look to her coach for feedback. 

I watched her immersed in the present moment, working so hard. 

And smiling all the while. 

This is something I could not have envisioned for my daughter when she came home. And here I was, watching her sweet smile break into a laugh over and over again. I watched other girls enjoy her company. I watched her take losses gracefully and I watched her truly truly, deeply and completely enjoy herself. 

Don't let anyone tell you that healing from the worst of traumas is not possible. Don't let fear tell you it cant be done. It can. Be patient. And be vigilant about love - deep, deep 'active' love. Find ways to love that defy logic. Sometimes Love requires us to put aside ourselves for long periods of time, to completely and totally give all we have to another human being. Love doesn't promise 'it will all work out in the end' if we do. It just whispers: 


A seed takes infinitely long to sprout and grow into a tree, especially if you are worried every minute about its growth. But if you love the seed and do everything you can to support its potential for growth, and wait, and wait......

Why then, one day there is a tree in your midst!

I watched my daughter's golden hair, buoyant in the air as she played the court. I watched her eyes focused. I watched her smile - oh that smile - light up two courts and a parking lot full of cars for two hours. I watched the gentle rain hit her face. I watched her heart singing - singing! - with each swing of her racket.

Score? Love.


  1. What a wonderful post! As a therapist this story makes my heart sing. I know it's not easy but transformation is possible and Nastia is a shining example of that. Keeping loving like you do, Keri. You never know the impact that you are having on all your children, whether they are close or far away.

  2. As a mother, this made my heart sing! : ) Healing of any kind is beautiful--but it was the way you wrote Shhhhhhh. . . watch that got me. I think that's what God wants me to hear in my parenting right now.

  3. I have seen healing in my big boy. It is a wonderful thing.... When I look at my daughter, with sexual abuse in addition to neglect, I wonder how long it will take, but I see so much to hope for.


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