• Erica Rosi Tham

In Seattle While Waiting to Adopt: The Outer and the Inner World

Living in Seattle is not easy while we wait for approval on our adoption from CARA, the Indian authority. After the stress of covid19, then two weeks of protests, a group of protestors have created their own space near the center of the city. The first name for it was CHAZ, Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, and it’s now called CHOP, Capitol Hill Organized Protest. No one knows how long CHOP will be there.

During that first day, as the mayor gave up the police precinct and the protesters barricaded their zone, those of us living close by had no idea what would happen next. I felt so frustrated and helpless as I read about our mayor and governor both siding with this group, and I found myself on Twitter, sending messages to organizers to tell them they were disrupting our adoption process.

Later, I decided I had lost my mind when I got on Twitter. I looked within and made my own peace with the movement; if people needed to express themselves, maybe it was best for them to release their frustrations. Yet my peace of mind lasted only a day. I began hearing disturbing reports about how this zone is lawless during the nighttime and how many of the people who lived in this area have had to stay with friends or rent apartments in other locations. Regardless of what anyone believes about racism, this is not fair to the residents and small business owners. If this could happen to them, what about the rest of us? Can we feel sure that the next organized protest of indefinite duration will not happen in our neighborhoods? And what will this mean to the prospective adoptive parents of Seattle if CARA is reading this news while deciding on our cases?

The Outer and the Inner World

During these unsettling times, we can take some comfort from distinguishing the outer and the inner world and coming to a greater level of awareness regarding both. I am using this as an exercise to help with difficult feelings, to notice where the issue springs from and to tell myself, that’s the outer world. I’m interested in the inner world.

I believe that when life seems to flow in an easier way and systems appear reliable, we place far more value in the outer world than we consciously realize. Even though we do contemplate our mortality and experience profound moments in our spiritual lives, still we are preoccupied with work and family goals, our busy schedules.

At a time like this, we are forced to recognize that all of our anxiety and fear is based on the outer world. From the hypocrisy we find in conflicting ideas regarding social distancing, closed businesses and lengthy protesting in large groups to the provocative and empty statements of our leadership as they face off on social media, what we really discover is that the outer world is not and never has been a place where love reigns. In times like these, the scales are truly removed from our eyes. We can no longer believe in the temporary band-aids of cute movies or exciting new products. The lifestyle we had before now feels like a strange dream, and that is what it was.

We can see our inner world with God in a new light too, with clarity. In the inner world, love does reign. In the inner world, the promise of a better world to come remains unchanged. In the inner world, there is no hypocrisy. What a relief! In the inner world, the soul slowly undergoes a beautiful metamorphosis as it moves from a cocooned state toward flight, from blindness toward sight. This is the only world we have ever actually had, the one we take with us when we pass on. But it is also a world that we have right now, our inner world with God.

If, like me, you are sometimes upset by the next piece of shocking news, please take care of yourself, rest, and when you are ready, consign that news to the outer world. With kindness and patience, find your way back to the inner world where love reigns. Love does reign inside each of us every day, all the time. This is the only news we need.

From this strength we find within, we will know what to do. For me, this means writing the truth on how this mayhem is affecting our adoption and sharing it.

Erica Rosi Tham

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