"...for one so small,
you seem so strong
His arms will hold you,
keep you safe and warm
This bond between us,
can't be broken.
You will be here
'cause you'll be in our hearts
Yes, you'll be in our hearts
From this day on,
now and forever more..."
I remember hearing "You'll be in My Heart," from Disney's "Tarzan" for the first time in a darkened theater and thinking, I will always love this song. It will always remind me of this moment. Well, it always has...until I met Ian Forber-Pratt.
If you don't know Ian, I hope you will get to know him, just a bit, through this post. I say, "a bit," because the breadth of Ian's presence in our lives...and the lives of our children, and every other child who knows him...is so vast it would be impossible to encompass in one post.
Ian gives of himself.
Himself...not things, or money, or food (although he is pretty generous with whatever he has of those as well)...but himself. His time, his attention, his wisdom, his humility, his heart...is theirs.
I've seen photos of the day baby Ian first arrived in the United States from India. His new dad could have held him in one hand. He was a peanut...so, so tiny. If there was ever proof that the size of one's body, does not define the expanse of one's affections, Ian is that proof. For one so small at birth, he is truly a giant among men..just ask any of our kids.
Adopted from India, raised in a home filled...to the brim...with love, steeped in spiritual strength, and devoted to the lives of children, Ian makes a difference in the life of everyone he touches with his indominable life purpose.
Our daughters, like most of the teens I know, met Ian at church, and the bond of genuine love and acceptance was instant. His spirituality is real, pracitical, fun, and they all love him. He has given our children a lens on a living, breathing, palpable love, that I don't think they will ever forget.
Game nights at his home, Sunday School sleepovers, breakfasts at church, youth summits...have given them an inside track on what it actually looks like to love God in ways that feels doable.
So, here's the heart of this post. A window on what...I think...makes Ian tick.
He is complete. And he told us about it the other night at church. He said, he realized that since God is Father-Mother, he is not just a separate individual being roaming the earth. He is, within himself, a family. He is a walking family. And I would add, that since he (like all of us) is a child of God, he is a complete family. Father, Mother, child....all living, loving, working together, being purposeful...within one individual.
Ian seeks no one to complete him. He loves without need. He gives without expectation of being reciprocated...because he is already aware of his completeness. Whatever you give Ian, he appreciates, but not because it fills in any blanks, or meets any needs, but because it furthers your understanding of how well-resourced you are as a generous giver. He loves watching each of us discover that we are..one, and all, a complete family within ourselves.
Ian's journey is taking him back to India on Tuesday. Tomorrow our church family will gather to send him off with more love than our little bulding can possibly hold within its brick walls. I am so thrilled for all the children in India who will be blessed by Ian's presence in their lives. For the foster care program he will initiate there. And for the orphanage he will take under his wings. Just think of how much it will mean to each of those children to learn that they are complete...within themselves. Complete enough to have so much love to give that they can bless the lives of others. It makes me weep with gratitude.
But I don't think I will be alone when these tears of gratitude and love continue to flow like a river...for a long time. Ian' GPS may say that he has gone to India, but he will always be in our hearts...from this day on, now, and forevermore... always...always, and always.
We love you Ian...
Kate, Jeff, and the girls...
Just in case you missed the link to "You'll be in My Heart," above...here it is again...it is so beautiful. Happy Mother's Day...