Emotions stand at what feels like a mere blink away, always. I hear her message, that one I read just before a daughter was delivered weeks early and would need multiple surgeries before she and I finally got to sleep under the same roof of home…eucharisteo. Thanks in all circumstances, for all things. That effort of deciding to look around you and outside of you? It changes everything. I say to the friend who is checking in on me these 9 years later when I need the truth again “pray that I am able to give thanks for this relationship. If I can just be thankful for it, I will be okay.” Emotion makes my face wet and I dab at my eyes to avoid the great mascara flood of this day.
I awake with 5 hours of the night still ahead of me, and it’s no use expecting sleep anymore, because my heart is at odds with truth but taking over my mind, so I say the words I have known since my childhood: “love does not keep a record of wrongs. Love covers over a multitude of wrongs.” The words are on repeat now, so I get up, pull on socks, and head to the kitchen to make tea. Our kettle broke a long time ago, and it’s probably for the best since the whistle would wake everyone up every time I make tea. I am always making tea at 1 o’clock in the morning, it seems. I settle into the chair next to the lamp, and I open my bible and a journal.
When our daughter was in the hospital, I would send email updates to everyone praying for her, which looked an awful lot like journal entries. I remember the week after the baptism in the NICU, her little body bloated and immovable, her life suspended by a machine trying to convince her lungs that there was more than toxicity to grasp ahold of. I would stand next to her, watching for discomfort, and while the nurse suctioned out for her all the secretions she couldn’t get out herself, I would pressure my hand on her head, proving to her that something greater than that machine was with her, and she would rest again. How many times I stood there and prayed “Our Father, who art in heaven…give us this day our daily bread…” because I was out of my own words to pray.
I read 1 Peter, and 2 Peter, and I read 1 John. My eyes are getting heavy again, but I pick up my pen to write, and vile bitterness that looks like murder comes out on the page.I can feel my heart is being clenched with the pressure of a God who refuses to let go, and I continue to write what I don’t feel, but I know to be true. I love because He first loved me. I can forgive because He forgives me. I can let go and even forget, because I am created in His image and that means that there is no diminishing me, no matter what has been said or done; no matter what I have felt. “Give me clean hands. Take not thy holy spirit from me. A woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. The heart is deceptive, who can know it? His yoke is easy, His burden is light.” The truths (bible verses I learned as a child) keep coming, and they are being felt deep in my soul, as if the fear and the uncertainty and the hate is remembering that there is something better to grab ahold of, and it gives life.
An ancient praise and worship song from highschool youth group days bubbles up: “Oh God, you are my God, and I will earnestly seek you…I will learn to walk in your ways…” (I am always telling my kids that what they listen to becomes written on their heart forever), and I sing the words quietly because now it is 3 o’clock in the morning and people are still asleep, but I am still remembering words I etched on my heart during the years when all things seemed easier. I have just enough energy to know what is happening to the toxicity, so I take a deep breath, and rest in knowing that His mercies are new every morning.