I’ve been tracking the days like I’m shipwrecked. I guess I am pretty wrecked. Mentally carving a mark into imaginary driftwood helps me keep track of each day my survival. I’m not sure why I’m doing this except that time feels so different now, and I might be totally lost otherwise. It’s also an acknowledgement of my survival. Each day is an accomplishment. That first day was the longest, but I made it. Breathe. The next day was a little faster, but now I’ve made it through two days. Breathe. The day after that a little bit more. Breathe. Eventually it was an entire week. Stop and catch my breath. Then another seven days makes 2 weeks. Now I’m counting in weeks, and it doesn’t take quite as long to catch my breath. Pretty soon, it’ll be a whole month. That feels big. It’s not like marking off days on a calendar, where I can locate what day it is, and look ahead. I can’t see past today. I’m marking unnamed days in this timeless void, where I’m stranded.
Part of me is sad that time is advancing. I feel like I’m being pulled away from her and leaving her behind. I absolutely loathe the idea of “moving on”. It’s a sort of separation anxiety, even though we are already separated. The farther away in time I get from her, the farther away she feels. But then I decide that moving on doesn’t mean that I leave her behind at all. The emptiness that has her name on it will go with me everywhere. So in a sense, I will take her with me as I go forward. I think I can do that, and it makes me feel a little better. When it is time to go back to work, though, I will need something more tangible. I’m not a very frilly girl, but I want a locket. I wonder if there are any modern lockets. I am thrilled to find a square one at Red Envelope, that I can have engraved with a “T”. This will bring me great comfort, and we will reenter the world together.
I remember sadly the women I’ve read about who have lost babies and do not have pictures, and I hope they have a mother’s necklace or a bracelet or ring, with a birth stone or an initial – something special that helps them feel close.
But my locket will also be a new kind of scarlet letter, a striking symbol of my brokenness that people will comment on. “Wow, I love your necklace! What’s the “T” for?” I will expose my vulnerability as I answer honestly and show them her sweet face. I will have to take a deep breath of courage before I answer, but I cannot deny her, or hide her like a secret. In doing so, I will find many who have suffered, or who have suffered alongside a loved one, and we will find comfort in sharing the pain. Misery does love company, and misery morphs into something else in the midst of company, something kind of lovely.
So, I’ve ordered the locket and phoned Joanne, who will print some tiny photos for me to choose from. We will meet for breakfast when the photos are ready. It’s a good excuse to get together and drink way too much coffee. I am beyond grateful for my friend and her priceless gifts.
I’m actually feeling excited about something for the first time in a while, but I still don't feel capable of much. It’s probably a good time to pick up that Bible I bought last summer, the one divided into 365 readings that are dated so that you can read the whole thing in a year. It’s also organized so that you read a little bit of Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs each day. This avoids getting bogged down in the all the seemingly irrelevant stuff in the Old Testament. It also appeals to me because you read it like any other book, front to back. I would never make it through a regular Bible reading front to back.
Having grown up Christian, I’ve heard a lot of Bible stories and various verses, but I really want to know how it all fits together. Have all those sermons I’ve heard been right on, or were the pastors taking the Scripture out of context in order to make their point? I want to know and decide for myself. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but I’m optimistic because each day is only a page or two. It seems very doable.
I started it last summer, but didn’t get very far. Not reading the correct day really bugged me. But now it’s early in the year, so I have a chance to get caught up. I go sit in my deck chair that I’ve brought in for the winter, put my coffee on the window sill and start reading. It is a grey drippy Tuesday, but it feels cozy for some reason, and I am relieved to be relieved of sadness, for now anyway. I make it through the Old and New Testament readings for today, but as I’m reading in the book of Psalms, the words sort of come alive and stop me in my tracks. “Trust Me”. I read it again, and again I feel in my bones, “Trust Me”. I didn’t hear anything with my ears, but the message is loud and clear. I sit frozen and wonder if this is what people are talking about when they say that God speaks through His word. It’s powerful and humbling. I sheepishly say to myself, and to God I guess, “Uhhh OK”, without much understanding of what just happened. I finish the day's reading without incident, and keep this little mystery to myself.
I carry on about my uneventful week, and go to church on Sunday morning. It is a small church where everyone knows about Trinity, and it is a place where I can cry my eyes out every week without caring who sees. It is a very healing place to be. People always cry during the music anyway, so I fit right in. It feels so good to be there, I go back for the evening service. Lighting really affects me for some reason, and the warm glow of the dim lights is severely cozy. The music is powerful, tears are flowing, my wounds are being cleansed. I go up for prayer at the end, and Javier, an amazing passionate elder in the church prays for me. He takes my hands, and has me lift them up toward Heaven. It is sort of like raising a white flag to God, and saying, “I give up! I surrender! You are in charge. Show me how to me to make it through this pain-filled life.” I don’t like having my hands raised at first, but then I begin to feel a little freer, as I let go of what? Control I guess. It is really evident in this moment how closely the physical and the spiritual are intertwined. The physical act of raising my hands has released something deep inside. I don’t understand it, but I recognize that there’s more going on here than I get. As Javier is praying, he says, “God is saying to you, ‘Trust Me’”. At that moment, all doubt was obliterated. That was God on Tuesday. I hadn’t told a soul about my Psalms experience. I am filled with awe, and it is easy to say, “OK” this time. It is also seems to confirm that when God says, ”No”, He has not only a reason, but also a plan. If He wants me to trust Him, He must have some good things up His big white sleeves. So, if life is like a roller coaster, am I going to hang onto the bar white-knuckled, or am I going to throw up my hands in a gesture of trust and enjoy the ride?