The Nightly Void
(Written December 19, 2015)
It seems as though you die again every night after I put the kids to bed. I do not feel the shock I felt that first night, nor the confusion, nor the questions about how to face a future without you here. What I feel is the emptiness in the house, the quiet, the stillness in the air when I'm the only one awake to stir it. It's a fresh blow each night after the children are sleeping and I am again alone. I don't expect to see you at the kitchen table doing bills, or to sit with you on the couch to watch Netflix. I don't expect your warm sleeping body next to mine in bed. I expect nothing of you anymore and yet the void you left here encroaches completely in these quiet moments. The void seems a tangible entity. It's like every evening, all the oxygen is sucked out of the room and I have to remember how to breathe when all I can notice is that I can't breathe. It's like the flames and smoke of my loneliness engulf everything and I can't see past the tip of my nose. I remind myself in those times that morning will come again with all its various distractions of living-- but my heart won't quite believe it. It seems like a trick that life could feel fulfilling when I'm in the midst of the raging fire. Eventually I go to bed, pretending that I'll be able to fall asleep this night without any issue. I lay there and I listen to sad music, reminding myself that I am not the only one experiencing this hurt, hoping for catharsis. After a few songs, still with the bitter blanket of grief all around me, I somehow manage to drift off. Many nights I do not seem to dream at all, but on the nights I do, they are strange and confusing or they are nightmares. This sleep is not restful and so I begin my next day exhausted, just like every day has been since you died. Then my days again are times when I know the joy of our Lord; and I feel it-- and I am sure of it. This is my cycle of widowhood. Daytime with its busyness gives the respite I need so that I can press on toward HOPE in the promises of my Savior Jesus. In the moments of desolation-- in the fires, the valleys, and the deserts-- the Lord is there. Even if I cannot see His presence, the Holy Spirit continues to dwell inside me. And in the beauty of my life-- in the triumphs big and small-- in the moments my heart is full-- He is there as well. He is always present and He is always good. In the Lord's perfect timing, I will see: "And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:5 This life and its trials will all be worth it. Never underestimate God's ability to use your life and even your pain for a greater good.