Thursday, November 22, 2018

3AM

Despite growing up in California, I don't hate winter. It's always a shock going from looking out my kitchen window at a carpet of crunchy autumn leaves to that first gentle snowfall and while brushing snow off of my car and hunting for mittens in the morning is annoying, I don't hate it.

Once snow has covered everything and the cold sets, something changes in the air. Everything feels more solemn, quieter. One of my favorite things to do come winter is once the kids are in bed, go outside and just take in the stillness of the snow covered night. The moon and street lamps cast a pale light causing the blanket of whiteness to glisten as if sprinkled with diamond flecks. The energy is different- there's a sense of stillness, holiness.



This winter is like none other, though, and I don't know if it's the collective anguish in the world: fires, both metaphorical and real and the endless news cycle of violence that won't quit, but a heaviness has followed me. 

I woke up at 3:41 this morning and stared into the night of my bedroom. Sadness and its partner, pain, mercilessly engulfed my psyche. Every last one of my demons came out to play, reminding me of all the ways I'd failed, all the reasons I'm undeserving and all that I stand to lose because of it. 

The devil is a liar and I tend to believe the lies. I soak them up with bread and consume them without a second thought even after the poison sets in and spreads through my heart and mind. 

I thought of the losing this mother...losing yet another person whose soul I danced with in my dreams and didn't fight the tears as they soaked my pillow. 

"God please help me," I prayed silently. "Jesus, Holy Mother, Archangel Michael," I was desperate and appealed to any heavenly body who would listen. 

I didn't expect intervention, just comfort. I wanted faith like a drug, something to anesthesize me against the torment. I wanted to drink faith like a shot of something that burns and numbs, inject it, snort it, and cover myself in it like a salve against the burn that is my own humanity. 

Nothing happened. 

I existed in the darkness of early morning, wondering where God was and if He could hear me. I would never let my children suffer, why does He let me? 

Then I heard footsteps, little ones, walking toward my room. He was up. My five-year-old son. He'd had a nightmare. Sleeping with children isn't for me, but because it's so rare and he is so very small, I let him nestle himself into my giant comfortor. But he wouldn't sleep. 

"I'm scared. Can I have a light?" he whispered. 

He wanted me to turn on the little lamp on my nightstand. Knowing it would be impossible for either of us to sleep with it on, I said no and tried to settle him. He asked for one of the little battery powered tea lights I keep around the house. No. Why is he afraid when he's right next to me, I wondered, annoyed (I'm ashamed to admit). 

I held him in my arms and told him, "You're safe here, ok? I'll be your light." 

Every now and again, I say something to my child and know that God put the words in my mouth for me as well. 

"I'll be your light," the Divine promised me in the darkness of my bedroom, my son's fuzzy head close to mine. 

"In the darkness of this winter, when you're afraid of shadows real and imagined, I'll be your Light. I can see enough for both of us. Stay by my side. Trust me." 

"Ok," I answered into the night, exhausted, and fell asleep, my son at my side.