Some days just feel bruised—suddenly all purple-black and sore, tender.
Putting the towels away, the still-warm stacks soft in my hands, I lean into the linen closet and allow the tears I’ve been swallowing to come, quietly. At the moment, I am sick with seems and nevers, near-drowning in shadows and struggling hard just to breathe. I can hear Riley in the kitchen, laughing like a hyena over intentional misspellings and made-up words while she texts–Rilert instead of Riley, siflemple—siflemple?, thuff instead of the. She teaches me the freedom to be silly on purpose. When I get into the kitchen, she’ll want to show me every one of those—“Mom, look. Mom look, I wrote”—but I’m not ready yet for that. I know Zoe is tucked away now in her room, her legs curled behind her while she posts pictures on Instagram. In a few minutes, she’ll come to find me. She’ll put a hand against my back and ask, “Mom, are you okay?” I’ll not know how to explain, but I’ll try to put it into words, how a person can start well and then lose her way right in the middle; how the seems still hurt, even when you know there’s so much more truth that’s unseen.
I read something in my devotional book this morning that just now comes flowing:
God must rescue us from our blindspots.
…We must trust that, while we’re currently experiencing the effects of an eruption, God is taking most of the volcanic activity offshore to protect us from something we don’t even see (Miriam Drennan, 76-77)
While we’re currently experiencing the effects of an eruption…yes, that’s what this feels like—like molten burden spewing, like emotional ash, raining. A friend said something today that echoes now too, falling like a hand on my shoulder: God never wrings His hands with worry; He’s not wondering what to do or what will happen. Meanwhile I never know, and I’ve grown accustomed to it.
Adam stands behind me. I feel him before he speaks, and I swipe my eyes with my knuckles, gasping. “Forty-FIVE?” He says faintly, mimicking my usual I just can’t believe it tone. His blood sugar; I’d heard the glucose meter beep downstairs before he came up.
I’ve got to pull myself together. Emptied or not, low blood sugars won’t wait. “You’re forty-five. Okay, well, let’s get you something for that.” I lay a hand on his shoulder, searching his eyes for sharpness. “Orange juice? Or, raisins?”
Lava, that’s what it all is, and today I feel the urge to run away as far and fast as I can. But mother-love stills my feet, and God’s love moves me to pray. God must rescue us from our blindspots.
“Raisins,” he says, ahead of me on the stairs, his voice drifting back. He turns and walks away from me without looking back, talks to me without even turning his head to look. And suddenly I realize that my being there, my coming with him, my faithfulness to help when life goes all blurry is his certainty. I am with him, and that’s enough. When Adam feels weak and trembling, he tells me. He entrusts me with his blindspots.
And then I remember something Kevin read to me this morning—a prayer, when we sat in the early light drinking coffee, trying to see. I think this will encourage you, he’d said, and just that word en-courage–to put in or on, to surround or cover with courage lifts me.
Lord, so many of my problems stem from not remembering you. I forget your wisdom and so I worry. I forget your grace and so I get complacent. I forget your mercy and so I get resentful of others. Help me remember who you are every minute of the day. (Timothy Keller, The Songs of Jesus, 14)
So many of my problems stem from not remembering you. Even as I experience the effects of an eruption, He is with me. And this is how I hear Him, how He uses dozens of voices as His own, each a distinct tone, a syllable, a phrase reminding: Don’t be afraid, for I am with you and will rescue you. Remember me. And so in just that way, He touches me tenderly.