Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Awake

It is nearly two o'clock in the morning and I have been wide awake since I collapsed into bed, exhausted, at eleven. I had every reason to fall asleep quickly, including but not limited to: a winner of a summer head cold, several nights of poor sleep in a row, long hours working out in the hot sun getting ready for this weekend's yard sale, and the expenditure of much emotional energy walking a friend through a major crisis.

I was tired at eleven, very tired.

But after hours of laying quietly in my basement cave of a temporary bedroom--nary even an electrical outlet to plug in a reading lamp--I finally decided to get up and come upstairs.

I suppose I am up to pray; I certainly have plenty to pray about.

2 comments:

Sheila said...

I know that tired; I know that awake. I totally get you right now, and let me just say that to walk with a friend is a blessing and do not let anything change your mind about it. It may be very tiring, and it gets heavy, and there may be times that you have to stop to rest, but it is a blessing - to you and to them. You are a good friend. Keep praying.

Dan said...

I feel your pain, Sherry! The ogre of insomnia is a chore.

I've been meaning to recommend a book for your friend that has been helpful for me. I would imagine that everything is all too recent and too raw for her to even consider reading a book, but when the time is right, I'd recommend Elisabeth Elliot's A Path Through Loneliness. It's a powerful, inspiring, and beautiful book that is raw and honest about the pain of loneliness and rejection that can come through something like what your friend is going through. My heartache when Meg said no to me can't compare with the heartache of your friend, but the book has been very helpful to me.

I also appreciate what Thomas Merton wrote about the Israelites in the wilderness. Certainly your friend is going through the wilderness right now, and the pain of losing her husband is all that she can understand, as well as trying to be a bulwark for her children. What an awful, awful thing! She's certainly going through a wilderness, and the only thing that she can cling to is God's love. This is what Merton said:

The Desert Fathers believed that the wilderness had been created as supremely valuable in the eyes of God precisely because it had no value to men. The wasteland was the land that could never be wasted by men because it offered them nothing. There was nothing to attract them. There was nothing to exploit. The desert was the region in which the Chosen People had wandered for forty years, cared for by God alone. They could have reached the Promised Land in a few months if they had traveled directly to it. (And this is the part I find beautiful!) God's plan was that they should learn to love Him in the wilderness and that they should always look back upon the time in the desert as the idyllic time of their life spent with Him alone.

But of course, we are human, and your friend only sees the sand and blazing sun of the desert, and wonders where God is. I'll pray that she turns to Him in her grief, and leans her head on his weeping shoulder, and knows that He weeps and cries for her, that he desires to enter fully into her pain, to take upon His own shoulders and carry it with her, and to walk forever with her and to transform the pain she is feeling now into a powerful bulwark of strength that declares the power of God's redemption of all of our sorrows and pains. But of course, all she can do now is feel the awful pain.

I'm praying for your friend.