I imagine my grief as a dark hole. Its a hole in a sand pit. It’s deep, it’s dark, it’s cold, but mostly it’s scary because I cannot see the bottom. Some days, I hoist my upper body out of the darkness and breathe in fresh air and sunshine, but most days I live just below the surface.
Sometimes I want to climb out, to stop hurting, to feel a moment of happiness again. Other times my mind is overtaken with memories of that horrible night, and I sink further down into my hole. These days are dark days. They are days when I miss her every moment, when I want to call her name along with Caleb’s just so I can pretend that she will come running. These are days that I am so overcome with my loss that I cannot embrace the living that is around me.
These days scare me.
Earlier this week, I was deep in my hole. A part of me had given up. I was tired of trying to resist the hole. I was tired of holding myself up near the surface. My strength to try was gone. I didn’t want to do it any more. Nights are particularly rough for me as I lay awake in the darkness and allow my mind to be tormented. I wish that I could sleep, but instead my mind races and I cry for hours.
In the night, I pictured my hole again and this time it was consuming me. I was falling down my hole and I didn’t care. There was no sunshine, no fresh air, I was being buried and I couldn’t breathe. I wondered if there was a bottom to this hole or would I continue to fall? Would I fall so far from the light that I would never be able to find it again? This thought scared me. What if I allowed this hole to cover me to the point that I would never come back? Never love my boys or dote on them the way a mother should. Oh, I could feed them and keep them in clean clothes, but would my grief so overwhelm me that I found no joy in them?
It was at this point that God intervened. Perhaps He saw satan tormenting me, or He saw my own heart causing this drama. Whichever it was, I know it was Him who intervened because in my mind flooded a new image. It was the image of Peter drowning in the dark sea and crying out to Jesus. Do you know the story where the disciples are in the boat and Jesus comes to them walking on the water? Peter, being full of faith asks to walk out also and Christ bids him come. Only Peter’s faith isn’t as strong as he thought and he begins to sink when he realizes the wind was howling around him.
He was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him.
In my own darkness, I cried out to Jesus to save me. I could not save myself, I knew that. I needed to be pulled up out of my hole. I needed help bearing the grief, in finding joy again, in loving my boys. I needed his strength because I had already proved that I couldn’t do it on my own.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand.
He caught me, pulled me up, and in my safe place, I fell asleep.
My favorite part of this story is the word “immediately”. As soon as Peter cried out to Jesus for help, Jesus helped him. I think that he was waiting for me to cry out to him. He was watching me struggle to hold it all together on my own. He was standing there, ready to rescue me as soon as I stopped trying to rescue myself. And when I reached that point, he stretched forth his hand.
What a wonderful God we serve.