What is it about the deep hours of the night that cause an introspection so dramatic it often beckons the exhausted to rise?
My eyes pop open. 3am. Hmm, must be the tacos I ate for dinner or that late night glass of wine. In an attempt to ignore it, I roll over only then to come face to face with my mind’s closet.
What shall we ponder tonight?
How about pulling out the twins of Guilt and Grief that hide in the shadows of my heart until those moments when the darkness within matches the darkness around me and all I have to distract me is the racing colors of my mind? Seems like the best option tonight.
Guilt, every place I failed as a mother, I have twenty years of fodder to offer for that one. It compels me to text an apology to my son that is such a small nonsense yet my heart wants to say, sorry for every failure and place where I was impatient and inconsistent in my parenting. For the last 20 years. Sorry for being a sinner, sweet son of mine.
Grief, the passing of my dear Dad, a loss I can’t even yet seem to get my mind around, even after 18 months. When will the memories, all intermingling good with the hard and the pain, stop pounding on my heart like a hammer. At times it slows and nearly stills but in the dark hours it rises at times to a deafening toll. Trying hard to remember his voice, the feeling of his hand or the last time I hugged him hard before leaving to return home thinking we had more time. Trying to capture in my mind as clearly as possible those sweet memories of conversations, mannerisms and habits. Pushing aside the painful moments I was cross or impatient, or even that last good-bye laced with hope.
Anxiety and Fear would join the group soon if I didn’t do something fast. So on this night, like I do far too few times, I wrestled with my torn thoughts and saddening images and began to repeat the healing words I know well.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your steps.” (Proverbs 3:4-6)
The familiar proverb rolled off my heart with ease as it found its worn tracks in my heart. With every repetition of the verses, the words grew with intensity and began to push away the Guilt and Grief that had begun to settle into their grooves for the night. Before long sleep clouded my thinking and my mind relaxed with the rest of my body.
What is your mantra, of sorts, to meditate on, somewhere to draw your mind back to when it is being bullied by the deep hours of the dark? For me it works best to not be the same as my memory verse but rather an old verse that is more like a familiar blanket to wrap around my mind with ease. It is life to me in the darkness.