|…the silence is deafening…|
She steps into the chilly Michigan night, hunched and pulling her secondhand coat just a little more tightly around her…as if it would somehow afford her enough warmth to keep her teeth from chattering whiles heading to the car. It helps…just a little…
April is half over, and the weather is still mercilessly cold…and not necessarily just temperature-wise. The forecast teases her with promises of warmer days, only to leave her betrayed as she pulls her fleece lined jacket, once again, from the closet. If she could, she would burn every single one of those over sized coats. But she knows it would be unwise…winter seems to be such a dominant season in her part of the country, and these coats are her lifeline…her source of warmth and security.
She plops down into the passenger side of the two-door Honda Civic and closes the heavy door, blocking out the chill of the evening. After one last chatter of her teeth, she closes her eyes and lets out a sigh. Within that one sigh is encapsulated a wide range of mixed feelings and thoughts that has accumulated throughout the day. It’s a muddled mess of “obligation/gratitude/fatigue/work-stress/physical pain caused by work-stress” (and likely a lot of other things that her psyche is attempting to block out as a defense mechanism).
And no, the cold weather doesn’t help the matter…not one bit.
Her husband starts the engine, and the (short) car ride home begins. He is a perceptive one, and the quiet that permeates the car does not sit well with him.
“What’s wrong?” he asks. “Why are you so quiet?”
She simply shrugs. Trying to explain her state of mind was something she didn’t have the energy nor the mental capacity to attempt. She feels bad, no doubt, for his discomfort. If she could, she would put his mind at ease that she is okay…be brave and strong enough to grit her teeth, smile, and chatter away about the goings-on of the day.
But she is not that brave…nor strong. It seems the cold has robbed her of that too.
Instead she sits, blankly staring at the world that rushes towards her through the windshield of this two-door Honda Civic coupe. The scene is the same…it’s been exactly the same for months on end. The monotony overwhelms her to the point she simply doesn’t want to “see” any more. Her very being cannot bear to think that this scene is all there is. Even the knowledge that “this too must end” doesn’t bring cheer to her desolate heart.
It’s the space between “knowing” and “believing” that separates the demons from the saints.
It’s the space between “despair” and “hope” that becomes the No-Man’s Land of the soul (where avoiding the machine gun rounds of the Enemy is near impossible).
And she know that from this space between, there is but one means of escape.
She clouds her eyes and slips into the world inside her prayers, where the gray and cold can no longer reach her. The demons cannot hold her here. The Enemy’s bullets cannot harm her here. Only in this “other space” is she able to grasp onto the shards…the threads…of a life where she can believe that something better is coming. Here, she can still believe the sun will rise again…that the warmth of the Spring sun will bring renewed strength to her mind, body, and soul.
“Lord Jesus, help me believe in Your promise that something better is coming.”
And she knows, even if only for that one moment, she is safely resting in the arms of the One who has already gone through the “space between”…and claimed it as His own. With Him, there is no fear of hopelessness, because He IS hope…and in Him is hope that something better is coming. He is the Son that rose from the winters of death, and the gates of hell could not hold Him. In Him she finds her freedom to cross through the shadows of the “space between”…for He will be her guiding light.
So, living on this prayer, she journeys on…and waits for the Spring flowers to bloom in her life again.
Addendum: Wouldn’t you know that as soon as I get ready to publish this, God would send warmer weather my way. Obviously, the story above is about more than just the physical climate issues of Michigan…but there is no doubt it works as a great metaphor for some of the rough patches in life I’ve gone (am going) through.
Hopefully, you will also find comfort in His arms as you go through your own “space between”.