I am all too familiar with this time of night; the darkness, the sounds, the angst. I know the worry and restlessness that surfaces when I most need to rest. 2:00 am is an hour in which my mind and heart cannot be soothed.
Last week I had a job interview. It was a job I was really excited about, and thought that it could be a good option for me. It seemed to me that the interview went well and they wanted to move quickly. I was excited, but I didn’t tell anyone. I wanted to guard myself from disappointment if it didn’t work out. In some ways, I am not as resilient as I was before. Disappointment is so difficult to weather. So I quietly hoped, just a little. I dreamt about what life could look like if everything “fell in to place.” Not that anything really falls into place. Realistically, each piece that is in place is hard-earned; forged out of tears, and toil, struggling and guessing.
I waited all week with my phone by my side. The call never came. And then I finally called them, and still never heard back. The disappointment came as expected, only harder. By 2:00 am it swallowed me whole.
On this particular night, my mind travels a well-worn path. What if taking this time off of work to find a new job was a huge mistake? What if I don’t find the right job, that one person who believes in me? What if what I want, what I am asking for, what I am looking for, is not realistic? What if I can’t provide for my family? What if I am not doing the right thing for the kids?
What if I am doing this all wrong?
I think through each scenario in my head. What would I do, what would happen? It weighs down on me so heavily. I have no idea how to put our little life back together.
I open my iPad and google, “effects of divorce on children.” As if google could tell me that everything is going to be alright? I start reading articles that speak to my deepest fears. Children of divorce are at higher risk for all the worst things. The articles talk about single mothers who struggle with finances, patience, time and resources. I hear all of those concerns, and I know there is some truth to them. Of course there is. I refuse to believe that my children are doomed to a future of mediocrity because their parents are no longer together, but the concerns are real. This was never God’s design for family life. How can I do it all? What matters most? What can I give them?
I can’t give them promises about what the future holds. I can’t give them a family that is whole again. I can’t protect them from struggle, disappointment, devastation or loss. So much is out of my control.
I wander from bedroom to bedroom in the darkest part of the night. I give them the only thing that I have; a mothers love that is fierce, protective and enduring. I softly touch each forehead, pull up covers, and send up silent prayers in my head. The kind of prayer that is spoken only with a pleading heart and a raised head.
“Please help me. Please point me in the right direction. Please protect them. I’m here. We are here. Do you see me?”
The tears roll down my face, and I’m listening, but I don’t hear anything.
I wrestle some more. I try to sleep, but it never comes. Not this night. I know the morning will come, and I will get up and I will keep going. For now, I sit in the dark and I wait.