Was it the cold of the night, or the outcome of the race, or maybe both but I was cold and lifeless. That feeling of numbness can be the most painful one. The struggle to breathe, to feel, contained within a body that lacks life. Was it the flickering computer screen and the posts coming faster than the breaths for air form my chest, or was it the air of fear? My eyes are looking but they can not see, my mind is searching but can not find. The silence is not welcome tonight, it is wrapping around me like a chain of steel. I grasp for air and try to pray but my heart won’t let me.
All the images of a childhood in a land far away came out from the dark. The fears in my parents’ eyes, the whispered words in the dark, the book I found on the road and brought home. The fear in my parents’ eyes when they saw it and when the teachers came to look through my room. My great grandfather’s tear-filled eyes when he looked at all the land that belonged to his father and grandfather, now lying in the hands of others. I hear his cries of prayer and pain his shouts for help and his hope that the King will come one day. My baba’s whispers by the soft glow of the wood stove. Her words of how no one dared speak any more, of how their homes turned into places of prison and fear. A father afraid of his child and babas watching in fear as their children’s life fell apart before their eyes. It was all there in that silent night, it was all so loud and so frightening. My breath was not leaving my chest in fear of those images. How can you breathe when there is so much pain in the air?
The sound of my baby crying brought me out of the strong grasp of my memories. I picked her up and nestled her against my chest. She wanted comfort and nourishment and I was there. Her wee little fingers were touching my neck, just reaching for me. In faith and in need she just reached in the dark. My heart was heavy. Will I, like my baba watch her freedom to love God be taken away? Will I, like my baba whisper in the night words of fear and hope? Will my tears burn my heart like it did theirs? And will I, like my diado (grandfather) cry a cry full of pain and need? Perhaps, I will. We all will, we can not stop life. My strength was lost in the dark air but my mother’s heart gave out one more beat of prayer. I felt like the woman who could only reach the hem of His garment. One beat of prayer, one reach of hope….it was all I could do. A stolen grace in a faithless moment. A stolen grace in a moment deprived of courage. That stolen grace from the hem of His love was enough to make my body feel the warmth again. In world full of peril that hem of grace will have to keep my heart warm and my mind focused on Him. Will I cry? Yes I will and I will do it while holding on to that hem. Will I whisper words by the fire? We all will but by the miracle of a tiny grace we might even have the courage to shout the words. My baby’s weight was reminding me that I need to put her to bed and take myself to bed as well. The darkness was still heavy, the heart was still in fear but the light coming from His hem was still stronger than the night’s fear. A stolen grace in a faithless moment was all I needed to reach His hem!!!!!!
“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings