There’s the beautiful kind of darkness and then there is the kind we fear.
My deepest and most fearful darkness is one of loneliness.
This fits with my personality absolutely perfectly. If you are familiar with the enneagram then maybe you’ve heard of the number four who thinks no one will ever get or understand them. They are unique. I find myself buying into falsehoods that tell me things like I am someone that will never be truly connected. This become self pity. This can become a self induced loneliness. Quite selfish, to be honest.
That’s my darkside. My self centered darkside.
I can hear the echo of my own voice in that place.
Anyone ? (Anyone?)
Do you hear me? (Do you hear me?)
I mean REALLY hear me? (I mean REALLY hear me?)
So, last night when I was at the very edge of falling into the beautiful darkness of rest, a random thought jerked me right from the abyss and I become aware again. That was it. Sleep was going to be a fight and I knew it.
My locked awake mind released itself into the dark desert of the night.
I tried to manage the restlessness by moving around the house. I started in our bed, moved into the extra bed in Will’s room, missed sleeping next to Drew and went back to our bed, woke Drew with my tossing and turning for the millionth time and then went down for a bowl of cereal. Slid back into our bed knowing full well it wouldn’t end in sleep and then eventually made my way to the guest bed in the basement. Run on sentence for a run on night.
And in my mind- Oh, the places I went.
I visited so many landscapes I have walked and so many I wander now. I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge in the long night of Christmases past, present, and future. I saw the people I missed, the mistakes I made, the parent I wished I was, the way my kids lives would all turn out…
Truly, it was exhausting. Eventually, with only a few hours left to sneak in some shut eye, I was able to go to a space of half sleep. The next thing I knew, Drew was waking me up and the new day began.
As I moved through my day I was haunted by the restlessness of the dark hours before. I wondered how and why did I let them hold me hostage so.
I know that darkness is a part of the season. I just want the kind of darkness that comforts and gives me rest. I don’t want the kind that keeps me up all night.
A new opportunity arrives for sleep. It’s once again 8:30 pm and I open Night Visions.
I look to Jan Richardson to be my guiding light as another night falls. She doesn’t disappoint. I reach out my hand and she gives me this-
When you have thrown
the cloak of evening
and when you have drawn
your midnight hand
across my face;
when you have made my soul
as dark as the nighttime sky,
and when the shadows
are my only companions;
then, O God,
turn my face upward,
that I may know
the grace of stars
and give myself to rest.
I hope for sleep once again.
(P.S. It was a blissful night of rest. Thank God.)