"We must trust, though we seem alone, there are others walking with us."

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 112: Wet pillowcases

Today's Reading: Psalm 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, 21

What is it about the night, when after a horrible day--perhaps a huge disappointment, an argument with someone we love, an overwhelming grief--we find ourselves alone in bed crying silently into our pillows?

I have found myself in this common bed of lamenting several times in my life. It is a place of great despair and hopelessness. It feels as though the sun will never rise again, there will never again be the sound of laughter, that the world is lost and there is no one to rescue.

It is a comfort to me to know others have been in this same bed, drenching pillowcases like mine. David says, "I am worn out with my groaning...my eyes grow weak from crying out all my sorrows." He cries out with us, "Why do the wicked seem to succeed?" "All have turned aside; they are all corrupt!" "Won't they ever learn?"

When David was having one of these sleepless nights, the wet pillowcase must have moved him from his bed of mourning, outside the tent flaps, beyond the camp of despair, into the night. I can see him longing to return to the evenings, when as a shepherd, he rested his head upon a boulder and with his back pressed to the earth, looked up to gaze at the heavens.

There, under the stars, his cries and sorrows were quieted by the cricket's song and the breath of God through the trees. There his sobs were hushed as he laid on the bed of God's creation and looked up. "What am I, that you are even mindful of me?" he asks. "The heavens are declaring your glory."

I am small. You are in control. What do I need fear?

Our wet pillowcases should be our signal to move from sorrow into the night of God's calm. It will be hard, though, to throw off the heavy blanket of despair, to rise from the mattress, to put our walking shoes on our feet and open the door to new possibilities. It will take trust to silently walk into the night of vigil, away from the mourning couch. Our souls will have to quiet long enough to hear the still small voice of God, pouring forth speech without language, in a voice that cannot be heard.

But in our state of paralysis, the Holy One reaches out the Holy Hand and calls, "Rise, pick up your mat and walk."

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