To "escape", I read. Funny how humans want to escape pain, isn't it? My body doesn't react too favorably when we get bad news about our baby girl. I have been through it so many times before, I have learned to dread the onslaught of fear, panic, tears, and solitude. At any given moment, unannounced, one of these emotions pops in for a visit to make me squirm. A book becomes a welcome distraction for me---a way of keeping the emotions at an arm's length. Right now the book is Ted Dekker's latest novel: "The Bride Collector". It is a thriller of all things, but it is rescuing me when I feel darkness creeping closer.
You would have to read the book to fully appreciate the depth of Dekker's thought processes as he masterfully develops his characters, but in this book in particular, he is diving into the human psyche in a way that is riveting to say the least. Riveting and revealing, I should say. One point he makes is that humans tend to use distractions to keep our minds off of the fact that we are truly all alone in this "life journey". This point is ringing clear to me as I feel more and more lonely....not in a way of needing companionship and conversation , but in a way of feeling empty.
Times like this make me keenly aware of how big God is and how small and helpless I am. This makes me angry if I am honest, because I don't like being vulnerable. However, angry or not, I am continually reminded that I am on God's formidable train heading for the many stops He has chosen for me and there is nothing I can do but hang on for the ride and participate in all He has for me during the trip. Jumping off of His train doesn't change the train's destination, it only changes MY final destination----whereas remaining on the train will eventually lead to an eternity where everything will be made right and perfectly good. That is my hope.
Solitude, a word I wrote above, may seem a bit out of place to some who might surmise to know "how I must be feeling". Before Hopey, I don't believe that word existed in my life, because I am generally a "people person". Like I reach for shoes before taking a walk, I now reach for solitude when I receive bad medical news on Hope. Phone calls too often become unwelcome interruptions, the doorbell a device I wish I could yank out of the brick to stomp on, and carrying on a conversation becomes nearly impossible with scrambled-up thoughts (at best) forming in my mind. Shutting out the world enables me to maintain a small bit of control in the midst of an out-of-my-control circumstance. Anorexia and Bulemia are ways a large percentage of women who have out of control lives "cope". Solitude is a way this woman, who fears losing her treasured baby girl, "copes".
You see, by not taking that phone call, I won't be hurt by what the person on the other side of the call might say or not say.....If I don't answer the door, I won't have to worry about breaking down and crying in front of a friend.....and if I am careful of WHEN I choose to go out in public and WHERE I choose to go, I easily avoid having to carry on an unplanned conversation about the weather when my heart is breaking over my daughter. Solitude has eerily become an ally.
There is more. At times I feel like my time with Hope and the rest of my family, all of us together, is sacred. I have an instinct that wants to protect it....guard it.
I hate this. I hate being a "Cave Woman"!
In the kitchen, before dinner time, Lydia took out her violin and played some up-beat fiddle tunes. While Lydia played, Natalie and I clapped our hands and danced around the kitchen knowing Hope would follow. She did, pausing only when the excitement was more than she could bear causing her to stop and stand with her hands folded under her chin in a full out giggle....then she would promptly join in again. Literally, filled from head to toes with joy.
Later in the evening, Hope wrestled with Caleb.....crawled around the floor with Lydia in a game of chase....jumped on top of Natalie while Natalie was napping on the couch (nearly scared poor Nat too death).....climbed on top of the kitchen table just because she has learned to climb....insisted I make Charlie share his cereal with her (which tickled Charlie and became a game of "my turn").....slapped our cat full on the back before Cassie knew what hit her (if you knew Cassie, who is more tiger than kitty, you'd realize she probably deserved it).....emptied kitchen drawers onto the floor for a good laugh and then ran as fast as her legs would carry her to hide.....and the list goes on. The little pistol makes her self the absolute center of the Hollis family world every single day. Always getting into something. Always funny. Always full of life. Period.
Hope is in bed now.....sound asleep. Standing at the doorway, I can hear her snoring and Charlie breathing. I tried to sleep, but the events of the evening kept running through my head. My family. Complete. Whole. Beautiful. Perfect.
How much longer can I keep her, Lord? Please don't take her from me.