I woke on the third day reasonably happy. Today was the day we got to talk. Enough sitting around not talking. It was as if I had been holding my breath for this day... this was the day we got to talk! Feeling frustrated with the silence of the last day, but willing to go along with it if that was what others needed. Now was the day I could stop holding my breath - finally what we came for!
The morning started well, and I listened with interest, putting pieces of the story together. Very interesting to me at times the way things lined up. I heard what was happening there, and I knew what was happening where I was at the same time. I was looking forward to sharing that. To hearing what was happening with the other wife, too. Sometimes amazed at when God pulled me out to just sit in silence before Him, praying without words. Other times interested to hear what thoughts had been in their heads knowing what discussions we had been having without them.
It was a good morning, and I looked forward to the afternoon, but one shadow of worry began to form in my head.... time. It was already late, and we were not progressing very far on this path.... was it really true that this was the only day a person joined us to help us talk through it? If so, we aren't going to get through the story. My heart began a slow, steady thump of anticipation of what was coming. You know, that feeling when you have waited so long for something only to get close and realize that most likely there won't be enough for you.
So it ended up a day where I got to hear the story, which I greatly enjoyed. A relief to have it all put in order, to have questions answered, to hear.
But not a day where I got to talk.
We had perhaps an hour or two where we would all get to talk, and a question was asked, "What was the hardest part of all this for you?" I took a deep breath. I would not get to tell my story, but I would at least get to tell the hardest thing for me. I could handle that. The question went around the room, but right before it got to me, the questioner changed the question to something totally different. "How do you think you knew before it happened that it would? Do you think God told you?"
The effect was like popping me with a pin! I had waited all day. Then I had waited for the question to circle the room, hanging on to my one chance to finally share how I felt.... and pop! Gone. Instead, I was questioned on how I knew something....
I struggled not to cry for a few moments. Why? Why?
But she was insistent. She wanted to know how I knew that. Now, besides my annoyance with her for stealing my long-waited chance to share, I was irritated. Don't ask me that! What do you want me to say? "God told me." Well, I don't say that. Because the punishment for a prophet who wasn't 100% on his prophesies in the Old Testament is pretty severe. I might think God said something, but I will be much more likely to say, "I think God is telling me this...." than I am to say, "God said...". The only 100% time I can say "God said..." is when I am reading the Bible, so I was not about to say what she wanted to hear.
So I told her I think God was telling me that. But she wanted to know HOW I thought that! How??!! Yeah, if I could tell you exactly, scientifically HOW we know God talks, I could write a book! How do you know God talks to you? You sit with Him enough to recognize His voice, that is all.
Eventually, she got tired of questioning me on that and went on to something else. I sat still, struggling not to cry. I had so wanted to talk.... to at the very least share how I felt at the hardest thing I went through. But I didn't get to. So tears pooled in my eyes, and I struggled to keep my attention and ears on what others were saying. But the sound effect of the hammer hammering that cork in tighter and tighter on the shaken up bottle was ringing too loudly in my ears.
The day was like holding your breath and swimming to the surface only to break into the light and realize you are only in another layer of water.
So we went home again. That was the end of our time meeting to talk. I went home feeling lighter because I had at least heard the story. And feeling so alone... as if I had been kicked out into the dark into the cold, swirling mists. If only I could make it through the day without crying.... If only I could sit down and actually cry.... If only I could talk....
I felt so invisible.
If that had not been enough for the day, there came one more thing at the end, late at the end of the day that hurt. The person who did it had no idea how much it hurt or how much it was not needed. Someone told me they could not listen to me then as they would not get in a place inbetween people. That hurt... because the very reason I was sitting in unshed tears in silence is that I would not let that happen myself. So it hurt. And then people went to bed, and I sat in silence in darkening room crying silently to God.
"You are the only One I can talk to right now. The only One who even sees me right now, and I am hurting so much.... and no one knows. I just want to talk. I just want to talk. I just want to talk. And no one has time to listen right now."
But in the silence, came a quiet reply. "I am listening."
I told God I don't feel like putting it into a prayer. I don't know how you "pray" a story. It wasn't a prayer - it was just that I wanted to tell my story. So I sat in that dark room pretending what was really real - that God was sitting there listening to me. I felt strange telling Him a story He already knew, but it was ok. It wasn't that He needed to hear it. It was that I needed to tell it. I told Him from the beginning - right from the beginning. And because it was God who already knew, I told Him all the parts of it... even the ones that confused me or embarrassed me. The things that made me laugh. The things that made me cry. I sat for over an hour talking quietly.
It was good. To just be able to talk and to be heard - because I have no doubt that I was heard that night, perhaps much better than any human could even hear.
But it hurt. The emptiness of the room mocking me. Is there no one that has enough time for me?
And again, late at night, I curled up in my bed and sobbed myself into a sleep punctuated by nightmares. Tonight's nightmare was the worst and took me most of the next day to recover from emotionally.
It was a nightmare about someone I know and like, a friend from church, my boss where I work a few days a week. My husband did something minor wrong at work... (he doesn't work there - but dreams are dreams!)... and had been sentenced to twenty years with no chance of parole... on only an accusation. As they were leading him away, the judge said, "Only she (my boss) can release him of this sentence if she has mercy on him.", but she sat there with a cold face and shook her head then walked away down the hall. My kids clung to my legs with heartbreaking cries as I screamed after her, "Please! please! At least think of the kids! Just look in their faces, please!" But she walked away without looking back.
I woke up screaming and sobbing again. I screamed so loudly that I had woken my husband. He's the one who can sleep through a teething baby! He wrapped his arms around me one more time and listened as I sobbed out my nightmare and buried my face in his skin. Then his grip slackened as he drifted back off to sleep. I dozed fitfully in and out of sleep, jerking awake often with my heart pounding.
It took a few days before I was able to shake off most of the feelings of that dream. It lingered like a cold shadow on a sunny day.