Still waiting

This is part of the synchroblog on waiting, to celebrate the release of Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay by Tanya Marlow – out now. See more here and link up to the synchroblog here.’

I wrote about waiting last December, and lots has happened since then. Much of life is the same, much has changed, but I’m still waiting and still figuring out how to do that. I don’t think there’s a formula, but it’s so good to jump in to the mystery of it with others. I’m so excited that Tanya’s book is finally here and I hope I will be well enough to read it soon … I’m still waiting on that!

… … …
Pain rips through my body and I jolt awake
The quality of the silence and the feel of the darkness tell me it’s late, but I haven’t been asleep for long
I wait to catch my breath before I attempt to move

As I turn I gasp and bite my lip
Why don’t I want to cry out?
No one will hear me, but still I prefer to keep it in
trying to stay in control of the only thing I can
I wait for the sharpness of the pain to recede
with each breath in, it grows
with each exhale, it drifts a little further
In and out, until I’m sure the tears prickling the back of my eyes won’t spill out

I tentatively start to move my body
stretching and turning, trying to alleviate some of the stiffness and the burning
But carefully. I don’t want to rouse the pain again
I want to soothe and shush it back to sleep so maybe I can get some more too

I check my heart rate. It’s very high
It has been all night, even as I slept
I breathe in and stretch and wait to see if the pain will settle or grow
I listen to the sound of waves coming from my phone
Will it be enough to tease my mind back to sleep tonight

I decide not to check the time
Checking off the minutes and hours does nothing to fight the pain
or the rising panic it brings
It could be just minutes since I woke, it could be hours. Time is distorted
marked by the intensity of the pain rather than the turning of the earth

It’s growing now. I had hoped it would die down after that first stab and wave
I had hoped I had just slept in the wrong position
But now the pain is growing deeper and stronger
blossoming across my body
I try to keep my breathing even, to stay on top of it
waiting to see how bad it will get this time
Waiting to see if I can bear it

I want to pray. I feel God there, his arms desperate to move to me, to hold me
But if I let him, I’ll fall apart
and I don’t want to fall apart
So he waits. He won’t leave and he won’t force me
He silently watches me struggle against it, ready to come to me the minute I ask
Willing to wait with me if I can’t

An image comes. My daughter in my arms after she’s fallen
She is curled in my lap and weeping
She lets me hold her and rock her and listen to her pain
I murmur my love into her ear
I stroke her head and feel her pain with her until it fades away
She is not alone
I carry it with her

I feel the tears rise and I let them fall
A sob escapes and the intensity of it in the silence startles me
‘Lord save me’
I can’t get the words out but another image passes between us:
Peter disappearing beneath the waves.
I feel his strong arms reach to catch me

The tears won’t stop and the pain still grows
How much worse can it get
How much can my body contain
I know now that sleep won’t be possible any time soon
I switch tracks from crashing waves to songs of praise
I am not alone. I don’t have to carry it by myself

It’s hard to keep my mind on him
The pain clouds in and takes my breath away now
it comes in gasps and sobs
I sit up, hunched over and desperate
All I can do is wait for it to pass
It must do eventually. Surely
It cannot be like this forever
I feel him holding my clasped hands in his

‘It hurts’
I say it aloud and he answers me
I know
‘It hurts’
I’m here
‘It’s so bad’
I know. I’m here. It will pass. You’re not alone.
I realise I am gently rocking

I lie back down
10,000 reasons is playing
I play it again, and again
My tears are gentler now. I’m tired
I’m not afraid of the pain anymore
I won’t drown in it
It hurts. It really, really hurts
but he is here and it will pass
I am not alone in the waiting or the agony
He isn’t just beside, he is with
He absorbs everything that pours out of me and he holds it in his body

My husband wakes and hears the music and my tears
I feel guilty, he needs sleep, but he tells me he was woken by a dream he can’t remember
which never happens to him
He comes to me and holds me and waits with me too

I let the tears come again. I think they will never stop
but they do
They come and go for a while
Eventually the pain stops screaming at me
It’s hard to tell if it’s better or not, but it isn’t quite so loud

Waiting for pain to pass or morning to come
100 years can pass in a night
1000 in a day
100,000 in a year
How many in a decade, a lifetime
I used to think waiting was just holding on while time passed
but my whole life was passing me by
I still don’t know how to really wait
I’m learning
I hope I’m learning

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2 thoughts on “Still waiting”

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