2 a.m. Tears


It’s been a while since I woke up teary, but even though the ache in my heart was legitimate, I knew it would be temporary. And that alone makes the difference sometimes. I remember all too well the many times I have cried in the dark, and in the bright light of day behind sunglasses, but felt trapped in that dead-end feeling of hopelessness.

I like denial, ignoring the negative parts of reality. I like procrastinating facing difficult truths. They are coping strategies, defense mechanisms, survival tactics. But every once in a while, you have to make eye contact with those realities. I recommend very small doses. Brief interactions. Just long enough to indicate you both recognize the other is present. This encounter is going to hurt, and you know it; you are going to lose a round, but it’s the only way to get any peace in the long run. You have to face it and get it over with. Eventually, you may need to take action, make life changes.

Sometimes what you have been emotionally and mentally avoiding wakes you up in the middle of the night. You don’t know it, but what seeks attention preys, I think, upon us in those hours because we are vulnerable without our usual digital and mile-a-minute distractions.

This is also the time that God and I are the closest, too, though. In the dark, in the quiet, in the stillness. 

I’m not sure which came first: my tears or my prayers. Sometimes, it is the turning it over to God that releases the tears, and sometimes it is the tears that remind me I am in over my head and need to give it to God.

In between my prayers, while the tears streamed, I reached over to stream any inspirational song on my phone. I chose “Rise Up” by Andra Day. (I used to be like many and tortured myself with sad songs when I was sad.) 

I’ve only had myself in life to lean on. I suppose a lot of that was/is choice. I’m getting better with letting people know me some, but I am usually guarded, and my way of life has always been taking on the world alone.

I’ve always had God though. There were many (many…) times I wasn’t able to feel His presence over the years, but I never gave up faith or prayer. In those times, when I cried before bed, it was that prayer alone (and/or Him) that calmed me. In recent years, maybe not so ironically after some major lifestyle changes, I feel His presence strongly in every single moment. And when you feel God…well, what better hands to be in? Everything seems possible.

But it is believing in some things being possible that tends to get me in trouble emotionally. I guess anything is truly possible, but at some point, for our emotional health, I think we need to make the conscious decision to let some of those possibilities go. I am an overdreamer. Sometimes, I need to sprinkle in the salts of reality. I am also one to hang on with all that I am to that very last possible, “What if?…” I’ve never handled well all of the not knowing, all we are not intended to know, though I’ve always had great faith in “Father knows best” and in His timing. I know I’ll know someday… 

So I played “Rise Up” at three-something a.m. as the tears streamed. I’ve seen the music video; it is about a woman who takes care of her paralyzed husband. That’s pretty powerful. But I took it even further (or maybe just took it wherever I could to relate because I’ve never had a partner, though I’ve risen plenty of times for my children). I made God the “for you” part of the song. Almost simultaneously, though, I felt Him giving it back to me, suggesting that the “for you” actually be me, to rise for myself, to believe in myself and to love myself as He does, but He will help me and be with me.

At this moment, I thought about all of those I know and don’t know who may be struggling with the inspiration to rise out of bed and face the day. 

Rise up for myself, but not by myself?…

While contemplating that, right at the part of the song in which she sings, “All we need is hope, and for that, we have each other,” my pup came up from the foot of the bed looked at me and went back to cuddle up at my feet. I felt like that, too, was a small, helpful reminder from God, and it made me smile. While crying. And when you can smile while crying, you know it’s all going to be okay.

So I turned myself around in my bed and cuddled my Beau (he came with that name when I adopted him), literally dried my tears in his fur. And we both rose eventually without falling back asleep, me to put on the coffee, and him to bring me his squeaky duck to play.

It is currently still dark out. I still have heartache. But soon, the sun will rise. In time, it always does. In the meantime, my gaze lingers awhile on moon; we have quite a history together. But that is an entire separate book of poetry… 

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