You could call it hammering.
You could call it pummeling.
You could call it buffeting or polishing or refining.
Sometimes you don’t know until it’s all over.
There are days you don’t get what you ask for. Instead of reprieve, you get the opposite. You are thrown right back into the fight just when you’ve come to the realization you’ve got nothing left to fight with.
You are falling down down down.
But in the falling you have choices.
You always have choices.
Like when a thaw has finally melted away a fair amount of the snow that has hugged the foundation of your house for the better part of three months and then the meteorologist says to keep the shovel handy because another several inches is coming in the night to bury it all up to your calves again.
Oh, and there will be wind.
You have a choice whether or not to believe that under all that snow there are seeds germinating in dark places.
It is at night when the attacks come full force. Call it mid-life out-of- whack hormones or a pesky thyroid disorder, but when the heart races and the feet pool sweat and the trembling threatens to loosen teeth and your husband has to muckle onto you to keep you from running for an ambulance, there are still choices. You have a choice to believe that, when the waves come and you feel like you are floundering in a dark pool of unbelief; faith germinates in the dark night of the soul.
… three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea…
What does a person do when shipwrecked for the first time, the body dashed against rocks and floating ship pieces, gasping gasping gasping?
What does a person do when the boat splinters a second time? Do the “W” questions come pouring out? What’s going on? Why is this happening again? When is it going to stop? Where are You?
But when the ship wrecks thrice and the person is left all day and all night floating floating floating, do the “W” questions cease because it is in resignation of abandonment that whispers the loudest?
The whispers try to crowd out the still small voice, but the voice is a sword and it always manages to cut through the pounding heart and the adrenaline rush. It cuts through the wires that dangle from the chest hidden under a fresh camisole, the monitor pressed against the belly recording every errant beat. It cuts through children clamoring in classrooms and deep breaths are needed to keep from losing peace when an episode hits and the button needs to be pushed.
Somewhere in cyberspace someone is reading the rhythms of my heart signaling what might be wrong, what is most probably right.
Somewhere in God’s Kingdom, He is reading the rhythms of my heart, expanding them for others, enlarging them for Him. There are no ship pieces to cling to. There is only Him. The Word of God breaks through the buffeting, the pounding, the suffering, the resignation like a ship breaking apart upon the rocky coast. His voice may come quietly, but it has the power of a mighty ocean.
It is my choice to listen.