Surviving the Dark Day
I find that it is much easier to write about God staying with us and keeping us positive during dark, difficult times than it is to actually do it. I suppose that is the case for all of us. We give out pearls of wisdom like Oprah gives gifts to her audiences. Then we move on, satisfied that our work is done, the advice received and practiced.
But what about when we are the ones who are in a dark and difficult time? How do we take that sage advice we just knew would help others, and apply it to ourselves?
This week I have had just such an opportunity to find out.
On Sunday evening, I received notice inviting me to a meeting first thing on Monday morning. I knew what was about to happen. My body knew it, my soul knew it.
This was not going to be just another Monday at the office.
This would likely be my last.
The details of what happened are not important. All of the little bits about who and why and all that jazz is just so completely inconsequential to getting through the moment. It is earthly and unnecessary to recount. In fact, it would give that part of the story more credit than it deserves. So, let’s move on.
In the past, when a no good, terrible, awful, very bad day was on the horizon my MO was to not sleep, to get anxious and to eat either ice cream or big spoonfuls of peanut butter in the middle of the night. Although some of those factors came into play, this time was different. This time I was fully present with God and that changed the game.
It changed everything.
How you might ask? Let me tell you.
When I got into bed, I started to say the Apostle’s Creed. Each time my mind wandered and I bungled it up, I started again. Slowly, carefully reciting the words. This reminder of my faith kept my fear in check.
I believe. I believe in God.
Then I woke up, over and over again throughout the night. And each time the words of the Creed slipped right back into my mind and mouth. This was not conscious or intentional. It is simply where my thoughts rested.
In the morning, I got dressed for “the meeting” and slid into the driver’s seat for my one hour drive up the Connecticut coast to the office where I had been summoned. My usual routine is to listen to Up First for the news and then various podcasts, such as The Next Right Thing or Out Of the Ordinary. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is a great one for a morning laugh, too.
But this dark day was different.
This day I spoke.
I spoke out loud to God. Just so you know, I am a silent, in-the-head pray-er. I rarely speak my prayers, outside of journaling which still isn’t audible. But this day my mouth moved.
Words came out.
All kinds of words.
Words of grace and of thanksgiving. I uttered words of comfort, of fear and of concern. I spoke to God and asked him to be with me no matter what. I asked him to show me how to do that thing I ask everybody else to do.
I asked, “Please Lord, keep my faith over my fear.”
I cried at that part so I said it again and again. And he never left me.
I don’t know exactly how I got to my destination, but it must have been on angel’s wings. And when I opened the door to walk into what was so clearly the final moment of this chapter in my professional life, I smiled just a bit.
Not because I was happy or excited. And it wasn’t because of the nerves having left my insides. I was able to smile because I was not alone.
That truth was visceral and deep. It grounded me.
The meeting was the meeting.
That chapter is done. A new one is on the horizon and man am I scared! Seriously. The unknown – the not knowing – that is no joke! Yet I am not alone.
Yes, God is right there but he has also set in place people, communities and powerful signs to let me know that my former work has ended and that it is okay. It is more than okay.
For now, I can go, in peace, to love and serve him somewhere else, where he needs me to walk in love.
May your days be filled with more faith than fear. And may you be grounded in God’s love for you and remember and always believe, even in your darkest days.
Are you experiencing a dark day? A dark season? Share in the comments, I would love to pray for you.