It is 6 o’something in the morning, but it feels like it could be any other time. The sun is still hiding under the blankets of night. Raindrops are racing each other to be the first to hit the ground, little stealthy runners in a vertical marathon. Everything is wet. I feel like a sweater in a giant washing machine, filling further and further, but promising that everything about me will soon get clean.
I have just walked into my house, just seen what makes this wood and cement feel like home. He is laying on the couch, legs splayed. He is so big that for a moment, I can’t believe this man-child is, in fact, my son. I walk closer, staring, but seeing into the past. I hear his deep breathing, and watch as the blanket moves up and down, illuminated only by the light barely coming through from the street lamp. He silently shifts, and his foot sticks out, man-sized, but dirty in a way that shows how much he is still a boy.
I am tired, and spent, and too emotionally fragile from spending so much time at work, to allow myself the big questions that mothers ask.
He shifts, again, and I wonder if my thoughts have been too loud, or if he is disturbed that my heart hangs so heavily this morning, that it feels as though it is dragging behind me on the ground. I walk silently, Stick Indian, to the other couch. I am exhausted, but not the kind that is cured by laying down.
It has been ten and a half years now that I have worked where I work. A little over a decade of trying to help children who know more about some kinds of pain than I do. Usually, I focus on all the hope. I look tirelessly for the light that shines in the dark, because I know it is there, and because someone has to find it. I want so badly to help find it. But last night felt like more layers of darkness than usual, like my flashlight was dimmer, and like happy endings are elusive.
I received an update on a child that I loved, who was at my work years ago, for months. Instead of improving, her life has gotten so much worse. Can I just be honest, and say that I hate that?
I work with a team of amazing people. People I believe are really changing the earth. People whose hearts are big enough to hold not only children’s hands, but their hurts. People who know what it means to work. I always hope that it is enough. That we can be a giant drop of love, big enough that it gives them a life preserver or respite from drowning in their sea of hurt. But sometimes, it isn’t. And that just sucks. Because, sometimes, children continue to get hurt.
My son is moving, and I know that he will soon wake. It is time for smiling, and making sure he has a good start to his day. It is time to roll up the carpets of the part of my chest that ache, time to sweep out the cobwebs, and begin, again. The sun will rise, as it does each day, and chase the darkness back to its place. It is time for new mercies, and for things to be refreshed. I need that this morning, even more than usual.
Closing my eyes, I inhale deeply. I fill up my lungs, and breathe out, slowly. I do this, several times. When I open my eyes, I find, that in spite of everything, the sky has brightened, and the morning has come.