I woke at 5 a.m. this morning. The wee hours of the night is when troubles seem worse.
I cannot sleep.
So I am writing. Writing helps me figure things out, to process, and to steady myself. Sort of like the psalmists, who often begin their psalms with fear or grief but end with hope, This is where I look at the fear or pain and then pour it out so I can face whatever I have to face.
We meet with the urologist at 9:10 a.m. This is when we will find out what kind of cancer JJ has and how much it has spread, and we begin to discuss treatment.
I do not know if I want 9:10 a.m. to come quickly or slowly. I want it to come quickly if the news is good. Then I will feel relief and joy. If the news is going to be bad then I do not want 9:10 a.m. to come quickly. Then I want to have these last few hours before the nightmare hits and the world falls apart.
This is what torture feels like: being alive and yet having my being on fire with pain.
One thing that I do not want is to have people tell me I should smile and be happy through this. Why should I? “There is a time to laugh and a time to cry,” the Bible says. What better time to cry than when my family has to walk through this or if the news is the worst? Some people say that our minds shouldn’t go there, to the worst. I know that God will be here, even in the darkness, and I know we must hold to hope, and not let fear overwhelm, but isn’t it kind of naive or stupid to think that we ought never to think of these things, even in the wee hours of the night?
I don’t want people to tell me what to feel. I don’t want them to tell me to smile when my heart breaks. I want them to weep with me. Our culture expect people to smile all the time. Three days to mourn the loss of a loved one and then back to work and stop crying. I sometimes think Middle Eastern cultures understand that sometimes we have to take time to lament and wail and tear our clothes in grief.
We always have such sterile sounding words of theology about the day Jesus (Yeshua) died. However, when the Son died on the cross, the light turned to darkness, the earth quaked, and the Father tore His temple cloths. I think He understands lament and grief.
Ok, so maybe I will not, at this time, have to lament the death of a son. However, there are different types of losses, and different types of pain, and they cause different types of grief.
I am learning Hebrew. Hebrew is a profound language of faith. Everything means something deep, and everything connects to God. Even the months have meaning,. The Biblical months are based on the moon, not the sun. There is thought to be a connection between the months and women because women are also on a monthly cycle. I know this seems strange to those in the church because long ago the church separated from the culture of the Jews. I could explain this more, but this is not the time for history lessons.
At the beginning of every Jewish (or, rather, Biblical) month, I meet with a group of women who are studying Hebrew and we discuss the spiritual aspects of the month and how it relates to us as women. We are all women who love Jesus…or Yeshua in Hebrew. Our group is led by a dear Israeli believer in Yeshua who has a ministry of bringing together Jews and Christians. I learn a lot from her and from others in the group.
This coming month, which begins in early November, is called Kislev. I’m feeling a deep connection with Kislev right now. Here is just a little bit from our teaching about this month:
Kislev falls during the darkest time of the year. Yeshua was maybe born, but most likely conceived, entered Mary’s womb, during this month of darkness. “The Light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.” The deepest darkness sets the stage for the greatest light.
The word “chesed” in Scripture is most commonly translated in English as mercy (lovingkindness). A more common word for mercy in Hebrew is rachamim (resh, chet, final mem), as in Av Ha’Rachamim – merciful Father. It also carries the meanings to love unconditionally, be compassionate, have tender affection. The Hebrew word for womb, rechem, is from the same root: racham.
Hebrew is based on a picture language. Each letter is a picture. The ancient Hebrew pictograph for racham draws a beautiful picture of the concept of a womb. The resh (r) is a picture of the head of a person, the chet (h) is a picture of a fence – illustrating protection, and the closed mem ( ם) is a picture of a womb, symbolizing something hidden. The letter mem itself is connected with water, mayim and pictures an open womb. It beautifully illustrates, therefore, how the womb is a place where one is protected, surrounded by water and hidden and is a place from which life can spring forth. In a sense, to live in God’s compassion, in His mercy, rachamim, is to live in His womb.
“Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, falls toward the end of the month of Kislev, the time when the light of the moon is getting dimmer and dimmer. We all know that the moon does not have a light of it’s own. The moon reflects the light of the sun, and the farther away the moon is from the sun, the fuller the moon appears. When the sliver of the new moon appears and it looks as though the moon is bathed in darkness, it is actually inhabiting a space closest to the source of light, and is really bathed in the essence of the sun.”
Ponder the last paragraph again. When the moon appears brightest, it is actually farthest from the sun. when it appears bathed in darkness, it is actually closet to the sun. This makes me think of Psalms 18, which says that God “made darkness his hiding-place [His secret place], his pavilion around him.” When it appears all is darkest, we are protected in His secret place, in the hiddenness of His womb.”
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright, Gracious, merciful, and righteous. Psalms 112:4.
Darkness is not dismal. When we sit in the darkness, God is our light.
I’m not afraid of the dark. God is there.
Ok. Now I can face this day. Time to get up and going.