When I was about four years old my family moved to northern California and lived for a short time with my grandparents. My younger brother was just two and he and I were playing together one day in the upstairs bedroom.
He had followed me into the walk-in closet and I was flipping through the coats, pretending they were ALL MINE as I lost myself in dreamland. When I turned around to check on my brother my heart dropped when I spotted his mischievous grin and his little hand on the door.
“DON’T YOU CLOSE THAT DOOR, DAVID!” I bossed, like any good older sibling does. And, like any normal little brother, he giggled in response and threw the door shut.
Now, the top three reasons I didn’t want him to close the door are as follows:
- It would be dark.
- The door could only be opened from the outside.
- IT WOULD BE DARK.
(Obviously, the dark was not my friend).
I yelled at him to go get mom (OR ELSE), but he was clearly gone. Moving on to greener, more interesting pastures…like blocks, I’m sure.
I, on the other hand, was preparing for the long haul. In my four-year-old mind I feared I would be trapped there overnight. Or worse, for weeks to come.
And so I did what any resourceful little lady would do. I yanked down coats to make a bed and then searched in the dark for any miracle bags of candy or snacks (there were none). Proof I have always been a PLANNER.
I remember how afraid I felt, how dark that closet seemed as a little one. Even though on some level I believed that someone would come find me, I couldn’t shake the fear. The fear that I was alone. That this closet was going to be my new home. (Oh, childhood).
There are times when I can feel so overcome by the presence of this fight with Lyme. The constant pain and the heaviness that can linger lead me to wish for the return of feeling “normal” again with every fiber in my being.
I have asked God all of the questions. “Why?”, “how much longer?” and “are you really here with me?”
I know at my core. I KNOW that he is here. I know that he can heal me.
But it’s not easy to hold onto that faith when you’ve been given an unmaterialized hope by various doctors along the way.
First, hope that healing would come in a couple years. Then another later doctor thought a year with their treatment, and yet another believed a few months would show huge improvement.
But here I am.
Healing hasn’t come as we envisioned. At times we’d see a small improvement in one area only to have several new symptoms pop up in its place. New layers to this complicated illness also seem to be uncovered every few months, adding to the complexity of it all.
I go through more tests. More procedures. More treatment. More time for healing.
And somehow in this mess, I found I am doing what many of us do when we’re in the struggle. Sometimes without even knowing it.
I am choosing to trust. Because otherwise I’m only left with the darkness.
I will grip this jagged hope of mine that life won’t always be this way. In small, moment-by-moment steps I will reach out for that hope.
And though my prayers seem to be met with silence… I believe.
I choose to believe he is here. I’ll look for him in the beautiful expansion of the countryside, in the ripples of the lake. I’ll find him in the evening sunset. In the smile of my husband and the kindness of friends, family and fellow warriors.
I’ll open my heart and eyes to see beyond this darkness and believe light can still be found here.
Lying across my bed of blankets in that childhood closet, I eventually heard my mother’s steps coming towards the door. After what felt like hours (in reality, a matter of minutes), the door was opened and light poured in.
Much like I reached for whatever resourceful ways I could cope with the darkness of the closet, I am learning to find the glimmers of light in this struggle.
As I tilt my heart upward to believe God is here,
to hold on within these shadows,
and grab onto hope that someday I will be better,