Have you ever seen a movie scene where a person is dying and there is a HUGE light that is overtaking them, drawing them in? I have always wondered if that was real. I think it is. I hope it is! I haven’t experienced that before but I have the opposite. Darkness.
It was a beautiful spring morning. I woke up to get ready for my “extra” doctor appointment I was given by my main OB. I was excited, anticipating news about whether I was carrying twins, if I was to have another boy or a girl this time or maybe both. I was pregnant and happy about it. So many questions but no worries. Twenty-eight year old me seemed so sure of everything. I dropped my boys off at a friends house without a care in the world. My husband and I drove to Fort Worth talking and laughing the whole way there. I don’t remember now any of the conversation, I just remember that within that hour I would recall the ride and feel I would never smile let alone laugh again.
(Note: Let’s be honest right here. I had thought I had a rough life. I thought I had endured a lot of things that were unfair. I thought I had more than my share of challenges in this life. Struggles. If I am being real, before age 28, my years were charmed and blessed and all the great things we hope for our kids. One of the many things that embarrasses me. My ignorance up to this point and my self centered view of what is right and good and just. So many dumb things I said and did to people who really were struggling. If that is you… My heart aches for my stupidity at the time and I am so sorry.)
My name was called and the day rolled downhill. I laid on the sonogram table. The tech was not talking and the doctor was clicking away at the computer moving the wand to catch more and more images. We were clueless. My husband and I glued with our eyes to the screen looking at our baby. My husband pretending he could see an actual baby, me contemplating the journey I am on and how God blessed me. Ungrateful at the beginning, I had become content and happy to be on this path to receive another baby. I was reveling in the miracle of life when the doctor looked up at us with pity. All hope was drained from the room. He began with an “I’m Sorry” and continued with ” we have bad news”. Dr. Gloom and Doom (which is our term of endearment for this precious man) proceeded to talk and talk and talk more using words that had no meaning. Words that gave me no information. And then the words flooded my brain.
“Mr. & Mrs. Carter ~ Your baby will not survive the pregnancy. And even if it does it will not survive the delivery.”
Then Gloom and Doom requested that I empty my bladder and return so he could do some more tests. So, in shock, I stared at my husband. He looked so scared and concerned. I had never seen him this way. He had been strong, steadfast, and stable. Immediately I thought, I am strong, I can handle this, I will do this. With numbness all over me I hopped off the table, walked down the hall, and into the singular bathroom to pee.
When I had finished , I stood up, turned to the sink, looked at myself in the mirror like I was looking at a stranger, and washed my hands. There wasn’t any sound. It was just me and my reflection. I dried my hands on those rough brown paper towels. I hate those paper towels. I hate the feel, the look, and the smell of them. I turned and reached for the door and at the moment my hand touched the door knob it felt as if the air had left the room. All I could see was darkness. I could hear wailing from a distance. I slowly sat down on the bathroom floor and just listened with my back against the door. I couldn’t make out the words or where it was coming from. I knew it was a woman. I knew she was scared, full of fear, and lost. She was desperate. I sat listening to her, thinking that she needs help. Is anyone going to help her, comfort her, save her from herself? I was all alone in this darkness – trying to catch my breath – thinking about how horrible whatever she was going through could be and that someone should rescue her.
The sound of wailing was overwhelming. It sounded raw and ugly. As I sat gasping and listening I heard a familiar voice. I couldn’t place who it was or where I had heard the voice before, I just knew I had. The voice was calm and kind. It said, “there will be peace that passes all understanding”. My thought at that moment was GOOD, THAT IS GOOD. Next, I felt a knock at the door on my back and it echoed through me and the wailing. I didn’t move. More knocks came until the wailing turned to a sob. I stood up to answer the door and saw myself in the mirror. My eyes puffy, my face wet with tears, my eyes empty. The darkness was in me. The wailing was me. I was the woman who needed to be rescued. I was the lost, scared, despaired being with no hope. How did I arrive here, was I this weak? I was the one but I was also promised PEACE.
On the other side of the opened door was my loving husband ready to stand with me, able to carry me, hoping to support me, wanting to recue me. We walked down the hallway hand in hand to the exam room where a sea of pity and doom awaited us.
The rest of that day felt like I was running under water. Words seemed like grass burrs that poked and stung, clinging to me never letting me free. I tried to brush them away but they just stuck to me causing pain and discomfort. As I laid on the exam table, listening, those words had no hope. They were without life. Death. Darkness. For the first time ever, my mind was empty. I had no plan. I could not gain my footing. I had lost my bearings. I was broken. I learned a lot about myself on that day. Good things. Ugly things. Things to be proud of and things that embarrassed me. Things to remember and things to let go. I saw the man I married in a new way that amazed me. I realized the friends in my life were true gifts from God. I felt thankful for my family. I began to feel deeply how much I had not been thankful for so much. I pondered my ability to access Faith. I questioned my Faith, my Strength, my Future. Darkness was surrounding me. I know now that God was holding me close and that angels were fighting a battle for me. I know now that Darkness is real and that it can overtake you. It overtook me. I believe that on that day, in the darkness, I saw and heard God. It was not easy or pretty, but in the darkness, I began learning what it takes to walk with Faith. For the first time in my life, I truly gave myself over to faith in Jesus and clinched white fisted to the promise for Peace that passes all understanding. Real peace. Peace that quenches my soul 25 years later paving the way for Hope.
Today I am grateful for that darkness in a strange way. It brought me to a new light. It taught me about self examination and a change of perspective. I felt complete empathy like I hadn’t before, first for myself and later for others. Darkness can be defeated. I am proof. But I did not do it alone. I’m here if you are in darkness, but more importantly I know GOD is THERE with you – reach out to HIM.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7