I’m awake in the middle of the night again. A sadness dogs me until I get up and listen to it. In the silence I hear a regret that I was not present.
That evening I had a meal with friends. I conversed awkwardly, didn’t remember what was important, didn’t really see or hear them. That day I rode my bike through the city on roads strewn with autumn leaves, by water, mountains, merchants, birds and cars, but I didn’t see or hear them either. I ate a sandwich I didn’t taste, travelled streets without smells.
I’m awake when I should be asleep, and all day long I’m asleep when I should be awake.
In the middle of this night, God the Child is keeping vigil. He is with me in my helplessness. One hand is on my chest, and with the other around my neck and his fingers under my chin, he gently pulls my cheek to his baby soft skin. He looks at me and sees me. He adores me as if I were his mother.
Even as I look away and fall asleep, he continues to watch over me. He is not thinking about what I’ve done or what I need to become. He is present, loving me now as if I were the whole world to him.
To him my helplessness is golden.
Darkness is as light to you.
∗ ∗ ∗
While I feel the confines of my own helplessness to change, others feel it much more acutely. One friend’s pain and weakness evades diagnosis and leaves them alone with their fears for days on end. Another who is tormented by relentless, sadistic voices is among the small percentage of people with schizophrenia who don’t respond to medication. Still another enters treatment for the fourth time with both hope and trepidation. I am sure their helplessness does not feel golden to them. Yet they continue to take one breath after another, giving themselves to us for another day.
And we are blessed by their gift.