My wife spent nearly the entire day trying to keep Bethany from beating herself and from the looks of it, had little luck to show for it. I put her to bed with two black eyes, a large cut over her bruised nose, swollen and bleeding knuckles. Even as we say prayers she takes a swing at her forehead. “Dear Jesus, “ I prayed out loud, “thanks for the love you’ve shown us today – I want ask that you be with Bethany tonight and guard…” Ka-whump! Goes a fist to the head. I’ve not figured out if this means I need to pray more, pray harder, pray differently, stop praying and start intervening… I’m not really trained in this sort of thing you know. Even now I can hear her upstairs, crying – no, more like a wail of a mother who’s lost a child to a tragic death. I can hear the fists pummeling and the crying and there’s nothing I can do.
And Sherry, she’s emotionally exhausted, broken-hearted, and nearly without hope. I don’t even have to see her to know this, having put B in bed; I came down the stairs to an empty and quiet house. This can only mean withdrawal to the bedroom and the tears that accompany. How can I find solace and joy in such a dark occasion, knowing that even though this day’s battle is nearly over, the real war is just beginning?
I don’t know how she does it – how she’s held it together this long, why she’s even still here, still with me, still sane. My guess is, like me – she just doesn’t know where to go. It was said of Victor Frankl upon his release from Auschwitz in 1945, that he was so overwhelmed and unsure of what to do that he simply went back to the barracks. I don’t know the accuracy of such a statement but I guess, true or not, it’s much the same for her, even if freed – she’d have no idea of where to go.
Tomorrow is Monday and we head back into a week as we’ve done a hundred times. We’ll clean Bethany up in the morning, pack her on the bus and hope we don’t get a call during the day. We’ll go to work and listen to the chatter about how the weekend was, how exhausted or refreshed everyone is, how great the game was, how awful the movie was. I buy time with a cup of coffee and then, reluctantly, sit at my desk in near panic - unable to think, unable to do little more than stare at the screen and pray to God that the phone doesn’t ring or someone forces me to think about some organization’s “desperate issue”.
How can I begin to convey that I know “desperate”, and I know for a fact that she was crying herself to sleep just the night before.