Her knuckles were black this morning from last night’s beating. Her head and cheek was the main subject of attention, although my heart caught most of the blows as well.
The day started with a calm, almost peaceful attitude and somewhere around mid-day all that hope evaporated like rainclouds in a desert. I don’t know how much more of this I can open my heart to – fear only happens when you’re unsure of something, this is so nearly a certainty that I not only don’t fear; I’ve moved so far as to emotionally distance myself from it.
How many days have I muttered this report, how many nights have I gone to sleep with a heavy heart and little hope for tomorrow? Then, like the sun rising after a long, dark night – we have an evening with little conflict.
I came home from work and found Bethany in the living room, clutched tightly in her hand was one of Sherry’s Polo shirts. That little artifact stayed clutched for next 6 hours. Typically, I come home and wonder how long till the next meltdown but today was a bit different. That little shirt was accompanied by a delightful squeal and the reproofing voice of our helper, trying to gently correct one of B’s favorite games; the “rip your diaper and toss it around the room” game. Most parents get upset with this game but for me, hearing it accompanied by a happy laugh made it a totally different event.
She laughed as she ripped the diapers, laughed as she wet the floor, laughed as she relieved herself in the bathtub. She laughed. I laughed too. The weight of many stones was lifted from my chest, my step – lighter, my demeanor – more appealing. The same God that I endlessly complain to heeded the power of combined prayer from an untold number of prayer warriors. As I put her in bed at the end of her day, she gave me a kiss on both cheeks and then gave me a good, hard, shove towards the door and bounced her head back on the pillow – erupting in a deep, satisfying laugh which continued long after I’d headed down the stairs.
That night, the evening sky was a more beautiful pink than I’ve seen in a long while, the smell of the cool air – a respite to my senses. I thought about asking for another day just like this one, just for the benefit of her emotional state; and then I realized that this moment is to be savored. “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them”.
It’s been a long, difficult six months for not only Bethany, but for the entire family of her friends. I thank each one of you for joining us in this journey, for learning each painful lesson that we learn, and for continually holding Bethany in your thoughts and prayers. The Lord continues to feed us daily and reminds us that “daily” is what this relationship is all about.