by Gail Monroe
Hope can rise out of the darkest hour.
|Winter was dark this year. Dark in spirit and soul. Dark in ways not mentioned on daily local newscasts. Liz realized she was in trouble when she could no longer get out of bed. She had her precious baby several months ago, in early November. But as much as she loved her little bundle of joy, her cherished Debbie, Liz continued to sleep for hours, plastered to her bed as if blocks of concrete were laid on top of her, end to end.
She heard the baby crying and moaned to herself. She wanted to be able to get her newborn out of the crib and hold her close. She longed to smell that warm baby perfume that tickled the nose and caused love to rise in the most hardened of hearts. She longed to feel her Debbie’s warm skin on her own as they cuddled.
Liz listened as her husband slipped into the baby’s room and a few moments later, quietly move down the hallway to the living room to care for their child. Liz burrowed into the covers and once again settled into a deep restless sleep.
Early one morning in March, Liz rose, slipped on a chenille robe, and shuffled into the bathroom. Shocked by the image in the mirror, tears coursed down her cheeks. She plopped down on the toilet seat and wept. Thirty minutes later, she stepped into the shower, standing under the steaming hot water for as long as she could. She stepped out of the shower, dried off with the clean soft towel she grabbed from a nearby rack. She ran a comb through her wet hair and again slipped into her robe.
Liz walked through the pristine kitchen, slowly registered the spotless living room as she peered at her beloved Terry who was asleep on the sofa with their five month old daughter lying in his arms. Eighteen-month-old Barbie, playing nearby, looked up and gave her mother a grin. Liz’ heart filled with love for her family and anger gripped her at whatever had taken over her life. She first walked over to the window and slowly opened the blinds. The bright eastern sun spread into the room. Liz next stepped to the front door, opened it to breathe in the fresh morning air, thankful they had purchased their dream home in the country.
Revived by the shower and fresh air, Liz once again looked at the pair on the sofa. She moved across the room to Barbie, sat down on the floor and folded her older daughter into her arms. For the first time in months, Liz felt hope rising within her. She hugged her daughter and was lovingly hugged in return. Liz was thankful for the natural resilience and open-hearted forgiveness inherent in children. She hoped her husband would feel the same.
As she and her daughter continued their extended hug, Liz heard a slight rustle behind her. Turning slowly, she saw her husband still lying on the sofa, his eyes surveying the scene before him, a grin growing across his face. She smiled and said, “I’m back.” With a husky voice, Terry said, “I see. I’m glad.” She knew they would talk further, but for now they both allowed the tableau to continue as love flowed among the four like an electric current. After a long dark winter of the soul, both figuratively and literally, spring was in the air.