A woman broken in the darkness of night, a married woman alone in her bed. The room is warm from a furnace left running to 71 degrees. Her mouth tastes of metal, is she bleeding? She turns over in the dark to discover that in her sleep she has been weeping. Her husband is a good man with a big broken space, from abuse and war and a marriage that did not heal anything. Her dreams too were shattered within weeks of saying “I do.” Vows were broken, angry words spoken many times in the 22 years since. She wonders if she ever knew peace within his arms. The bed-clothes are heavy and hot and she rises dizzily from her bed. Turns on the bathroom lights and cringes at her reflection. Her husband is moaning softly in the guest room where he sleeps now. Post traumatic wrangling with his demons in the night. It has been many years of not sharing a bed. There were good times, laughter in a canoe on the lake by their home, puppies lighting up their faces, friends & family once gathering at their table, trips taken to the sea to share the mutual love of salt air and waves crashing on the shore. Mostly, it has been a marriage of service and hard work. Building homes that are temporarily shelter, driving hours into the city to find work that has eluded them. Fighting off the sting of rejections from a family by blood, while dreams and friendships are thrown to the ground in betrayals. She can’t look at any of this anymore. She has prayed many nights for some blessed release and the years have proven to mock her prayers with the continual pain of sickness and grief. What is it that sustains her? She knows that in the broken darkness of fear and loss is faith. A faith that has sustained her, even when the outcomes have not been what she has prayed for. When sickness is her daily cloak for over 40 years. When a bedroom made the ready for a child who never came is dismantled. When cancer came to her and she was without support. When 911 took her breath and her friend away. Car accidents that broke her neck and a lightning strike that changed her internal landscape, a brown recluse spider bite that threatened dialysis. She still wonders by what miracle is she here, this night weeping. By what purpose is the pain? Certainly she has more wisdom and more gratitude when moments of beautiful have come. The blue skies, the tiny winged creature nesting in the summers meadow grass. She see’s the world with eyes of compassion and moves mountains to change suffering if she is granted the power to do so. Touches of fortunes and glimpses of fame. A few loves that stayed, of which her husband is one. She thinks back to the Christmas mornings and the Easter sunrise services with strangers who felt closer than family and she hears her pup snoring dreams of redemption from a tyrant who nearly killed her before she found her home. She knows that without this marriage many of her works would not have happened and those works changed the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people without hope. She knows that if that child who lived in her heart had become their own, thousands of children would not have been given a cup of fresh cool life-giving water. That after rising from her profound grief, she turned her eyes to Africa and the dying of children without clean water. She found her life’s purpose in her pain and as one reporter put it “she was a hero to so many.” She knows that books written and music birthed and awards came, in large part because of this marriage. The revelation stuns her. She remembers a story of the astronaut seeing the earth from space. She recognizes that when she steps out of her pain to look at her purpose the picture is one of grace & God in large measure.
The woman rises from the words on this page as she catches a glimpse of herself again, waiting for the sun to rise and for her faith to form her day.
*Dr Lynn founded Damascus ministries which to date has funded 18 water wells in Africa. For more information or to help her fund more projects http://www.drlynnandtheorphans.com