A Prayer for Getting Out of Bed

God, I dreamed about her again last night.

She was so beautiful, trapped in my memory in incorruptible perfection. Her pixie face, her laugh, the hand gestures, the little smile wrinkles that have always been there at the corners of her eyes, her neck — God, she had the most glorious neck. It’s all these little things, these recollections and broken trinkets of our life together … like that little leather box she has with all the coins in it from all the places she’s been … I have these mementos. On mornings like this, I drag them out and endure the agony of running my fingers through them. Perhaps I shouldn’t, but I’m still crazy in love with her. I’m hopelessly in love with her, like a teenage boy with his heart wrapped tight around his first true love. I am endlessly in love with her, or at least with the frozen snapshot of her in my mind. I want so badly to touch her. I remember the last time I held her, there in the mediator’s office. She was so cold. so stiff, so determined in her anger to cut herself off from the possibility of feeling any future pain from me. I will always remember how her hair smelled that day.

I wish I could forget. I wish You could keep me from dreaming about her. That would be great. I wish my heart toward her could grow cold.

I need a job, God.

I overdrew my bank account yesterday. I got a check in, but not in time. Overdraft fees are an excruciating little garnish to the pain of being poor. I’ve only got a couple hundred dollars left. I’m down to eating one meal a day, trying to make it something as nutritious (while still cheap) as possible. I’ve quit going to the gym. I can’t keep training if I’m not eating. I can’t go to jujitsu if I’m not eating. I know that’ll make me sick quick. I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

You said You’d provide for my needs. I need.

The van I’m driving? … the one that’s not mine, that’s borrowed, that I’ve driven for going on two years now? It’s not acting great. Definitely not bad for 207,000 miles, but 8° mornings are taking their toll. Every time I put in another application/resume, I wonder what will happen if they do call and I can’t get to the interview. A guy honked at me the other night as I was trying to baby it through an intersection. I think he thought I was just driving super slow to annoy him. As I backfired and shuddered my way through the green light, it didn’t make me feel particularly manly that I kinda started to cry.

I don’t understand what You’re doing. I mean I get what You’re doing, I just don’t get why I can’t be like everyone else. You call us all to surrender, right? You call all of us to throw off everything that might tie us down, every crutch we might lean on instead of You? I’m not special. Everyone gets that call. How come others get to hear that call from their office at their job, and ponder it while driving home in their own cars, to their own house with their own yard and picket fence. How come they get to thank You for Your provision at dinner around a food-laden table, and then lay down next to their wife, down the hall from their kids, and drift off to sleep while half-heartedly talking to You about it in suburban comfort?

I’ve told You before that if I survive this, I’m sure I’ll some day see this as mercy. Some day I’ll appreciate it that You have me on the “remedial surrender” plan, and don’t expect me to have to give up all the things that others have to give up. You’ve already taken most of those things from me.

Now You’re demanding the rest.

I feel like You’ve driven me to the edge of a precipice, thoroughly wrecked and destroyed my avenues of retreat, and then had the unmitigated gall to tell me that whether I jump and trust You to catch me is my choice. The real irony is that I’m standing here pretending like there’s a real choice to be made. There is nothing to return to. There is no path back. There is only the step into the dark unknown.

I know You exist. I know You are good. I even know that You love me with an everlasting love, and that You cannot change. I also know, like Rich Mullins said, that being loved by You is one of the most painful things that a human being can ever endure. My doubt today is pretty much all tied up in wondering if I going to be able to survive Your love. It hurts. It hurts like nothing ever has.

I don’t know how to surrender these last few things. We’re down to the level where my “need” for what You’re asking me to give up is so great that my fingers won’t voluntarily release them. You’re probably going to have to just keep taking things away.

I believe Rich was also right when he said that being loved by You, as excruciating as it will always be, is the only path to salvation. I know that what makes true faith theoretically different from all false hopes is that You graciously equip me to obey that which You require.

So, let’s try this: You keep utterly destroying me … and I’ll keep doing my best to remain utterly incapable of making anything good of myself. Deal?

I love You.

Amen

2 comments

  1. Rick,
    I wish I could say that it gets easier but it doesn’t. Eventually you find ways to occupy your mind during the day, but the night is a cruel. My best advice would be to get yourself a dog, go to the local dog shelter and find a dog that needs a master, will listen to every frustratration, and comfort you when you can’t stop the tears.
    Matt

  2. I love your honesty. It hits me every time; I re-experience the rawness of your writing each time I read something of yours. And it actually kind of hurts a little bit, but it’s beautiful. It hurts that God gives us life and says “Here is the world. Good and terrible things are going to happen. Do not be afraid.” Like, of course I’m going to be afraid! God, how can you just throw me out to the wolves like that? The book of Hebrews talks about God disciplining us as a Father does His children, and that used to make me really angry. But now I find comfort in “running with endurance the race that has been set before us.” Hebrews 12:11 is a verse that I’m still wrestling with daily… But it’s good. He is good all the time. Even when it hurts.

No, srsly, I wanna know what you think ...