I'm working on the book. I'm in the home stretch, and it's always hard to plow toward the ending--for me the hardest part to write. I've been sick lately. More pain. Muscle weakness, and some new, troubling thing. My muscles twitch uncontrollably, especially at night right before I go to sleep. My shoulders, arms, fingers, legs, feet take turns jerking until I sleep.
I'm exhausted. I don't know how I keep writing pages because I have NOTHING right now. Sleep. Hurt. Write. That's the cycle of my life. When was the last time I combed my hair? Did I mention I'm exhausted? Beyond tired.
The kids have taken to sitting on the bed with me. ZZ is on my left side playing with my Coloring Your Prayers book. Abby is on the foot of the bed watching 20/20. I'm desperately trying to concentrate, but I keep taking peeks at the television. A pretty, biracial woman is on my 13 inch screen. Alternately they show this woman talking with Barbara Walters, poised and brave. Then they show a horrifying home video of her husband assaulting her in front of their children. Her oldest son is forced to video tape the whole thing. I see a flurry of blows to her head, face. He's kicking her. He's saying things. . .
I've heard before.
Something small and tight unfurls inside of me. It starts it soft, bleating wail. I shut my eyes and try not to see it's me on the floor, and he has the broom hitting me over and over with the broomstick. The he picks up an arm exerciser, one of those things you bend and the resistance builds your muscles. He hits me in the knees with it again, and again. It would be a week before I could stand. Years before my knees healed completely. He takes an extension cord. I think he's having fun finding new things to hit me with. It's about as creative as he gets.
"Turn it off, Abby." I say. She says, "Aw Mom. It's almost off." I say it again. "Turn it off. It's disturbing me." She was too young to remember that day, when she sat in the corner, huddled with Lumumba. She hadn't even turned two. Mumba hadn't turned four. Even now she can't know anything about the day I was the naked, pregnant woman in the yard, when my womb covered her, and a strange man ran into his apartment and got his bathroom and covered me.
It was thirteen years ago. I always think I'm better. Healed. I think about the weakness in my body now. How it becomes more and more debilitating, and I don't think about those bad days when I didn't remember that I was someone who God made, and loved, and would take care of. I didn't think I could walk away from him because he told me if he couldn't find me he'd kill my mother, or my best friend. And he knew just where to find them.
Barbara Walters is asking the woman why didn't she just leave, but I know why. You have to have been that particular kind of crazy to understand. Experts can pontificate, but I've been that woman. You don't turn into the girl who can't leave over night. Your whole life prepares you for it--a thousand little things. For me it began when I was cognitive enough to ask myself why both my parents gave me away, and kept the other eight children. You start to doubt yourself. You wonder if it's because you had asthma so bad and they just didn't want the burden of you. You play mind games with yourself when you are six, and eight, and twelve. Every year you wonder until you finaly ask your mother when you're twenty-seven and with that man who takes a lot from you every day, and gives you back just a little. And it goes on and on. All your bad theology--he knows it. He manipulates everything that means anything to you. Were you abandoned? He knows it. And always makes you feel like NOBODY will want you. He seems to be all knowing and all powerful and it will be years before you find out what a weiner he is, and you shake your head, amazed that you were ever scared of him at all.
And then there will be that Friday night, thirteen years later. Your daughter is at the foot of the bed watching 20/20. You are writing the novel you never dreamed you'd write. You are sick. You are exhausted, but in better shape than you were back then, when you didn't remember that God made you, and loved you, and would take care of you.
It helps to have friends in your new life, who write and say the Holy Spirit has brought you to mind a lot. You tell them you don't feel good. And they send prayers to God and God's word to you:
"You who have been borne by Me from birth, and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age, I shall be the same, and even to your graying years, I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you; and I shall bear you and I shall deliver you." Is 46:3b,4
I'm grateful for this Word. It makes a strong case for memorizing scripture! I take great comfort in knowing that I began in God's womb, and He carried and bore me. And He carried me in those dark, hard years, never forgetting that He made me, He loved me, and He kept taking care of me.
I'm assured by the tender presence of the Holy Spirit that in joy and pain it's the same. I lie in this sick bed and He carries me. When I remember the things that make me feel small and sad, He carries me. When I have to walk on water to tell stories when I don't have anything and even the words seem to be slipping away, He carries me.
I use up a lot of tissues writing this blog. I keep telling the kids that I'm okay, even though I'm crying. I remember God's faithfulness when I myself wasn't faithful.
I wipe my eyes again.
I blow my nose.
I take a deep breath in God's strong hands.
Then go write the last chapters of the novel.