I’m not a wordy person; never have been. But when it comes to prayer, you can’t shut me up.
It’s been six years and some change since his death. Six years of trying to fill a void with a little happiness here, a little fakeness there followed by creative activities, book reading, being a mom, taking cheap (but fulfilling) day trips, and retreating to yearly family outings.
I'm not going to lie and say that I've been incredibly happy and festive since his passing because I haven't. But after his passing, I allowed my volunteerism to become an illusory phenomenon. (I had finally talked him into partnering with me to minister at the Alzheimer's facility prior to his death. He awed the patients and staff with his tender words of comfort. His ministry had returned but it wasn't for long).
I did the only thing that I felt would make me happy, which was a bit atypical for me. I threw myself a catered birthday bash a year after his death, complete with a Christian comedian, neo-soul band, and praise team. I've been on two cruises which enabled me to see six amazing islands. I've met some wonderful people, attended retreats and held non-traditional widowed events for my organization.
But don't get it twisted, I've experienced incredible loneliness as well. I had downtime that I didn't know what to do with other than to binge on Netflix movies and listen to inspirational messages (yes, I'm a movie buff).
But then there comes a time when you think that enough time has passed to be that consistent, level-headed, and focused widow everyone (especially the Church) expects of you. If this thought has ever crossed your mind, you're not alone.
The pit is a disgusting place - a place where you can’t seem to be lifted from. No matter how athletically toned you think you are the pit will still grab hold of you no matter how many times you try to leave. There is no average length of time while in the pit. No, it’s nothing like the NASCAR pit the pit crew performs to recharge, refuel and repair; they only get 12 seconds to complete the job. This pit, well, you can best believe one would need more than several seconds to overcome. Withstanding a tire change is easy but enduring a turmoil of emotions is not. This is where the pit materializes. The pit you're experiencing is virtual but it's just as real as the real deal.
You plan your move and begin to climb but you hit obstacles. Your tendons and ligaments begin to give way as soon as the first pull-up is performed; one leg, then the other.
You hit that one major obstacle. You acknowledge that it has kept you from coping with everyday life. That obstacle: anger.
You begin to think of all of the rage you've felt since his passing. How dare he leave you alone with the children, the bills, the housework, the loneliness, the lack of intimacy, the lone seat at worship, and even the dealings of the widespread oppression, aggression, and high-profile racial incidents that have seemed to emerge - thanks to social media. You're either too afraid or too introverted to talk to someone about it, let alone the doctor, so you continue on and pretend everything is fine - until everything is not fine. "I can manage this," is repeatedly buzzing in your head. But you can't manage it because you never know when it will hit you.
You fall down into the base of the pit and give up hope, but then there's a ball of brightness that radiates down from the sky and passes through your prized strands - warming the melanin you've grown to applaud. You take a deep breath and realize that you DO need help and you can't manage this by yourself. Tears begin to flow and you suddenly become energized. Not physically, but spiritually. You get an unction to talk, to chat, to pray. You realize it's not you but another source that is working in you and through you. Your heartbeat begins to retreat and you feel a sense of comfort, peace, and happiness. Your lips have already begun to move, your tongue begins to flex in parallel and you begin to hear your own voice. You close your eyes. You're praying and you like it. You love it. You respect it. You own it. You begin to ask for things you dare not ask friends, family, co-workers or even church members for. But this time you feel OK; it feels right to ask.
You finally open your eyes. You find yourself in the darkness, but this darkness is the closet. You had rearranged your shoes prior to beginning your prayer time in a way
that would allow you to lie prostrate before God. You now remember what put you there. After reading a quote from E.M. Bounds, "Prayer is not learned in a classroom but in the closet," you decided to tap into your spiritual side. And now you feel good. You trust Him. You feel pushed and motivated. You want to be better.
You leave the closet with determination and pick up the phone: "Hello, I'd like to make an appointment. I need help."
You're angry no more and you realize that you're going to be OK.
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."