Melly hung up the phone, deeply disturbed. Anytime a phone rings at three in the morning, it can’t be good and hearing the anguished voice of her son on the other end only confirmed this.
Jeremy was going through a divorce and a bitter custody battle. Tonight, fueled by alcohol, he'd been not only distraught but angry. There would be no going back to sleep, Melly realized. She made her way to the kitchen; a cup of chamomile sounded soothing.
She stoked the fire in the stove and pulled the wooden rocker closer to sip her tea. Jeremy had been full of questions. No, not questions, she acknowledged, accusations. Fighting for custody of his children had brought up deeply buried hurts from his childhood. Like the metaphoric elephants in the living room, those traumas had never been talked about and never dealt with.
Her marriage to Ken had been volatile; his temper and control issues dominated everything. Melly felt fortunate to have escaped and built a new life for herself, but guilt over leaving Jeremy had never fully abated. Jeremy was just thirteen when she and his dad separated. Jeremy insisted he wanted to live with his father and for various reasons Melly had not fought this. She had then made the decision that unless he came to her and asked, she would not willingly disclose the abuse she had endured. Tonight, for the first time in 18 years, Jeremy was asking.
She had stumbled at first, not sure how much to tell him, how much information he was really seeking. Behind his toughness was a badly broken little boy and Melly was cautious. There were miles between them both geographically and emotionally. She longed for a real relationship with him, but after so many years, they were still more like polite strangers to one another than mother and son.
Ever mindful of the tenuous relationship between them, she chose her words carefully. As her words began to sink in, Melly had sensed Jeremy withdrawing. His father was his hero, always had been, while Melly had been made out to be the bad guy. His questions came less rapidly, but with more intensity. He seemed to be choosing his words carefully as well.
As they had talked, Melly had felt a familiar darkness creeping over her heart and soul. Re-visiting the past tended to do that. Tonight had been no exception.
Those old accusations began to arise; allegations that followed her and attacked when she was most vulnerable. Now as she sat alone, voices of darkness whispered she should have fought harder to keep her son, what a terrible mother, selfish and uncaring, she was. They were lies and she knew that but they still wielded power.
Sinking to her knees, she began to pray. Words from the Psalms cried out in her mind and she laid them down before her Lord as they came to her.
I am sick at heart O Lord, how long until you restore me… How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? Have mercy on me, Lord for I am in distress.
A different voice spoke, this time into her heart. A gentle Voice reminding her that this darkness she was experiencing was really just the absence of Light. What felt like an overwhelming black cloud could be dispelled by bringing the Light into it. Her prayers changed.
I waited for the Lord, he lifted me out of the pit of despair, he set my feet on solid ground, and steadied me as I walked along… May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame…how precious is your unfailing love O God… I find shelter in the shadow of your wings. My heart is confident in you, O God, my Rock and my Redeemer; no wonder I can sing your praises!
On and on she prayed, offering praises and affirmations. A renewed strength brought Melly up from her knees. While the battle was far from over for Jeremy, a victory had been won in her. She’d felt the darkness flee as she’d prayed. She watched from her window then as the inky black of night faded and the first hint of sunrise highlighted the sky.
With a peaceful heart, she concluded with her favorite Psalm: I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.
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