The bottle sat on the bedside table. It was full to the top with the little white pills that gave him relief, if only for small periods at a time. But now he was looking for longer than that.
He lay on his bed, facing the bottle, yesterday’s voices bouncing around in his memory, the tension still tightening his throat, his back. A glass of water, poured the night before, stood beside the bottle. He could do it. One handful instead of one pill, should remove them all from this miserable life he felt he was sentencing them to.
But he wasn’t sure. What if the pills didn’t finish the pain. What if he were left in even worse shape, and she had even more to worry about with him. He couldn’t do that to her. But he couldn’t do this either, watching her give up her life for his, every day. Taking from her the joy of being alive, and binding her to his side, keeping her on a watch that controlled her life. This would set her free.
She lay on the couch, sleep far from her mind, and listened for the sound of his voice. She was used to listening, in fact, that’s all she really heard anymore. The cell phone lay on the coffee table within reach, just in case she had to bring in reinforcements. His body was getting heavier every day, as hers was getting older. It was harder to massage the muscles that were growing hard beneath her hands. It was harder to stop what she was doing during the day, to run to his side when he called. But it was even harder for him, knowing all this.
His hand moved toward the bottle. He picked it up and shook it, listening to the soft bell like sound of the pills as they moved together against the sides of the bottle, an innocent, inviting sound. Surely it would be quick, and then they would both be free. He turned the lid with a shaking hand, and the bottle dropped at the edge of the bed, spilling them across the floor. He watched them roll away out of reach, and a laugh came from his throat. He couldn’t even manage his own demise. Now she would have to come and clean them up, another burden he created. She wouldn’t know though, why they spilled. She would just pick them up and give him one, with the glass of water. He would swallow it and lie back down.
She drifted asleep on the couch, hearing in the distance the faint clunk of the bottle hitting the floor. She’d check on him later. She just needed a little more sleep before she started their day.
The couple above are real. What they face each day is real. I just pray that he doesn’t ever decide that not being here anymore is the answer for her. It’s not.
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen...”
2 Cor. 4:16,17a (NIV)
Some are called to a more literal, painful, translation of this verse. But we all have the same hope. The pure white pages of scripture become the little white pills that can help us through any situation.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength...” Isaiah 40:21 (NIV).
WILL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH, one promise at a time.
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