“There’s a place of quiet stillness ‘tween the light and shadow reach. Where the hurting and the hopeless seek everlasting peace. Words of men and songs of angels whisper comfort bittersweet. Mending grief and life eternal where joy and sorrow meet”. Avalon
My bed in the psych ward was the one by the window. The thin curtain dividing the two beds did little to quiet my sobs or my roommate’s dementia. There was no music. Music did then and does now speak to me as if God Himself wrote the words just for me. I wanted to write, but they gave me a one-inch pencil with dull lead, so that wasn’t happening either. Day two post complete nervous breakdown clicked by slowly as I waited for visitors. Besides waiting for visitors, my days were spent waiting for the doctor to come and release me. All of it was hard, and it is even hard writing it now, over ten years later.
“There’s a place the lost surrender and the weary will retreat, full of grace and mercy tender- in times of unbelief. For the wounded there is healing, strength is given to the weak, broken hearts find love redeeming where joy and sorrow meet.
My friend Michelle has been my best friend since we were in the children’s home together and she was instrumental in my safe exit from my abusive husband. When she walked through the double doors into the hospital, I started to sob uncontrollably. She didn’t even have to say anything, she just held, and held on tight. She begged me to let her help me; no matter what that meant. She begged me to stop trying to be strong. Then she made me laugh, and if you know her you know she is just that friend in your life. I was only allowed to have two visitors at a time and the first Saturday, there were six people there at the same time. They rotated in an out and all begged me to fight. Since my next of kin was my sister—she had to drive from Jacksonville and talk to the doctor. My friend from Clearwater Christian, Kris was there too. She is my steady friend who observes more than she acts—and that is what I needed. She is a psychologist and no doubt helped my friends understand what was going on, and that I was going to be ok.
“There’s a place of thirst and hunger where the roots of faith grow deep and there is rain and rolling thunder when the road is rough and steep, there is hope in desperation there is victory in defeat at the cross of restoration where joy and sorrow meet.”
My friend Cheryl was there that day too. My mind wandered back to the first time I met her and she prayed for me—prayed for healing and restoration, citing reconciliation as “one of God’s favorite works”. I believed her then and I believe her now, I think now I just understand that it might not be on this earth. When it came time for all of them to leave Cheryl hugged me and I thanked her for coming and she said “you are worth fighting for”—I will never forget those five words. It had never even occurred to me that I had value at all. Crissy was there every time they would let her, and the steadfastness of her friendship would only become clear to me after I got out of the hospital, when all the monsters came to torment my heart, mind and soul. The day they all left and the door locked behind them I just wanted to die. I felt like I let all of them down. I walked back to my room just in time for them to make us go eat. Or, for me, stare at the food and drink a diet coke.
After standing in that line and getting a new handful of meds, I made my way back to my bed by the window, with a view of the water (just a little gift from God), and fell fast asleep. Being in the hospital sucked but the meds to sleep were awesome. I woke up the next morning to an argument between my new roommate and the nurse. It was time to go to breakfast, and she had just gotten there, she argued. The nurse relented and I shuffled past her but not before seeing the five -inch cuts on both of her wrists. I only went to breakfast that day because Crissy had finally convinced me they were not going to let me out until I ate. So I started to order grilled cheese and french fries. I usually gave it away, either way they thought I ate.
It turns out that my roommates name was Stacey. She couldn’t remember if she slit her wrists or if her friend did in their drug induced night before. She clung to me like I was her new best friend, and I do have to admit I probably was the sanest of the insane. She noticed my Bible and asked me about it. The rest of that conversation is cloudy to me. But, something came up about “birthday verses”. I told her mine was Romans 12:1 because my birthday is 12/1. I noticed on her armband that hers was 10/31, so I started in Matthew to help her find hers. We got to Matthew 10:31 and the words literally took the breath from my lungs:
“So do not be afraid for you are worth more than many sparrows” Matthew 10:31
Stacey stopped me there, and she wept, as did I. So, Cheryl was telling the truth when she told me I was worth fighting for, could it be for real? Either way, I understood the eternal consequences of that moment with Stacey. And while I know for certain Stacey needed that Word—it could not have been a better message for me at the time either—for that matter today too.
A few days later and after a lot of giving away my grilled cheese sandwiches, I was released from the hospital. And as if on cue, evilness was released too. The hospital stay was a reprieve from the war, and so it would rage on, next up, a court date because my dangerous ex husband sent a series of threats to my email. while I was in the hospital. And so I would go from the white coated doctors to the black robed judge, life was not awesome.
And the war waged on, I wasn’t sure I wanted to survive it either.
“Hanging blameless on a cross, You would rather die than to leave is in the dark. Every moment ever planned coincidence, just all made sense with Your last breath” Avalon
***Note, I wrote this almost ten years ago. I left it as it were in order to give readers a sense of healing in a person after being treated for trauma. The podcast version is way more polished and full of Hope. If you don’t journal, reasons like this is a good one to start***