Life was pressing in on me from all sides. I’d recently retired from a job I loved and was really good at, a job that more than I even realized defined who I was, and moved across the country to rejoin my husband after six years of being physically – not emotionally – separated because of our jobs.
I didn’t think it would be as hard as it turned out to be. I moved away from one son and daughter-in-law and precious baby granddaughter but close to another son, daughter-in-law, and precious granddaughter. I moved away from some lifelong friends, but close to other lifelong friends. I had an established home in this new place, and a whole network of people I loved anxious for me to come join them. I thought it would be a piece of cake.
More like a piece of gristle. It was hard. Turns out six years apart is not the best plan for any marriage: We had both become so accustomed to our independent lives that merging them once again into an “our life” – without the benefit of new inlovedness umbrella you have when you’re newliweds – was more difficult than either of us thought it would be. Imagine his frustration when I rearranged everything in the kitchen and he stumbled to the cupboard – Every. Single. Morning – to get a coffee cup, only to find plates there instead. Imagine my ire the first – and hopefully only – time he made the remark, “Hey, I worked all day …” (Yeah, honey, I still haven’t forgotten that one.)
I missed –and still miss – my older son so much it actually hurts sometimes. It doesn’t matter that he’s a grown man; he’s still my boy and I feel like I’ve abandoned him. I want to be there for him if he needs me; I want to watch my granddaughter grow up, and not just on Facetime once every couple weeks. I miss watching my daughter-in-law play and snuggle with little Paige, and read to her, and teach her words and colors and shapes.
And then there came the battles. Difficulties for my younger son and his wife, not between them but happening to them, that filled me with anxiety and anger. I’m a mama lion, and when anyone threatens my family, I go into full attack mode. I am fierce. I am relentless. I let the force of my anger and protectiveness drive me.
And what that does is makes it impossible for me to sleep.
So at night I have taken to listening to relaxing piano music on my phone. That seems to do the trick. Maybe my mind starts listening to the music and stops thinking about how to keep my family safe. Whatever it is, it works.
Which brings me to the whole point of this post.
Two nights ago I had finally fallen asleep, listening to my music. It’s just a regular station, not a Christian station. Just plays soothing music. No lyrics, nothing to make me really think. Just music.
In the wee hours of the morning, I woke to the sound of a torrent of rain on the roof. I mean, it was coming down. I love the rain, and I love now living in a place where it rains (as we all know, it never rains in Southern California, so Missouri is a treat for me; there’s water here). I listened to the deluge for a minute, and then it stopped, as quickly as it started. That’s when I became aware of the radio.
It was playing an instrumental version of Agnus Dei, one of the most worshipful and beautiful songs I know. If you don’t know this song, listen to it. It sinks into your soul and draws you into the arms of God like no other. (Here’s a really nice version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPBmFwBSGb0.)
I was flooded with the love of God in that moment, the peace that really does pass all understanding. I felt His arms around me in a way I hadn’t felt for a while. I knew – knew – that He was in this trial with us, that He had us in His hands, and that no matter the outcome, His will would be done.
And what more could we ask but that?
The next morning I woke up and told my husband, “You know that rainstorm last night? God used it to wake me up just to hear that song on the radio.”
My husband looked at me funny and then looked out at the back deck. It was dry as a bone.
“It didn’t rain last night, honey.”