Nothing To Fear
When we were kids we believed in things that go bump in the night. We had our dad check under our beds for the boogey men. Not every night, but some nights when TV was too scary or 2nd grade too overwhelming. And there was an old wives’ tale going around that said if you were falling in your sleep and didn’t wake up before you landed you would die. Now I believed that one for sure. I don’t know what reliable soul told me that one, but I believed it. I fell in my dreams, but I always woke up before I landed. Whew! I’d think to myself and go back to sleep. I used to dream all the time I could fly too. I had bad dreams, but also very fun, freeing, wonderful dreams.
Now I’ve mentioned that I was very ill with bi-polar disorder when they first discovered it. Probably because my boy Davey was very sick and I had to keep him going. I used all my physical and emotional stores to care for him, so that when the illness hit me, I didn’t have a lot left to fight it with. It hit me hard. And then little Davey died after I’d been in the hospital about 1 month or so. With that to absorb I got worse. I had excellent care, and many people loved me and were praying for me. Yet many days it felt like I was fighting very hard and going nowhere.
Before I got sick my favorite Psalm was 139 and when I was feeling really bad I would recite it to myself, as much as I could remember:
1 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
One night I was lying in my bed trying to sleep. Sleep was the hardest thing for me, because it was hard for me to quiet my mind and get peaceful. I was just lying there fretting about this and that. All of a sudden, I heard the still small voice within me say “let go”. Let Go? That isn’t right I’ve gotta fight this thing. Persistently the thought was there, “Let Go.” Finally I let myself relax and inwardly say okay. Suddenly I felt myself falling fast and hard not like in a dream, more like in a horror flick. I thought, oh no I’m going to die. I’m not ready to die. I don’t want to die I want to live, please Dear God, let me live. I kept falling and falling and falling. Then I landed, not hard, but soft and gently. And I didn’t die, nor did I feel awake. I felt surrounded by the warmest, strongest, most all-encompassing, dearest love I had every felt or even imagined. I knew it was the amazing love of God.
Then it struck me I had hit the very depths and God was there. I had gone as low as my soul could go, and God was there surrounding me his love. And then I knew like the Psalmist, that I could climb to the highest heavens and descend to the deepest depths and no matter where I went the love of God would be there before me. “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there will thy had lead me and thy right had will hold me.” I was sick, but I was no longer afraid.
My doctors said that from that night forward, I started to get well. They didn’t need to tell me, I knew I was, but it was very nice to hear.