As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. John 13:30 (NIV)

From the time I was a little girl, I have loved the pretty things. Sitting on one of the twin beds in my older sisters' bedroom, I would watch in awe as they applied eyeliner and mascara, clothes for the evening laid out on the bed beside me; matching yellow shoes in their tissue-lined box. It was everything I wanted: perfect paint and sophistication.

These days I falter and pause. All the lovely layers are being stripped away to where the skin is raw and the emotions a bit ragged.

My days of plans and aspirations trail behind me like a balloon stretched full but now deflated. I am still holding tightly to the ribbon that once kept that balloon from escaping up into the heavens, even though it has long lost its helium. 

This is the part they don't tell you about in the magazines and the 'how to succeed' books; what remains at the end of the day.

I sit waiting for dawn and tell God the things I don’t want. I don’t want to be done yet. I don’t want to be empty or my days without purpose or meaning. I don’t want to be angry. Or sad. Or bitter. I whisper, “Please.”

He seems to have His own plans for me but hasn’t told me what they are yet. Washing my face with a rough washcloth. Revealing what is deeper down. Taking away my crutches and making me walk alone. I hate this.

He has placed the oddest books in my hands. I alternate between not just one, but two biographies of John Adams (seriously?) and Andy’s book Irresistible, that so easily offends. I read slowly. Just paragraphs at a time; sharing a story with Jeff, looking up scripture references, making notes in pencil in the margins.

I think… I think this is my appointed time to go deep. Deeper. That is why the layers are dissolving away. That is why all the lovely artifices I have spent a lifetime perfecting are failing me now. It is why I am alone a lot. Or with people that I don't know very well. Or with someone who knows me better than the rest.

It is an unfamiliar territory I am sailing through these days. I can't see beyond the nearest horizon and all my cargo has been jettisoned. The boat is lighter. Released from its anchor. Far from its shore. The seas are not stormy. The wind is not blowing. Everything is still and calm. 

“Have you ever been here?”, I want to ask out into the quiet skies. “Do you think the wind will pick up again?”

As I wait, I will think about Abigail Quincy Adams running the farm, waiting to hear word from Spain about her lost eleven-year-old son Charlie and waiting with no word coming from her husband John in Holland. And I will think about that brief moment of silence at the Last Supper after Judas left the room.

Questions: Have you ever been here? Do you think the wind will pick up again? 

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.