Dad picked up the boys from piano lessons. He was going to be there at 3PM sharp. The way we’re doing lessons this time is fitting four of us within an hour and a half. It’s not the usual half hour lesson this way, but he said lesson regularity at this point was more important than lesson length. After a while with our former lessons, I had to to cut the time to only an hour a week, with us alternating with two of us each week. I had started to dread us being there for two hours.

I think it was because I was lonely sitting for that long in the youth room. The kids would bring their school work and I would bring a book. But a book wasn’t enough to keep me occupied that long, and there were steady interruptions with questions about school books. And I tried to do devotions, always feeling like I had to wait until everyone was there, which didn’t happen when there was someone always out for a lesson. I’d also have my journal, pencil, and phone along with me.

It’s like I can look back and see now the cracks starting to form. The increasing feeling like I was holding up something I couldn’t continue to carry. I remember a dream I had that fall, two of them actually. In one I was in a prison cell, in a stone tower with one window, curled up on a dirt floor. Jesus was sitting next to me on a rock. He was spoon-feeding me liquids. The only thing I was able to do was swallow whatever he gave me. The window was small, and high off the ground.

With the other dream there was a terrible force sucking me away into a cosmic black hole. I was holding on to Jesus’s leg with both hands, the side of my face pressed up into his calf and against his leg hairs. They say Jesus holds onto us and I don’t disagree, but in this dream I was very much holding on to him, the darkness trying to pull me away from the Lord. It was the leg hairs in that one that made such an impression. I can still feel my hands on his leg, his physical body that close.

I bawled my eyes out writing the big kids an email. I’d let them know this morning I was staying home from the track meet, but by the middle of the morning I was having second thoughts. Maybe I just needed to push through and go. Could they give me their thoughts and let know? I somehow needed to hear it from them, that they were okay if I wasn’t there again. It will never feel right to choose me over them. Dad and Grandma and the boys were going, and that was blessedly enough.

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