This past month my son, Isaac, received a new bed. It was time for him to move out of his crib and into a big boy bed. We’ve had some short nights, lots of trips to the bathroom, and a few thumps as he’s fallen to the floor. One morning at 4 am (I’m not sure this even counts as morning) I hear Isaac talking to himself. I find him awake and alert playing with his stuffed animals and blankets. “I’m playing library, mommy. My workers are busy.”
Even at 4 am, it’s hard not to smile at his imagination. “I know buddy, but it’s still time for sleep.”
“But I’m not tired.” He tells me.
I’m determined to get a few more hours of sleep, so I hop in his bed and tell him to come sleep with me. We lay together for a few minutes, he keeps telling me about his library and workers and what needs to get done, he also repeats that he’s not tired. Finally, as he rubs his eyes, he tells me, “Leave.”
The next morning over breakfast, I ask Isaac why he got up so early. He lifts his arms up and with exasperation says, “The sun is taking so long to come up.”
I know what he means. Perhaps you do, too.
Maybe you’re waiting for the chance to safely see your family and give a hug. Maybe you’re looking forward to being in person again for worship. Maybe you’re excited for the day your kids will be back in school. Maybe you simply want a break, or relief, or a moment alone. Maybe you’re wondering how your mental health will survive more tension and uncertainty.
“The sun is taking so long to come up.”
It feels like the sun may never come up. And if it does, we wonder if we’ll have the strength to see it.
As we enter a new month, I invite you to sit with your feelings. The waiting. The lament. Let them wash over you. It’s holy and necessary. It’s a faithful response to this world and our place in it. It allows us to know the power of light once we’ve settled in the darkness.
Maybe for you in this darkness you’re like Isaac and inviting someone to be with you. Maybe you feel even more lonely. Wherever you are, however you feel, you’re not alone. God is with you. God is holding you. God is sitting with you in the darkness.
God is bringing forth the light.
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
(Luke 1:78 NRSV).
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website, follow her work on Facebook, or sign up for her monthly newsletter.