Breathing

Beams of God's radiance glint off the plastic footboard of the hospital bed and send a rainbow of prismatic gold over the bleached white sheets I have pulled up to my chin. The window is cold and the draft sneaks under the blankets and cools my toes. Across the room, a roommate snores off her hangover and overdose. I stare up at the pock-marked Styrofoam ceiling tiles, lost in time.

The odd paradox of melancholy and joy has lived in my breast for a year now. I learn to name the constant ebb and wash of emotions with words like "disgust" for the acid burning, "shame" for the head-bent-low grief, "joy" for the sparkling champagne of the soul. 

The days are long and quiet here, punctuated with an all too brief hour of Eminem and painting in the middle, meals like clockwork arriving cold from the bowels of the hospital. The first day, my brain races double time through the silence of my hospital room. By the second day, everything has slowed with a deep hollow bass tone, and I start to uncurl from the fetal position I've been stuck in, glued to the plastic mattress with a cold sweat of anxiety and the cheeks flushing with shame. Third day, I laugh for the first time, again. Day four, the doctor says I can go home. Home I go, chauffeured by beautiful country blond, to the house mourning the last days of a holiday studded with pain, to the children buoyant with the homecoming of Mama.

I sleep under the moon and the down comforter, sandwiched between my two men, husband and child. I wake up breathing slower than I have in a long time, to the sunrise and the wind whispering through the rattling leaves of the woods, the spring-like air, the owls hooting their last night songs across the valley. I am thankful for this week of rest, vacation from mental hypervigilance against darkness, a blank slate of mind that has been so busy fighting through December's bog.

Tabula rasa. I start again with a clean slate. Benigno numine. By the favor of the heavens. Bendictus que venit. Blessed is she who comes in the Lord's name. Dabit Deus his quoque finem. God will bring an end to this. Deo adjuvante non timedum. With God's help, nothing should be feared.

Cruce, dum spiro, fido.
While I breathe, I will trust the Cross.

God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible. What a pity when we plan only the things we can do by ourselves.” -A.W. Tozer