Monday, February 7, 2011

Insomia Part Three

I hear him approach before I see him. He walks into the room carrying a heavy burden. His shoulders are slumped over and his head is hung in a type of shame that can only be experienced by those who have done something beyond terrible. He looks at me expectantly. He's waiting for a greeting, a nod of my head, a raised eyebrow, or anything that will indicate that I am interested in what's on his mind.

I sigh. It's going to be a long night.

"You're late," is all I say to him. He nods knowing that he is. It's 4 am. Usually he visits around the magical hour of three. But, not tonight. Tonight something has held the devil up. And he wants to talk about it.

Three a.m. is my witching hour. It is the hour that the loneliness sets in. Three a.m. is when I stop praying for sleep and begin to pray for strength. He usually chooses this hour to visit and taunt me with images of people sleeping. As I lay alone with only a body pillow for comfort, he projects visions of couples blissfully wrapped in each other, eyes closed, dreaming of clouds and nothing. And then just as quickly as these haunted pictures appear, he rips them away and reminds me of my reality. My aloneness at three a.m.

"What detained you?" I ask. "You could have just stayed away."

"You could have prayed me away." He retorts.

He's got me there. My prayers seem to be the only thing that keeps the devil at bay. Often times, I find if I ask the Lord to visit, He will appear instead of the devil. God comes and lays beside me. He wraps me in His warm cocoon of love. But, I haven't prayed in awhile. My mind has been a cloud of thoughts mixed with confusion. The devil knows this. He takes full advantage.

I sit straight up in bed. With the covers folded at my waist, I lean against my pillows for comfort. I gently remind the devil that he has a little over two hours before my alarm clock shakes me from this waking nightmare. He nods. He knows my routine better than I do. He visits me at least three times a week.

"You've had a lot on your mind," he says. I resist pointing out what an obvious statement this is. Instead I wait to see what the fallen angel has to say.

Many people believe Satan looks like the image that is depicted in books. He is neither horrific or beautiful. He is just a man. An unassuming man with shaggy brown hair and normal seeming brown eyes. He stands a little over six feet tall. He has a wrestler's build; as if he spent his formative years lifting weights and never lost his love for the training.  His smile is filled with straight white teeth. I have known many men that look like him. A person would only remember seeing the devil if they spoke with him. Lucifer is a flash of memory. He is a moment in time and nothing more.

"I can sense your mind turning over something. You forget I can read it. I can feel your emotions. Your head is a cloud. Your heart is heavy. This gives me a small thrill. But, I can't put my finger on the whole picture. I can't see all your thoughts. I'm getting flashes of fear, anger, and something else. I don't know what that something else is and, I must say, my curiosity is up." He explains. "Care to fill me in?"

I swallow hard and shake my head. "This is why you were late? You were busy analyzing me?"

The devil chuckles. "No. There's a man down the street who decided to quit some bad habits. I stopped long enough to remind him that he likes those bad habits way too much to let go."

I sigh. I point towards the foot of the bed and wait for him to get comfortable. A glance at the clock tells me that I have enough time to share what's on my mind to my deceptive friend before I have to get the day started. I begin.

"I know who you are. I know why you look so personable to me. I know why I let you into my bedroom so often. You are him. You are the man that I once thought I loved, or at the very least cared about. You drug me down the road one night. You broke my spirit and nearly killed me. You took away any sense of safety I may ever  have. You're the reason I don't sleep. You're the reason I see monsters where only shadows live. 

The anger you sense is the anger that I have decided to let go of. It's nothing more than a reminder. It reminds me how close I came to death. It reminds me of the person I turned into. A mean and spiteful person that hurt many people. A person that had no respect for her own body or the bodies of others. The fear, well that's a horse of a different color. It's not fear that it will ever happen again. Once my body was taken from me, it was never really given back. My heart was never made whole again. No, fear is that someone I love may go through what I went through that night twenty years ago. I don't think I could bare it. Bare the knowledge of what she will endure if this mysterious she is ever brutalized like I was.

That mysterious 'something else' that you sense is me forgiving you. That's right. Forgive you. I forgive you for dragging me down a nasty road twenty years ago. I forgive you for doing the things that my mind refuses to remember. God knew I couldn't bare to carry the knowledge of that night with me, so He saw to it that I'd let it go. I forgive you. See, forgiveness is the  most powerful thing a person can do to another. Anger doesn't hold a candle to it. Death can not erase it. Only forgiveness frees us from the binds that you try to tie us with. And I am breaking these binds. I am forgiving you."

Exhausted, I slide down in the bed. I pray for tears that will never come. I haven't cried in years, and I doubt I will start now. The silence is heavy as I feel the devil weigh my words. He speaks quietly.

"Forgiveness doesn't come from me."

"I know," I whisper.

"Neither does sleep."

"I know that too."

It is Lucifer's turn to sigh. "Is this what keeps you up at night? Are our late night conversations over?"

I laugh. "No," I tell him. "My mind is always crowded with thoughts of something or another. Next time you appear, you'll probably look like my Great Aunt Pearl or something."

The devil stands up prepared to leave. Before he walks out, he turns and says something that will more than likely keep me up for the next solid week.

"You people make it so hard on yourselves. It's really easy to get rid of me. All you have to do is face your fears. What you fear most is what keeps you away from God. And brings you closer to me."

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