In the dark places

Is God only to be found in flowers
And sunsets and smiles and morning lake mist
Or is he also present in the dark places
In the tears and terror and numbness

Perhaps he is there
But I have not been looking

In my despair
As I backed a rental car out of the driveway
And followed a moving van
And all of my earthly possessions
Down the road from my house and husband
And our decade of marriage

Perhaps God was there
But I could not see him
Through the tears in my eyes

In my fear
As I lay on a white-sheeted exam table
Allowing my insides to be probed
And stretched and pulled until I broke
Spilling my blood onto that whiteness
Draining it from my face until I was faint
And the PT fed me yogurt

Perhaps God was there
But I could not hear him
Over the pounding of my heart

In the terror
Of those never-ending moments
Weeping on a plane to Dallas
Reading the only magazine in the seat back
Sounding out words in a language I don’t speak
Body tense for every tremor and bump
While other passengers dreamed of beaches
Or read their frivolous airport novels

Perhaps God was there
But I could not feel him
Put his hand on my shoulder

Words of a wise man say
Welcome the darkness
Embrace it
For it will “sweep your house clean”
Prepare you for better things

If I invite the darkness in
Offer it a chair, a cup of coffee
Will God come with it
Will he be there
If I look and listen closely
To all my dark places