Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection,  LC-USF33-011536-M3
Lee, Russell, 1938, photographer

I was awakened by strange and sad dreams hours ago.

Or aching jaw, clenched undetected in sleep. Or gnawing gut, making me regret roast beef. Or a cat.

And now I need tea. (Horrible stuff, chamomile. But good for healing.)

Because now there are thoughts, tugging at my mind. If I write them, maybe they’ll go away and let me rest.

* * * * *

My mind replays tapes of failure when I lie in bed too long awake.

Things neglected. Things forgotten. People neglected. People forgotten.

Failure that I’m not really sure is always failure.

. . . I’ve begun filtering. Taking thoughts captive and filtering them through truth. Sometimes there are lessons mixed in among the mid-night lies.

But so much of what keeps me awake did not keep mankind awake until modern times.

I’m sure 90% of what I feel guilt about never crossed Ma Ingalls’s mind. She would never have beat herself up for having bins of photos instead of completed photo albums gracing her shelves. Or fretted about not getting the oil changed in her car.  Or of posting too much on Facebook. Or of being shy of the phone. Or just being social enough in general . . .

Now and then, when I am overwhelmed by the expectations of this life and its measures of worth, I look back. Far.

To a time when hospitality was giving water to a weary traveler or inviting the circuit riding preacher to Sunday dinner. When life and work were one in the same, blended together. When everyone worked with their hands, busy doing, busy surviving. When relationships were built over building barns. And I wish so much that we still did that. That we still built barns together.

Community is so vast now. So broad, far and forced that it isn’t community.

My town tries.

I see the same people at soccer, at school, at the store.

But not at church because there are so, so many. And I wish there was just one.

So many churches. Rarely a barn.

* * * * *

 . . . I feel so much like I don’t belong.

This is the thought that gets me out of bed tonight.

I reason with myself that that is as it should be.

Because I don’t.

This is a new filter. Old, well-known, but newly, deeply, accepted. A neighbor reminded me recently at a moment I was ready to hear it. She feels it, too.

This emptiness we feel . . . We were created for perfect. The world isn’t and is getting worse. We aren’t and will not be on this earth.

It’s okay. The emptiness is longing for heaven.

Every generation, from Adam, no matter what has kept them awake at night has felt the same ache.

We see through a glass, darkly. We long to see clear. 

They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:3-4