It’s winding close to 4AM and I won’t sleep, maybe not at all tonight because there’s something about the stillness of a tender night that is soothing. Not long ago I couldn’t handle the terrors of the silent hours, so I drank to ensure they would never come. Three years ago I took my last drink. I can’t say I don’t get thirsty from time to time, but I can’t say I miss alcohol much even though there was a time when I loved a good beer, or bourbon, or wine – probably more than I loved anything. It was a costly love, and I’m not sure I can ever pay back the debts I racked up in the days and nights when my abuse of alcohol was beyond anyone’s control – especially my own. I got help and learned not to be afraid of the silence or to be alone with myself and with God.
There’s a hymn we sing at church that says, … all thy wastes I will repair; thou shalt be built anew; and in thee it shall appear what the God of love can do. (from Pensive, Doubting, Fearful Heart). It’s hard to hold the tears back when we sing it, and sometimes I don’t. But, in those tears I have learned how to find hope, or learned how hope found me. Perhaps I am being too personal in sharing this stuff. Nonetheless, I can’t but testify to the grace of God in Christ that comes to me in weakness. I can’t but help the gratitude for the gratuity of God that does not let us poor sinners go. I don’t think we can ever escape the injuries of time, of misspent time. If I could take all the wasted hours and give them back to God and to those who I hurt in those days I most certainly would. But clocks don’t wind backward. As the lonely hours lengthen well into the night my heart rejoices in God’s goodness.
For those who are reading this that battle mental illness or substance abuse issues or both, reach out for help. There are no depths that the merciful hand of God cannot reach.