My eyes popped open. I laid wide awake wondering what had disturbed my sleep. Pretty soon I heard the rapid succession of footsteps. At first I thought it was one of my boys making a middle of the night trip to the bathroom, but the footsteps seemed to continue for an inordinate length of time.
I rolled out of bed, carefully opened my bedroom door, and ventured out into the dark hallway. The footsteps were definitely louder. I strained to hear where they were coming from. Slowly, I made my way to stand right outside my sons’ rooms. The noises were definitely coming from the room of the youngest. As I listened, it sounded as if he was running back and forth across the room over and over.
My chest began to tighten a bit. What in the heck could he be doing? Did I dare to open his door? Visions from my viewing of The Exorcist when I was a teenager popped into my head. Okay, so maybe he wasn’t possessed, but could he be running wild circles in his sleep? I cracked the door just a tad. The sounds were even louder, but I could also now hear the even sounds of his breathing. He was sound asleep. I couldn’t decide if this made me feel better or worse…definitely worse. I took a step closer. Soon it became clear that the sounds were coming from above me. Believe me when I say at one point there was a scraping noise as if something was moving furniture up in my attic.
What to do? I crept back into my own doorway. My husband finally began to stir. One of the few blessings of his hearing loss is being able to sleep like the dead. The light from the hallway had made its way behind his eyelids. He sat up and stumbled towards me to join me in the hall. He couldn’t hear any of it, but I insisted there was apparently a LARGE creature in our attic. Frantic scratching sounds were now paired with the racing steps.
We discussed our options. Nothing could really be done. To open the entrance to the attic above our heads would be to invite sheer chaos upon us. So long as the boys could sleep through it, we just had to hope the creature (in reality most likely a squirrel) could find its way back out into the great beyond.
Resignedly, I crawled back in bed, praying the varmint wouldn’t come tumbling through the ceiling in its quest for freedom. My husband crawled in next to me and we became a tangle of arms and legs as we tried to relax and bid sleep to come once again. Our hearts continued to race for awhile, as did our minds. Finally, I could no longer hear any noises and rejoiced that our unexpected visitor must have located its escape route.
While laying there, I knew I had been given a story. An analogy of certain experiences in my life.
How often have you stood on the threshold of the unknown? The moment where you know something is going on, but you aren’t sure exactly what that is. You fear the unknown becoming known. Yet, simply remaining on the threshold would not be acceptable. Not knowing would be worse than whatever happens to lie on the other side.
Maybe you suspect your spouse is being unfaithful, or you have a feeling there is more to your child’s recent poor behavior than you realize, or you have health issues that the doctors can’t seem to figure out. You desperately want answers, but the answers could rock your world.
I have often found myself on the threshold the last couple of years. Between my dad’s battle with Parkinson’s that ended over a year ago and my husband’s diagnosis with leukemia, I have looked into a future filled with question marks.
Most days I don’t think about the what ifs. There are simply too many. And sometimes the scenarios we invent in our minds are far worse than the true outcomes, so I try not to go there. Some days I manage to delude myself into thinking that our circumstances are much more normal than they really are. I suppose that is my way of coping, which is probably okay so long as I don’t camp out in my land of make believe permanently.
Here is what I know to be 100% true. All of us will stand on the threshold of the unknown. Every. Single. One.
What will be different for each one of us is how we react to what we find on the other side.
Isaiah 66:13 says, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” Can you get a picture in your mind of that? A mother cradling her child, gently rocking back and forth. Soft words are spoken. The baby can hear her mama’s heartbeat and is soothed. That is precisely what God can do for us that no one else can.
I am grateful that throughout life’s storms I can curl up next to my husband for now, and rest in the assurance that regardless of the outcomes of circumstances this life throws at me I can find comfort in a power much greater than myself. My job is to open the door, and God can take care of the rest.