In her dimly lit room she rested in the wrinkled hospital bed that seemed to swallow her pale, thin frame. Her mood was somber as she considered the doctor's words giving her the treatment options to delay and dodge the inevitable prize that cancer had claimed. "We can continue," he offered when she stopped him.
"What's the use really? Who is that for?" She continued bravely, piercing the darkness before her, "I have my faith, and it is not the end that bothers me. It is the in-between that stinks."
Listening in while I waited to care for her, tears arrived, unwelcome, but not unfamiliar.
The In-Between does stink.
At Christmas, I think about the hundreds of years without a peep from God when the people waited for a Messiah, for relief, for hope. In our small group last night we talked about Egypt where the Hebrews were ruthlessly enslaved to control them, while they waited between the history of a man called Joseph and God's next thing.
The in-between are times of uncertainty. The fog rolls in thick, disorienting us to our path as the enemy snickers. The whimpering of loss is hard to ignore. Not that long ago, our path had been clear and even. The light was bright, and no fear intruded on the day. Now, we start one way and pause, second guessing ourselves. Sometimes even second guessing God. "Why?" we wonder, sometimes softly, other times screaming the word from the pit of our churning bellies.
We whisper prayers that God will come to us again, that we will not wander alone for too long. And, when we realize no one is coming right now, we pick ourselves up and begin again, setting the confusion and unknowing aside for a time.