I should be asleep now. It’s 1 a.m. and I’m exhausted. I slept only about four hours last night. Wednesday was a long and exhausting day, made longer by my lack of sleep.
But I’m sitting in the silent darkness of my front yard, watching clouds move across the night sky, creating endless patterns above the dark tree branches above me. One moment the sky is clear and the full moon is bright. The next moment, the clouds mute the light and diffuse its brightness like a giant sheet in the sky.
This is my favorite time of day. There are no people around. No ringing phones. Nobody who needs something from me. Everything seems clear. Life makes more sense.
In this peaceful stillness, I am the closest I come to being joyful and happy these days. My feelings and thoughts turn to a future which seems just barely out of reach. And I always think of her.
I don’t know anymore who she is. I used to be so certain. I can’t decide whether it was better to have blind faith in someone who bitterly disappointed me or to have no one in particular in my heart to have faith in.
There was pain in wanting someone who turned out not to be what I believed she was. But there is emptiness — an oddly different pain of nothingness — in having a need and not knowing who might fill the need.
My visions of the future still seem clear, but it’s almost like a wonderful movie in which the co-star has been cut out. And without the woman in this role, my vision of the future no longer makes sense.
My heart needs to think about these things, but the rumination seems to be most useful to me during the still hours after midnight. When it’s daylight and the rest of the world bustles around me, I have trouble seeing things through spiritual eyes. Instead, I see the world through the lens of pragmatism that comes from a culture which has different beliefs than my own.
In this way, I’m the most peaceful and happy in these hours, especially on a winter night when the temperature has fallen to only 60 degrees. The things I want — family, creation, community, love — seem so close. So possible. Just barely out of my reach — but almost here.
Lucy lies next to me on the steps of the porch, panting as she watches the world in front of us and then as she raises her ears to listen to a train in the distance. It’s a peaceful sort of existence which millions and millions of other men and women have experienced over the centuries of our civilization. It’s an introspective alone time when everything seems possible — and a person can believe that tomorrow might be very different from today.
Life will never be perfect. My life around others will probably always leave me feeling like an alien who’s looking for “my people.” But in the stillness such as what I feel right now, I can believe that my people exist. I can believe my family will exist. I can believe there’s still love and meaning for me.
The daylight will bring new problems — and a list of old problems which haven’t yet been solved — but in this quiet stillness, I can believe the world makes sense. I can believe that I’ll be happy and loved and satisfied. I can believe in her.
And that’s why I need this beautiful, dark time of the day. It’s the only time when everything I need seems just around the corner — and that allows me to have blind faith in things which I can’t yet see.