The worst thing about waking up from a coma, I think, would be finding out how much you missed. There’d be this block of time – days, weeks, months – that didn’t exist, like pages torn out of a book, and as thoroughly as people describe what you missed, it’d be a poor substitute for the pages themselves.
To me, it feels like 2012 didn’t happen, and 2013 only exists in glimpses. I have memories, but they’re like dates in a dry history book, flat and irrelevant. I’ve been in my new house for more than a year, and only today as I drove home from the grocery store did I really feel that this was my neighborhood, this is where I live, now. I’ve picked up new hobbies, I’ve adopted a cat, I’ve met people and traveled, and it has felt less real than a fairy tale, because a good story engages your heart and mind and soul and body, and one of those has been out of commission.
A few weeks back, God told me something. I was crying, for my grandparents who I’d lost, and for the time I’d missed because I’d been numb, deaf and blind to God’s presence – everyone’s presence, but especially his. He gave me the image of a coma patient and a friend sitting at the bedside. Sometimes coma patients can hear what’s being said to them, but not always, and the point of the image was that whether or not I could feel God’s presence, he was beside me. That it was, in fact, more significant if I couldn’t feel him. Because in my practical mind, there’s no point to staying beside a person who can’t tell if you’re there or not. It doesn’t do them any good. Right then, I realized that it doesn’t do them any good until they wake up and find out that you never left.
That you didn’t care whether they got anything out of it, just so long as they weren’t alone.
A long time ago, I heard someone say that you don’t have to feel saved in order to be saved. Which is to say, as helpful and important as emotions can be, they are not some kind of litmus test. They are evidence, but they are not proof. If you don’t feel loved, that doesn’t mean you’re unloved. If you don’t feel righteous, that doesn’t mean you’re unrighteous. If you feel wretched, it doesn’t mean you’re a wretch. Feelings matter, emotions matter, and being in a dark place is not to be taken lightly. When you’re in a dark place, those who love you need to know it, and if you feel unloved, they need to know that too. But feelings are not the truth. They do not alter reality. If you can’t see, it might not be because the light’s gone out.
And I’m not afraid to sleep, because asleep or awake, I won’t be alone.