A tear splashes unexpectedly onto the handmade paper journal page. I hate tears. They’re messy and snotty and vulnerable. For all that I like to write about the importance of vulnerability, I still live in this self-defeating tension against it. I want to be known, to be pursued and valued; I long for people around me who will remind me who I am when I forget and help pick me up when all I can do is crawl. But instead, I push people away, as though I were saving all of us the wasted effort on a girl who will always be a roller coaster without working restraints – unless you’ve got a death grip, the drops and abrupt hairpin turns will throw you out of the car.
It’s a horrible way to live, constantly denying your deepest-felt needs because you don’t deserve to have them and probably wouldn’t get them met anyway. Better to avoid the disappointment of finding no one can understand or help you than to break your heart open in front of someone who is only able to patronize.
And God? Well, if He wanted to help me then He wouldn’t have allowed me to hope and dream only to squash what I thought was from Him and then seemingly drop off the face of the earth. Amazing how you can grow so much yet it only takes one situation to show you how shallow your faith really was.
It’s comfortable here, in a very uncomfortable sort of way. It’s familiar, and the darkness has a way of slowly embracing you so you hardly know it’s coming until you wake up suffocating in its deathly grip. It’s paralyzing, so you feel incapable of reaching out, until eventually you lose much of the desire to do so.
Instead, I’ve just been angry. Angry at myself and my shortcomings and failures, angry at God for leaving me in this mess, and angry at people who have done little to deserve the externalization of my fear.
What am I afraid of?
I’m afraid I really can’t change and will always fall back into old patterns.
I’m afraid God doesn’t keep His word, doesn’t come through, will abandon me in my moment of greatest need.
I’m afraid people don’t love me for who I am, but because they feel sorry for me. That I can never be understood, that I’m “too different.”
I’m afraid of giving my life to something I can’t fully understand, that the unknowns will destroy me.
I’m afraid that I was made defective – and that the further damage I’ve caused my mind can’t be reversed.
So where do I go from here?
The fear wants to tell you that there’s nothing left, that you’ve exhausted all options, that you’ve come to the end of the rope and the only thing left is to despair at your hopelessness and abandonment. I want to believe there’s a different story. From somewhere in the depths of my memory it beckons, begging for a moment of my time. But I can’t quite reach it. The other voices are loud.
How do you reclaim a story you’ve lost? How do you call back the hope and the dreams and the thought that maybe, somehow, things will actually turn out alright? I’ve learned that they can slip from your grasp in an instant if you don’t hold tight and fight to keep them. The “seemingness” of circumstances fools you into loosening your grip on what no longer appears to be reality.
Help me, God.
Help me speak what wants to remain unspoken.
Help me unleash the questions, angry and honest, that burn up the lining of my heart.
Help me push against the tension and ask for the “withness” of others that I crave but don’t want to need.
Help me remember.