Today, I share a post about life: unmasked, a blog meme started by my sensational friend, Joy.
For the past month, my blog has not been my own. I was honored and amazed to host At the Lord's Table, a series of guest posts from a host of diverse Christians all sharing in their experiences, their aches, their joys in the beautiful but mangled Body we call the Church. Except for a slightly controversial Deeper Story post and a letter or two to Hilary, I have not written a word in this space for what feels like years. Tonight, when I sat down to put into ether all the things that have swirled in my head and heart while I was away, I found the words had calcified. Too much has happened, too much of me has gone on in silence, that I'm not sure how to simply throw myself back into the vulnerability of this space or, in particular, the prosody of rhythmed hope and grace.
What do I say of the journey back? Do I tell you about the days where I felt that it had all fallen apart? Do I tell you about how getting into St. Andrews only confirmed my fear that the feeling of emptiness, of potential worthlessness, was not and had not been contingent on material blessing, but was a deep and weighted kind of aching, a space that needed refinement and pulling and growing?
Do I write of taco runs or hugging Rachel Held Evans? Do I write of taking the plunge and selling art to try and pay for this ridiculous journey to graduate school? (Shameless plug.) Do I tell of how hard it has been for me to love others, to want to love them, to live in the pattern of grace I had thought was such nature to my being?
Do I speak of the evil day, when I knew myself for the depravity within me and gaped in fear at myself?
All this feels like detail to a painting that doesn't have a form yet. How do I brush out the final touches when the base doesn't even have its coat? What is it that I want more than anything to let you know about the past month? What is it I have to say that should make you want to come back, sit here, and stick around for a time?
I'm no longer sure.
The other night I sat on my bed with my best friend and prayed aloud to our God that I was not very inclined to call Him as Father that night. I was confronting the darkness of myself, I am confronting it, and the tiresome process of being faithful in spite of feeling had creeped in slow and cold. But I prayed. I prayed for all the things that should be prayed for, because the praying needed doing, the clock needed winding, the assurance of things hoped for but unseen needed pronouncing. By the end, He was Father again.
What I want you to know about the journey back to this space has been one littered with the confrontation of my own failing and fumbling and falling. It has been the irrational season, the time when the wound of my being is laid raw. I have many doubts about myself right now, I have many fears.
I could list them. I nearly did. But I want to hold back on that and say simply that they are your fears. The list you have in your head, the tape you play on a loop about how much you are not or how little you have to offer, these are the fears I have, these are the doubts I share.
The journey back has not made me feel more wise or capable, but has stripped me raw. I have faced my weakness so as to depend on His strength. I have felt my affliction so as to taste His.
But I have not always wanted to feel it. Today, joy was a struggle, faithfulness a fight.
But I am here. I have returned to you. Raw, cracked earthenware of self placed before you. It's good to be back. It's good to be surrounded by you all again. You, the great cloud of watchers, near and far, in and across time.
After all, the journey back is the journey Home.
It is my joy, with Joy, to share here words that expose life honestly, openly, and messily. Some days my posts for this meme are about this chaos of being, other days I manage a bit more gentle words.Would you join us in sharing the vulnerable times, the unordered times, the unkempt rooms?