My online writing group has been touching on memoir this week. I loved it the first time, but was very hesitant. I liked the story I told, but made sure to stick with something relatively safe and benign. There’s so much darkness that I’ve come through – I didn’t want that piece to be about that. I had been reading Mary Demuth's piece over at (in)courage and was tying to take the risk that "scared is the new brave." So oddly, or not so oddly, dark is where this one went. But it doesn’t stay in the dark. Oh no. Because of Jesus, it does not stay in the dark.
This week: Small
I stood in the back of the room – heart in my throat as he walked to the front. He. My fear. My hate. My self-loathing. My desolation. Chair by chair, in the quiet, hushed light; he walked forward until he stood side by side with the one who led us all. The one who was called. The one we were supposed to trust. The trusted one laid hands on him; spoke words that I knew were not true; spoke words I knew were designed for one thing and one thing only: devastation.
A hard cold descended over me – icy tentacles twinning down the back of my neck to curl with mocking desperation over the edges of my cheeks and under the edge of my sweatshirt onto my collarbone. Twinges of doubt and disbelief.
They will never believe.
I could feel his eyes from the front of the room. Daring me to speak. Daring me to contradict him. Daring me to contradict the story they were weaving. Daring me to tell the truth.
They will never believe you.
In that moment, there was nothing else to do.
Forgetting the knobs and switches that were supposed to be under my knowing hand.
Forgetting the accountability I’d worked so hard to establish.
I fled into the night –
The bright lights of the supermarket across the street shone fiercely against the blue-black sky. I burst into the doors and headed … where?
And then I was in between.
Aisles of tile and glass and cold.
Diminished, I sank to the floor and thought about breathing.
I was vanishing. In a moment, there would be nothing left of me.
Just a passing smudge on against the frosted pane – evaporating into nothingness.
And then it came.
Like a small trickle at first,
Then tumbling like water in a tap newly opened.
My short lifetime of memorization.
From Sunday School to Awana to Small Group.
Spilling over into the cold, diminished places and breathing for me.
Breathing into me.
Reminding me that my trust did not lie in men, but above.
That He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.
That I should never lose heart because I would see His goodness now.
Now, in the land of the living.
That neither life nor death nor any thing
Would separate me from the God who loved me
And gave Himself for me.
Before long, the tile wasn’t cold anymore.
I was able to climb to my feet.
And walk out into the night.
Never forget that one of the greatest tools we have – one of the greatest gifts we have been given – is the Word of God. Sharper than any two-edged sword. It is given to teach, to empower, and to save. When we commit it to our hearts and our minds, it can never be taken from us. Ever.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11 KJV
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