….There came a slow closing to my heart
with every prick of the lie;
each disappointment made up another story
as did the ugly stuff of life,
stories about the One who’d held me tender in the trees,
lies about his heart
that in time I started to believe
like the way a rumor slowly poisons
until you no longer see the same,
dark rumors about the price of deserving,
too high for a girl like me to pay.
A heaviness set in where I’d once known carefree light,
as if I’d sprouted something shameful,
something hard on holy eyes.
And as my limbs grew awkward and my body shot up tall,
had I become too much of something? Too big to hold?
Outgrown it all?
There came to my soft places an edge of silent grief
where I’d once felt gently known,
seen generous by loving eyes so understanding and bright
that every drop of knowing was a kindness,
a sunbath of warmth over the very whole of me.
God, what had I done to lose it?
I was a once-loved girl gone homesick,
feeling lost and left behind
and I began to pick up speed, running away reckless from the missing,
too mad to slow down and get quiet,
too lonely to stop and feel,
the lie whispered to me in that way that it does
“you are particularly alone.”
And so I closed my arms tight over my heart,
jaw hard and breath held short and quick like the runaway I became,
shutting out the One who’d brushed over my spirit and senses
like whisps of orange blossom and firelight and lightning over the sea,
with the tenderness and strength of a mother’s devotion
until my fear had melted like wax,
and now had the wax gone hard.
But somewhere down in my belly
there rumbled low like a bell on a breeze
“Come awake, to all that is sleeping,
come awake, to all that is true,
in the lonesome of your heart
wake to the welcome, the arms still open for you.
“The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gift you gave
To the dark and endless skies, my love,
To the dark and endless skies.”
– Roberta Flack