And so I got a taste of something so good that my hunger gnawed away at any satisfaction
i may have found in other things.
Such a sweet-tooth for this God-thing that I chased intense experiences,
and when they didn’t fill me up,
I went looking to the experts to see what they knew,
the ones whose faces seemed flush with this light
– wanted to scoot up close to those who seemed to carry his faraway scent
and when I found a cluster of people whose believing seemed to give them joy,
I leaned into the process, drawn in and open.
I did Christianity as I saw it,
did it so hard that I blew out my be –
wanting so bad to fit in that I followed along fearful,
determined to please God big so I wouldn’t be left out again.
Made myself so useful that I’d surely be noticed and not lose again
that something that I’d felt wash over me warm like a living breeze.
I did God the only way I knew – I do for you and you don’t leave me.
But, damn my whoopsy-daisy ways, I could never walk that line tight enough
or check enough boxes off neat or merit the joy that seemed reserved for the naturals.
The best I could manage was the little self-righteous rush that came with a longer than usual
run of good behavior. Or with my spastic dance with good intentions.
My heart hungered for God but I got lost in the hard trying.
Religion can be a smoky haze that way,
how it chokes and bends the music of Love
until you get to thinking that you’re the one
who keeps your whole world spinning –
that you earn this grace
by what you do or give.
It was failure and frustration and an almost frantic striving
and all my hard trying couldn’t pull off a shred of peace
until I dropped down tired from all the don’ts and driven doing
and went palms up and sweet surrender and could you love a girl like me?
And then You flickered on my frozen world like a dancing flame,
a strong shot of light that warmed the cold steel of my pain
until my breath turned to embers and this heart beat strong again
singing love and laughter and longing for me
into my honest mess you came.
Not to punish
or to toy with like some cat and mouse game
but to include,
to welcome real and safe and sane.
You broke the back of try harder
and busted the lie that we’re alone,
offered my heart the friendship that I thought I had to earn.
You didn’t want performance, didn’t have a line to tow,
just wrapped me in your muchness and gave me rest I’d never known.
And now when my world quakes,
when love goes missing or un-returned
or leaves behind a stiff body that once thumped warm affection,
and my strong legs get pulled out from beneath me
and I quiver in storm,
you’re my harbor,
All of my air is because of this.
I think back to those long ago starry nights and the love that bathed me in those branches
and I know now that it was you.
It was always you.
You wanted me first
the way you want us all
with a reckless affection that smashes religion’s bony finger
and draws us tender into your fierce and healing kindness,
lets us breathe safe again
in the being fully known.
To the One whose knowing is only always love.
“I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup
than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.”
– Brennan Manning
This is the third post in a short series I’ve been doing,
a little love story.
I didn’t mean to be gone so long between.
Rogue waves. Sputtering. Catching my breath.
Thanks for coming along for the ride
and a beautiful new year to you and yours.
With love. Just so, so much:)