It's hot in here. Hotter than a sauna, sweltering, suffocating. There must be some other way.
Choked with grief over people I’ve lost that look a bit like me and people I’ve never had to begin with, I crave cold water. I can almost taste the refreshing relief of being noticed, accepted, pursued, wooed, really really loved.
Who will do it? Who will love me limitlessly, always be there for me, never let me be lonely? Who will hold me when I need to be held? Who will hold hands and take long walks with me? Who will really, really love me?
Who's going to stand in this bloody fire with me?
Though I'm not being burned, I don't like it here. It's hot. It hurts.
The spark to this fire might have been a little prayer tucked away in my heart a long time ago. I might have asked to be useful, to have more purpose. I might have said, "Use me, Lord." And I might have said it off and on for several years as I waded the mostly calm currents of homeschooling inside our family-size bubble. "Use me for more," said I, not knowing what I was asking.
Yeah, that spark was in me, but it was no robust mustard seed. It was just a glint, easily gone in a blink. I asked, hoping He was listening, but not really sure.
That's it. He must be right here fanning my little spark of faith into a roaring forest fire.
I need to jump into a lake. But freshwater does not refine. Fire does.
There's a person whom I love. She is precious to me. She came in and out of my life like an angel would. The beauty of her face makes my heart dance. She is strong, kind, and so very wise. She steps into my heart, fills it up, then moves on to her next unassuming person.
She will leave me though I wanted her to stand in the fire with me, to get me through. I wanted her to be the one to love me as I am, take long walks with me and never let me be lonely. I wanted her to hold me. I just wanted her to be around all the time, every minute. I wanted her all to myself.
I love her deeper than her heart will ever fill for me. I am attached to her. My arms wrap around her tight and eternal. I can't let go. Her smile is a spray of sparkling light beams that burst through your eyes into your soul. It's warm, wide and bright, like a sunset. It draws you close. It enfolds your soul with bear-like arms and a tingle.
It is a joy and pain to see her. Because I know like any sunset, she'll slowly go away from me. She'll vanish gently and gracefully, but as time passes, I'll see less and less of her. There'll be times I'll wonder if an abrupt departure would have been more bearable.
There will be other times the loneliness will cover me with a dark suffocating gassy dense fog, and I'll despair of getting through and decide I've seen my last sunset.
Love’s not pretty, and it doesn’t always feel good. It isn’t always the warming heat of the fire but its burning sting that makes you cry out in pain and the smoldering smoke that makes you grope for air.
I didn’t know any of this before now, before I let myself love someone, let her fill up my heart and let her love me. I’d not done that before. I had loved them from a distance, and it was fine.
What I thought was love was fear. I was afraid of life without her. I was scared of being perpetually sad, but she just wouldn’t let me love her superficially. She made me love her recklessly, when I’d always been so careful.
All the beauty of the world and its creatures is rooted and fashioned in reckless love. Everything else is darkness, confusion, and hate and is rooted in fear.
It is fear that is drawing the thick red line of division thrashing the page of our nation’s history book. I believe the anger, hate and grief experienced by the people that are unhappy with the election’s outcome is because of fear. And under reversed circumstances, that same fear drew a similar line eight years ago. Fear is powerful.
When I finally give love a chance, my worst fear rises up and burns a hole right through me.
Why was she given to me only for her to be taken away? This is exactly what I was afraid would happen.
My heart was trapped in a Brazilian nutshell and has been getting a violent nutcracking. There was no other way for me except the hard way. Breaking through hard heart walls is bound to cause some hurt. You begin to question the point. It hurts too much. Not worth it, I said dozens of times. Begging George and my friends to let me turn off the lights and surrender to the couch with my cozy gray and white blanket, I have made up my mind. I'm done with everyone and everything.
But then someone who doesn't have a Brazilian nut for a heart shows up and sits by me. We just talk. And we stay silent. For one night, one slow hour in a night, I can remember that love is showing up in someone else's darkness and feeling it too. Then even in the dark, I'm not alone. That faith spark reignites, and for one hour it's worth it.
Because when you've been grieving in the dark long enough, and you've got a cross on the wall reminding you of the strangest, most wretched, most piercing grief, your eyes begin to look up. And through the wild flames, your faith is kindled, and you can see Jesus dropping down low from heaven and even lower into hell to be with you.
I could swear His tears are mingling with mine, and together all these tears of ours are going to put out this fire that He's standing in with me.
That’s what a fire does. It purifies, slowly burning out the fear till love glistens and fills up that jagged hole in your heart.
It's true. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear... I John 4:18
As for my disappearing friend, I'll be letting her go.
So I can go. Go do things I've never done, go to places I've never been, go shake a stranger's hand, go pour into someone and fill up their heart.
Like she did mine.
Fire makes a heart keep the joy amid the pain and kills fear so you can let go of your own Isaac, like Abraham did and like I'll do. When we can do that, we can be free to love others more. Then love's fire won't be trapped in the fire pit, but will spread wildly all over everyone and everything.
That's worth it.
As for who she is? Not yet.. you'll have to wait and see. (Wink, wink)