The drought was the very worst….
I had heard some things that alarmed me, but I guess I counted them as flukes. Privilege lets you do that, I’ve learned. When I found them more frequent, impossible to ignore, I traveled to Oz and I asked for the Wizard. I received a pat on the head, a gentle slap on the wrist. I was told to run along, leave the big thinking to the big people. Nothing sat right after that.
It was months and months of back and forth…
I knew we needed to leave, but it was so hard. So many good people, so much love. Sometimes good fruit can still happen around questionable cores- such is one of the mysteries of the body of Christ, I suppose.
You’re still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can’t wear anymore.
We were told in earnest that we wouldn’t be able to move forward; who would love us any better? Turns out plenty of people would, but their love hurt in the way that salve applied to wide open wounds can still hurt. The sting of former words spoken “in truth and in love” made me flinch with each attempt to help us heal. They created a ball of heat and sickness in my stomach every time someone was kind to us or anyone else- was this real, and freely given? If that’s possible, then why was it ever withheld? HOW could it be withheld?
Hung my head as I lost the war…
I sat at a table in a cold room across from a cold person. I was told my baby was broken, but fixable of course (praise be!) and that the message was being sent on behalf of all of Oz. I heard the kind man who had cried with me in the next room over, rustling some papers. He had no idea what was being said, I remembered in that moment that she didn’t speak for everyone, and yet…there I sat. My hurt was met with disbelief and an insistence that there was no good reason for me to leave. I needed to stay put in the mud, created by other humans as flawed as myself, and call it Holy ground. Except Jesus was in the business of shaking the dust off your heels. He was in the business of washing feet.
The rain came pouring down…
We left a place and people we loved. We left our home, well-stocked with good friends and sweet kiddos, held up by a good pastor and good people who had no choice but to answer to those who didn’t know us but wouldn’t accept us. They would have risked everything for us; we knew that. We didn’t want them to have to…it was a time bomb. So we walked away; once wild eyed and sobbing, and the next time quietly with smiles plastered on.
When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe.
It’s often called The Wilderness out here, so far from Oz. I don’t really know what to call it. I know it was one of the most painful, eye-opening, liberating things I’ve ever gone through. It was death and it was birth. It changed the way I see the body, the way I see myself and the way I see all others; turns out we are all broken but fixable. Of course. Praise be.
It changed the way I saw Christ, too, in that he was all the more available, all the more present. The Wilderness, the woods, whatever you call it… it can feel lonely, but you’re never really alone.
Ten months sober, I must admit…just because you’re clean don’t mean you don’t miss it.
I do. I lost an enormous part of my identity when we left. I worried over friendships, I was abandoned in the realest sense by mentors. Life would have been simpler if we’d stayed. Simple and right are not one in the same.
Ten months older, I won’t give in. Now that I’m clean I’m never gonna risk it.
I think I’m finally clean.