I was running. Running down a non-descript street. The pain was searing in my chest with each breath that I gasped. If only. If only, if only, if only, if only, I stated over and over to myself as I ran until I could run no more, wishing that I had some tangible reason to be hurting this much. Willing there to be some great tragedy in my life to legitimise all of this pain.
But there was nothing. Nothing but this emptiness, this lifelessness that consumed me. The utter desolation of my soul pierced the light around me with great shafts of darkness. They began, slowly at first, and then with growing force to devour the day about me until I was lost in the night. In some ways the darkness was more comforting for I was no longer the lifeless, miserable, self-loathing person whose parasite-like being seemed to burn up any ounce of others' happiness in her wake. I was at home in this numb and sightless place where I could linger in my own stinging shame.
And do you know what the worst part about all of this was? I'll tell you. The worst part was that there was nothing, no reason, why I should be this way. No great dysfunction, no great tragedy, no great remorse should be plaguing me. And yet it was. Why was this pain here, then? Why this regret? Why did this shame and darkness fill my very being? I felt deaf to the voices around me, numb to what I touched. Any kind of interaction, a nod or a 'hello', took all my strength and focus. I felt drained simply by brushing my teeth in the morning.
And that is why I had started running. I didn't care where, as long as it took me away from the familiar rooms and corridors. That is why I was standing on this corner looking absently across the street, my sight blinded and my limbs paralysed by the growing darkness. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Self-loathing filled me to the brim. Why can't you manage to get a grip on yourself and stop being so internally focused for just one minute of the day??, I screamed at myself. The expression on my face remained emotionless as the nothingness and pointlessness of existence suddenly swept over me. I laughed dryly in response. Perhaps I had finally come to the end. And this was all there was. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just nothing. Winter had crept into my soul and seemed to be there to stay.
Who was that man staring at me from across the street? His eyes seemed to be piercing through my very being even from that distance. I could not look away. It was not that he was extremely beautiful, but his eyes were the most exquisite things I had ever beheld. I realised I was trembling all over....He was walking towards me....He was standing in front of me.
'Hello', He said. His voice unleashed the torrent inside and around me. I doubled over and my arms wrapped around my stomach, clutching at the void that was threatening to consume me. Oh. Oh this pain. The emptiness, the nothingness, that for the last age I had been trying to forget and keep unnamed and unrecognised in the quiet corner of my heart now burst forth and began to drown me. My silent screams filled the air.
Just as I was sinking into the agony of unconscious grief, something warm and strong grasped my arm, invading my winter. I slowly regained consciousness and realised I was sitting in the middle of a field. He was across from me. And He was smilling. Who was this man?
'It was good I found you when I did. You were remarkably hard to find, you know.'
Was that a smile in His eyes? My incredulousness must have been obvious to Him as His face fell backwards and He laughed out loud. The sound of His laughter penetrated me. I was powerless...and yet somehow I had never felt this full in my life before. The sun was blinding me, and yet I could see so clearly now. the wind's freshness was warming my frozen body and cooling my heated eyes.
The beauty of it, in comparison to the utter desolation of my own self, shook me to the core of my being.
He stopped laughing. His eyes retained all of their warmth, though, as He said, slowly taking His time, 'It's safe to hope again. It will not come crashing down.' His face was full of an unknown pain now, and then reassurance, as He continued, 'You will heal, you know. I have found you. Your quiet masks and defenceless walls are no good against me. You may be sure that I will never let you go.
If only. If only I was good enough to deserve this. I want my eyes to be deep and warm. I want to be loving, patient, gentle, and kind. But I feel the opposite. Why? If only I didn't have to shrink from this light. If only this could be true. My eyes and heart burned with the desire to believe so.
He sat there with the Treasure of the Worlds in His hands, willing me to lay hold of it. He wants to give this to me, when I can give Him nothing - the nothingness - in return. Not only will He give me thse riches, but He offers to me Himself. A Person who knows me, a Person to whom I need not explain myself. And He has promised, promised not to leave me. Forever.
'I have given you a morning. And it's new....Will you ever know how much I love you?'
The soft notes of the piano begin to play again as the rising sun is in my face.
It's called grace. And it leaves me thunderstruck as I stretch out my hand.
The song of the morning.
'Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.'
(1 Peter 1:3-9)
'My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death assail me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, 'Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest -
I would flee fare away and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
Far from the tempest and the storm.'
....But I call to you God,
and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning, and noon
I cry out in distress
And He hears my voice
He ransoms me unharmed
From the battle waged against me,
Even though many oppose me....
....Cast your cares on the Lord
and He will sustain you;
He will never let the righteous fall.'