Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Love Story

I have been in love since I was 6 years old.

I have run from it. I have fled on feet filled with fear. I have turned away. I have pushed hard against it. I have shoved and bloodied my love. I have denied it out of anger.

But it never abandoned me. Never.

It has clung to me from the first moment I opened my heart. Sitting on a cold wooden pew in my nightgown, looking into the marble face that would surround my heart. I needed to believe in so much more than what my world was showing me. I needed the church I was in to echo with the tide of belief, and surround me with it's presence.

I needed Christ.

I sat that day dejected. In bare feet. I went to the church because it's the only place I knew to go. The Cathedral, with it's vaulted ceilings, statues of saints, candles burning low in dark red glass- it was familiar. It was safe. The hymnals, the battered kneelers were familiar.

I ran my hand over the wood in front of me, smoothing it. I watched the blood that was on my skin go back and forth, back and forth. I licked my lips and tasted blood. And I looked up. I looked up into stone and I cried.

"Please make mama better. Please."

It was all I knew to say. The only prayer I had ever prayed. One that came from the deepest part of my soul.

I was alone in that church. But suddenly, not alone. I felt Him. Like water to desert. I cried harder, and my tears washed the blood from my lips and my hands.

I sat. I cried. But the stone had become flesh. The wood had become warm. I didn't need to stop crying and be strong. And I didn't need to see Him to see. I knew He was real. And I loved Him, because I wasn't alone.

I walked home from the church to find the door unbolted. I walked home from the church different.

I knew there was more. More than what could be seen. And I knew I was loved. More than I could ever, ever imagine.

She didn't get better. There was pain and sadness. But in it all, my steps were dogged by a God I couldn't deny. He followed me like shadow- into the dark places nobody else was willing to even see.

He loved the unloved and the unwanted. Even when I denied Him, turned my back. When I howled in anger, railed at Him. When I screamed my pain and hatred at Him, he stood His ground.

He was not intimidated by my anger. He didn't run from any of the sickness.

And He didn't leave me alone.


That is love. Not a love anybody on this earth can give you. Not a love that can be understood or explained in pretty words. My life with Christ can be summed up in one sentence:

He loves me, and I love Him.

Not because of who I am, or because of what I have done. Not because my heart called to Him. Not because of obligation.

He loves me because I gave myself to Him fully. The good and the bad. All of myself is His.

And isn';t this what He is asking for? He doesn't ask for perfection. He doesn't ask for anything other than communion. A conversation. Listening and being listened to. To be included in my day to day life. To be the first I run to in joy and sadness. To be so ingrained into my world that he becomes my world.

Many people say that you must do good works to be a Christian. That you must be a good person. Have no evil thoughts. Have no hidden corners.

But in my experience, the opposite is true. I came to him in darkness. I have lived in bad decisions. I have turned away from Him. I have been prideful, ugly, nasty, and wrong. I have been a liar.

But I came back to Him. And He welcomed me and loved me as if I had never left. And a few years ago, I came back to stay. With all of my rough edges, and all of my flaws. I came back and I begged Him to take my life and make it His. I didn't ask to be changed. I asked to be accepted.

And in all of that, I found myself wanting to be different. Doors opened in my soul. I walked out on faith, and learned to love. To be vulnerable. I learned that love and hurt go hand and hand, and can be conquered with faith.

Like that small little girl looking into the stone face of God, I gave myself over to something I could not see. I stretched my hand to the invisible world.

And my hand was taken. And has been held since.

This is the love story I live each day. One that led to all of the other loves in my life.

It all began with the wood, the stone, the blood and the tears. It was born by pain, and grew into joy.

Love never fails.