Monday, July 29, 2013

The Break

 
 
I looked at its leather-bound cover.
 
It had mocked me for months. No, years, I'm thinking. 
 
Turning my joy to ashes.

What had I done to make this relationship fail?

I tried so hard. Diligently, disciplined, daily.

It all fell on a stone-cold heart. A heart that knew all the words. A heart that had hidden the words within. A heart that was told it was deceitful and desperately wicked but that a Redeemer dwelt within. Which one was true for they could not both be?
 
I could no longer understand. 
 
"Take not thy Holy Spirit from me!" I cried in anguish.
 
There was only silence. Presence, but quiet. No life in the words. They were just words. Maybe they forever would be. I kept trying to pump life into it; pray and will the muse back into this stale, dry home of dust mites.
 
No longer could I abide the dishonesty; the hypocrisy. The claim that it was alive and speaking to me. Just a book.
 
"I'm sorry, God," I whispered. "I'm so sorry."
 
"I still love You and I will still talk to you but I cannot draw any more life from this well."
 
And God understood; did not condemn.
 
So all was silent for a time. The oppressive private quiet times abandoned. 
 
I was repulsed by the wine-colored leather and the thought of the soul-crushing footnotes within, telling me how I should read the story.
 
It was a good break. A clean break. A guilt-free hiatus, for it was either this or Him to fare-thee-well. I was that close.
 
I don't think He was hurt, because He is patient. He waited with me, sat with me in the awful silence, so that I would not feel abandoned.
 
No push. No rush. And never alone or without hope. The stillness was almost sweet.
 
 And I could still pray. That is a priceless and ever accessible kind of gift.
 
My fear had been that a break with the holy book would be a break from the Source. But my prayer was answered, and Holy Spirit was ever present.
 
And quietly, over time, memories drifted in- the voice of the one who bore me, reciting old words from worn pages, between sips of her Red Rose tea. 
 
Memories of construction paper with the careful, steady-handed calligraphy of my mother, posted up on the walls of the simple home of my childhood. 
 
The best artists are often undiscovered;
Words and pictures woven into daily life.
Yet it is that very life of sacrifice
That pulls them away from their craft.
And though most of the world lies untouched,
They will be cherished by a few
Who can and will never forget
The beauty impressed into their hearts.
 
A visit to my folks, and the voice of my loved ones reading the words of the poet shepherd king; my dad praying aloud through the insights he had gleaned.
 
Sitting in every evening as my husband brought the best of bible stories to the children just before their restless battle with slumber. 
 
It seems to me
Always to be,
The faithful draw us back
Not through strong arguments
Or harsh words.
But only through loving example.
Often, words speak not at all
While actions speak loud, ringing true
Where the heart can be touched.

And finally, one day, I knew it was time. 
 
I went searching those familiar red letters first. 
 
Always the kindest to a troubled soul; always the dearest to my heart. 
 
 And the scales were on my eyes no longer. 
 
As they fell away, the spring began to flow again. 
 
Was it my tears or His water of life? 
 
I saw with new eyes and praise was on my tongue.
,
I had taken the leap of doubt, and in so doing, discovered that grace is a huge, huge net.

No regrets.

8 comments:

  1. This really puts words to my own struggle. I never thought I would have a feeling of hatred and fear towards the Bible but I'm knowing God's kindness to me while my heart is too sore to read. I'm grateful you wrote this. x

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  2. It's good to know we are not alone. God bless you through your own journey in this. :)

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  3. Beautifully said, Jamie. So heart-wrenching but yet full of hope! So many times we are afraid to face our doubts because we think we will have to give up all we thought was true, but God is so much bigger than our doubts. I remember reading something George MacDonald said about how we should face our doubts and through them we will be brought closer to God and come out stronger because of them for they force us to search. I don't remember his exact words but it was something to that effect. I know this was hard to write, but I also am sure that God will use it to help more of His children. I love you! Keep writing!

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  4. There are some circles that treat doubt like the plague; who think we shouldn't ever question anything. So it's extra good to have reassurances from brilliant writers of old that it is a normal and sometimes necessary part of the walk. I'm glad you shared that. Let me know if you find the quote. :)

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  5. Well said. Instead of spilling my guts all over your comment window, I'll just say I can relate. I think this experience is more and more common to people our age. I'm glad you're feeling connected again!

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  6. Thanks, Brenda. If you want to spill your guts still but don't feel comfy here, I'm happy to listen over email. :)
    I don't feel for a second like I have "arrived" even though my story sounds resolved. I consider this a season of rest; an oasis on the journey, one of those chapters in the middle of a book that doesn't leave you hanging but the story isn't over. I know myself well enough to know my struggles may come back around. That's one reason, I think, why it's so important for us to write it out.

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  7. Beautiful and honest, Jamie. "Was it my tears or His water of life?"- I can so relate to this question.

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  8. Thank you, Natalie. It took me a long time to be that honest with myself. And even longer to write about it.
    I'm glad you can relate to the question; it's so reassuring to hear the "me, too" echo of shared experiences.

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