Redemption.

I know I haven’t written in a couple weeks. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. I made this blog to write about things that I needed to write about, not to force myself to think of something clever every Sunday night. This is real stuff about which I have so many thoughts floating around I have to write. So I might as well post it.
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.    Laying wide-eyed next to you, pale and bare, wondering at how different our lives are. You grew up like that; like Christians are supposed to. I didn’t. And the way I grew up… sticking needles through my body and reading in dark, dusty bookstores and loving black. You didn’t. You were safe like I should have been. I didn’t let myself be. I fought light every day of my life. In some ways I still do.

.     We met painting flowers on the sidewalk so many summers ago. Laughing like kids and talking nonsense. We’ve always painted together since then. Bantered theology while I washed dishes and you dried them. And I’d smile at your goofy faces while you cheered me up after hard days. Now I stare at your silhouette, highlighted by the dim light peeking through the window beyond our cold, naked legs.
.     These sheets are grey. I always thought of you wrapped in sunshine; glowing white sheets and a bright, open room with blue walls and wood floors and your big, strong, chest stretched out beside me. And something in me knows that this is life; that the sheets aren’t white, that we have to whisper, and that I have to drive back home in the morning. That this is how it is.
 .    I lean over to your ear and kiss your temple. “Welcome to college.” I think, and almost whisper. I pull away slowly and my eyes linger on your parted lips, your breath passing steadily between them. Turning away, I slip my slender body from under the warm sheets and sit on the edge of the mattress, conjuring strength to stand. Your room is so empty. On the wall hangs a leaning calendar; a bible that we sat and read together lies open on the floor; a door to the closet where I fold and carefully stack your clean t-shirts; and the bed that we share. The floor is carpet. My toes brush the shaggy fibers and remind my tortured heart that it’s not wood. That this is life and that life isn’t nice and bright and blue. Sometimes I don’t want to know that God never leaves my side and that He loves me and counts me worthy. Sometimes I want to sit on the edge of that mattress and cry and cry and feel worthless. This night has done nothing but confuse me. How can I be so loved? How can God be so good to me? How dare I abuse that? Why does this feel real for the first time in my life? Why are we lying to ourselves?
 .    My feet press to the floor and I meander toward the bathroom, closing the door and flipping the fluorescent light on. My flushed face greets me in the mirror. So serious and factual, my eyes practiced, my lips pursed. My body always looks the same to me. And when I see it in the mirror I always hear whispers – reminders of scars and money and sleazy hotel rooms. But I don’t care right now. For some reason you’re the only one I want any more. That whisper tells me that’s selfish and impossible and that I ought to get over it. That’s not how life works. I lean against the wood panels on the door and inspect the popcorn ceiling.
My heart is reeling. My thoughts are quiet. “God, I know You’re good. And I know that life is cruel. None of this makes sense.” I shuffle my foot across the rug and bow my head. I don’t cry. No. I’m too smart for that. Nothing’s going to make sense right now and I know that. I just wish I knew what was wrong with me and how to fix it. For the first time, I just want to go back to your arms and stay there until morning and love you. I want to love you. I don’t understand this feeling and I hate it. I hate loving you because it’s worthless and stupid and it won’t ever matter. It will leave me as empty as your bedroom. But I wash my face and brush my teeth and open the door, slowly tiptoeing to your bed and crawling in under the grey sheet with you. You feel me slide in next to you and squint sleepily at me, inhaling deeply. Shifting to your side, you use your right arm to pull me close as your left bicep cradles my head. And I don’t care anymore. Tears well up in the corners of my eyes and know in that moment that you won’t be gone in the morning; that you love me, too, even if it’s just for tonight, and even if it’s for all the wrong reasons. And that’s new, and terrifying, and that’s okay. I don’t care anymore. I fall asleep feeling safe, like I should have been.

“His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me.”

– Song of Solomon 8:3

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