Mid-day early-March my son arrives with a pickup and backup- a large boy brought for his mere presence, for strength in numbers. There was no telling how hard the leaving would be. This time. But there would be no coming back. Not this time.
Winter wind scraped leaves across the frozen ground, long dead leaves holding on for dear life. They crunched underfoot as we hurried back and forth, crackled so cold and dead. Crust covered snow gave way beneath the weight of our steps. The dog bounded and yelped, excited for the going away. But the going away wasn’t for her. Not this time.
In less than a lunch hour we packed all I could take. Clothes, books, photos. A computer. A cat. Needed things. Special things. But with the dog, the rest would stay. This time.
The car, the dishes, the furniture.
The drinking, the fighting, the once-love.
I’d been sober mere months. For a second time. The first was my will. It didn’t last. This time it was His will. God’s will. I’d make it last. This time.
And with His will comes more than an idea. More than a choosing. There is manifestation. Creation. Form. A thought made tangible. Whole.
But right then, right then and there my heart, my whole self was as empty as that truck. Right then my life blew bewildered across frozen ground, so cold and dead. Right then I was numb and bewildered. As bewildered as the dog with her head cocked to one side as we drove away.
Three hundred miles
I couldn’t move for months. For a year I couldn’t breathe. I had to remind myself:
Each morning I met myself in the shower, bare, broken, weeping. Each morning I stood raw, exposed, tears and flesh flowing away.
Spring crept in. I slept.
Summer burst forth. I slept.
A friend called.
A Christian music festival not far away.
“He can heal you,” she said.
She led me into the midst- into the multitude.
Voices rising and falling. Music powerful and pulsating. All the air was alive. The singer struck chorus and the crowd took hold of each other, hand in hand, an arm around a waist, shoulder against shoulder. And they sang. They praised and raised their hands high and smiled, holding each other.
And in this strange land amid thousands I witnessed the creation of something tangible. I witnessed praise seep in as joy spilled out.
And in this strange land amid thousands I stood there, one girl amid thousands who held on to each other and there I was, watching and realizing and I thought
I’m alone. So very little right here inside so much.
And I thought
No one knows me. Who will ever know me again?
And a hush fell. Right there in the midst of music and multitude it grew silent and still and then
And the breath I’d long forgotten gushed forth. My lungs emptied. And the heart I’d long forsaken sprang up.
Inhale. Slow. Cautious.
The heart beat. Once. Then again. Exhale.
And again. Inhale. Thump, thump. Exhale.
Voices filtered in first. Then the bass. The drums.
Warm sun on my cheeks. Cool grass under my toes.
The hand of a friend in mine. Shoulder to shoulder.
Two hands in one raised, raised up to the Father. They raised up to Him who brings form to will; to Him who knows and makes whole.
Mid-evening early-March I pen this; four years and a full heart later. Music spills from the back room. I look around my place:
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish…”
Photos of my sons on the wall,
dirty dishes in the sink,
two cats lazing on the couch.
“Bring them here to me,” He said.
My phone buzzes: a friend.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.
I glance at the calendar:
Conference – Saturday – with Church
They all ate and were satisfied.
I close my eyes.
The music fades.
In. Out. Again.
So much from so little.
(Author’s Note: Scripture taken from Matthew 14:17-20 NIV)