dear mom.

Dear Mom,

26 years ago you became a mother again. Only a short 20 months after you became a mom for the first time. You’ve told me time and time again about how I was born on a Friday. The 13th. Even on a full moon. Did you think it was bad luck? Or did it become a lucky number for you that year? This year was your 27th Mother’s Day. And it has been almost a year since I have seen your face. I have seen photographs that made me wish things were different. But they aren’t, mom, and that makes me sad.

I don’t remember much from when I was very little. I don’t remember much from when things were good. But the few memories I can recall I hold closely to my heart so that I never forget. I wish there was more for me to hold on to, and I am unsure and frustrated that I can’t remember. I can’t remember you picking me up from school or finding you in the bleachers at my softball games. I can’t remember the trips we took across the country or even simple things like what our life was like at home. And my heart is sad. I want to remember those things. I want to be able to look back and remember the time before my world was filled with so much sadness and hurt and confusion.

I don’t know why things had to play out like they did. I feel like all this shit just exploded in our lives and we were all caught in the crossfire. Casualties of war. Beaten and mangled, bleeding out – all looking to each other for rescue. Most times I feel like we all just kept yelling and screaming at each other for spilling their blood on us. I can’t rescue you mom. And I have since learned that no matter how much I wish you could, you can’t rescue me either. Maybe that’s why we all keep tripping over each other. We both have expectations that neither of us can meet.

So, mom, this is me laying down my expectations. I can’t promise that I won’t at some point be tempted to pick them up again, but I do promise that I am trying. I realize that you are just not capable of some of the things I wish you were and I hope that you’ll be able to see that I am not capable of some things too. I hate what has become of us. And while I don’t have a lot of hope right now that things will magically get better, I do have hope that it is possible to have hope for those things. So, with that hope of hope, I am laying down my arms. I’m done fighting this war against you when, really, we are both warring against the same darkness…just in different ways.

While things aren’t changing right now, I need you to know that I do love you. I do miss you. Very much. I am so sorry that you were wounded by all of the things that wounded me. And I am sorry that I didn’t offer you more grace and understanding. I still don’t understand and I still like to think that you should be invincible. I know now that you aren’t. And mom, that is so ok. I won’t give up that things can be better. Don’t you give up either, ok? I’m still here, and even though it looks differently right now, I’m still loving you.

not giving up just yet,
Alison

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standing in the gap

She didn’t hear me. Surely she wouldn’t overlook that. She didn’t even acknowledge that I just said I wanted to die. All she heard was that I wanted to be with Him. And a week ago I wasn’t even sure I wanted to love Jesus anymore. Never in a hundred years would I have thought that I would get to a place where I didn’t love or want to love Jesus. But here I sat. No longer shaking my fist at the sky, because honestly, I didn’t know if I believed that there was anyone in the sky worth shaking my fist.

One moment. One single instant sent my world spinning.

Maybe that isn’t entirely true. It had been a series of hundreds of moments. Built on other moments. Built on still more moments. And this one, this one particular moment…this one was the one that fractured something in me. All of the moments before this one tore and stole and eroded the deepest parts of who I am. Threatening to kill me but stopping just before my heart stopped. Torture. Mocking the very breath that filled my lungs.

When you live under such torment for years upon years you learn quickly what is necessary for survival…that is, supposing you care at all to survive any longer. For me, it usually follows the same pattern every time. I have grown used to this pattern. So when, two weeks ago, all this was set in motion and I was gearing up to ride the waves like normal, and they didn’t come, I was left floundering. The pattern I was used to, the timeline, the expectations – all shot to hell. The shut down period lasted far longer than I was accustomed to. It was a hole I was unable to dig myself out of. No matter how much I wanted to or how hard I tried, I could not for the life of me lift my eyes. Phone went unanswered. Text messages were only sent sporadically to those who didn’t offer cliche or trite words. Sleep. Work. Home. Repeat.

“A mountain fell on you. It is ok to feel like a mountain fell on you.”

A mountain did fall. I was crushed. I shut down. Refusing to say that the mountain fell. Refusing to talk about the mountain. Refusing to cry out for help from underneath the rubble. As if even my body was in complete shock. Numb. Even if I wanted to feel something, I couldn’t. And I wanted to feel something…anything. Even if it was pain. It would mean that I was still alive. Still capable of feeling. So I ran. I ran straight to the shiny silvery “friends” I had broken up with a month ago. They were just as I left them. Promising relief. And temporarily giving it.

I wanted to be left alone. I didn’t want anyone to care. I didn’t want anyone to call. I didn’t want anyone to preach at me or tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. I didn’t need scripture shoved down my throat…after all, I could probably quote it better than you ever could. I didn’t even want answers. I didn’t want someone to “talk me out of any of this”. Don’t love me. I will only disappoint you. Because I have nothing to offer. Nothing but crying in the bathroom floor and nothing but anger and confusion and probably not many nice things to say. Started to believe again that I am not worth it. Not worth loving. Not worth sitting with in the floor. I didn’t believe that God actually loved me, or even that He actually gave a shit what was going on with me. Where was He? He promised He would never leave me or forsake me, right? Well…where you at?

He was right here, in these messages, all along:

“It’s ok if you can’t fight. You are fought FOR.”

“You keep breathing. In and out. One breath at a time.”

“God wants you to know that you are lovely.”

“No matter what happens tonight or tomorrow. I love you.”

“I’m here, holding your hand. And I’ll be here tomorrow when you go numb. And later when the anger grabs you.”

“You are part of my family. I know you are hurting. But you are not alone. I stand here to combat the lies and hold you and pray for you because I love you. You. Just you.”

“My heart for you has not changed. I am not disappointed. I just hurt alongside you and hate that you are hurting right now. I. Love. You.”

“I don’t think any less of you. This is your Father’s heart for you in this moment. Mine is but a pale echo of His. He loves you. He weeps with you and for you. You are loved.”

They were right. This ain’t up to me. They weren’t phased when I asked them if we could still be friends if I wasn’t a christian. I still don’t believe it like I want to. I still don’t know a lot of things. But one thing I do know. They are standing in the gap. Believing for me and hoping for me and fighting for me…because right now, I can’t do it on my own. I wanted out. I wanted to be done with all of this and I wanted to go be with Jesus. I wanted to not be alive anymore. And all she heard was I wanted to be with Jesus.

“I believe you still love Him. You just can’t see it clearly right now. And that’s ok. I will believe it for you until you can believe it again.”

So right now, when the answers aren’t enough. When I can’t believe on my own. In these moments that I have no fight left in me. For all the times I want to just be done with it all and go be with Jesus. I will remember that I am not doing this alone. That I am not alone. And while I may not “feel” like God is near, I will read these messages and know that through these women He is reminding me He loves me and assuring me that He is on the bathroom floor too. And just like she said “I won’t get up until you do…” – neither will he.

Here’s to the sitting. Here’s to the silence and the waiting.
Here’s to the anger and the screaming.
Here’s to the feeling and the not feeling.
Here’s to feeling the love of God through them.

Here’s to you.

You who won’t stop looking for me in the rubble.

let it be enough

i have nothing left
days
turned into weeks
now months
fifteen years and still
nothing
i have nothing left
nothing but this
“God, please, be near”
thats all i have
right now

and oh, let it be enough

when laughter
rings out
loud from rooftops
deep from the souls
of the wounded
when smiles
stretch
and bend
faces unaccustomed
with tears of delight

when shouts of joy
echo
through hallways
hallways often visited
by despair
hallways familiar
with crouching figures
trying to make sense
of all the hurt
when those hallways
amplify
shouts of joy

when happiness
might as well be the wind
refreshing
your tired skin
a cold drink of water
on days that seem to
burn
when you feel
as though you were
a feather
that could float right into the
clear blue sky

when light
breaks through
darkness
sneaking through
small cracks
in walls
you so carefully
built
when the candle is lit
and flames dance
darkness flees
trembles

when sadness
fills your lungs with
poison
never giving a reason
for this deep
betrayal
when there are
no answers
and there are no
quick fixes
there is only sadness
that cannot be explained
and will not
explain
only pumping you with more
venom

when tears
fall
from the fiercest clouds
in your eyes
threatening to drown you
alone
when the flood is
unstoppable
unmovable
and cannot be convinced to
ease up already
surely
surely you could drown here

when depression
wraps you with long
dangerous tentacles
suffocating your heart
seemingly just for
the hell of it
when this blanket has you
trapped
offering no way out
wrapping tighter and
tighter
regardless of how hard you
fight

when darkness
pours over you like
waves
beating and
bashing
constantly wearing down all the
life that is left in your
soul
when there seems to be
no glimmer of
hope
not a chance for rescue

when questions come
reconciliation between
good and bad
seems far fetched
when laughter and depression
should never
coexist
when tears and shouts of joy
cannot possibly
come from the same heart
when darkness and light
are present
in the same room

it is in all of these moments
that all i have left is

“God, be near”

and oh, please, let that be enough