About six months before my arrest, I was released from a rehab center. A suffocating place, overrun with teenage angst, ego centric pride and fumbling insecurity. Rigid staff members, cold walls and a routine to drive you into the ground.
It’s one of those eras in my life that I overlook, under value and resent.
Friends close to me have said that I really should incorporate this wickedly boring, and shameful deterioration of time into my writing, but I truly have nothing to say about it. It’s meaningless to me, a grey period of nothingness. No more than and dreary, half dead memory. Void of anything authentic, on all counts, except for one moment. One brief instant, short in time, but limitless in all worth and truth. It is my treasure, in all hope and beauty. It fills me, and makes a whole person out of me on my darkest of days. It lifts me up when my hands are empty and shaking. It spreads a smile across my face, every single time I pause to remember it, and honestly, above all else, it is the most sacred and intimate experience I’ve ever had. It happened when I was a shattered 16 year old girl, while I lay in bed, in that stinking community center rehab building. Stuffed into a room with three other girls, in the middle of the night. I was alone, broken, and desperately clinging to some sort of hope, after surviving a summer filled with drugs, homelessness, affliction and sexual assault. Memories flooding my fragile mind, tearing me down to abandoned bits of scrap. There was nothing left of me, but a damaged pile of tears and flesh sobbing on a plastic mattress, and so I called His name.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Wet, hot tears running down my cheeks.
A little girl crying out in the dark.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Something started to happen. A heat in my chest. Rising up, full and warm, with each mention of His name. Taking my breath away, with a kind of power, and purity, I had never felt before. Growing, in measure and abundance, and I let it take me over. It wasn’t hard to do, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever felt. More real, and alive than the world I’d lived in for so long.
When He told me to close my eyes, I listened without doubt or skepticism, because it was the most authentic voice I had ever heard. Reverberating through my heart, like a warm flood of water. Washing me clean, with one simple utterance. My eyelid’s resting as if to sleep, I was lifted up. No fear, only peace.
Rising up, rising up to Him.
Weightless, and free.
No body to shackle me down, no pain. No pain at all. Only this light, shining, filling up the dark space with His flawless love. I don’t remember his face, not the details, just the eyes. The never ending depth, and compassion in those eyes. Oceans, worlds, time and space, in those eyes. All of humanity, placed, and alive, and counted for, and seen, in those eyes. He carries each of us inside of Him. He is full and pure and limitless. He sees YOU. ME. EVERYTHING. Carry’s it all, all of it. ALL OF IT. WITHIN HIMSELF. This world, this world we were cast into. Nothing is hidden, nothing is too dark, or bad, or dirty, or shameful, or evil. He carries it all. This is what I saw. And I saw myself in it.
Then, down I went, through the dark space, again, and onto the plastic mattress. My face and shirt soaked with my own tears. I guess, when you are in the presence of the Lord, all you can do is shed tears of joy. I can claim this for myself, because I’ve never been so wet with my own crying. Totally and completely drenched.
I had never carried a Bible with me in my entire life, until that week. I held it in my hand every moment. Slept with it, ate with it, smoked my cigarettes with it. Clinging to Him, so in love, I couldn’t imagine letting Him go. But we all do, at some point don’t we? We all go down our own road, and forget. We’re human. But, I never forgot, what I saw in His eyes. And, it’s kept a truth rooted in my heart. A truth that saved my life.
He will NEVER forget me.
He will always be raw, and real, and alive. He will always wait for you. Love you. Since the day He died for us, He has been carrying us within Him, whether or not you believe. Whether, you or I, think we are worthy or not. That is the truth, that saved my life.
That is the truth I live for.