july shared backwards-1

by epi

Today was spent with one of the people I love more than I thought myself capable of loving. It’s not a romantic love, though in a different world, I’m sure that it could be. Or would be. Instead I’m blessed that it can be unsullied by wishes or desires. He is simply my best friend. One of the only people who sees easily beyond my ditzy façade. One who calls me out beyond my fear. One who listens, silently, as I pour out my heart. One is not ashamed or afraid of how much I want to love God, and how very badly I do that. Today, I swallowed tears (not wanting to overwhelm him) as I spoke my two greatest fears: one, that I am incapable of loving God as easily as I see  others do, and two, that my family isn’t real.

 

The first is a fear that developed from watching others follow Christ. It seems easier for them. Every step I make towards God is painful. (Have you ever tried running underwater? Fought the resistance of the water? And yes, you move forward, but slowly, and it HURTS. Dammit, it hurts. And you watch others running on land, and it feels like they are gliding. You know they’re working, but it seems easier. And there you are, slowly moving. Gasping for breath. Your body begging you to stop, but your mind or your heart or that goal pushing you pushing you pushing you on.  That’s me and God.)  He laughed at me. And I hate being laughed at, but for some reason, I found his laughter comforting. He promised me that it’s all in my head. That loving God is supposed to be hard, and it’s hard for him too. I was grateful. I’ll always be grateful.

 

And then, later, as the band crew set up, I swallowed tears again.  “It’s not real. At any moment, I can say the wrong thing, and they’ll leave me. And there’s nothing that I can do about it. I’m not real.”  We were talking about foster care and foster kids and whether they want to be adopted.  And I was remembering the time a girl carelessly shook my very foundation by reminding me that my family isn’t really all that real. And I can’t forgive her. Not because of what she did (how small a crime), but because it made some formally irrational fear, truth.  She reminded me that I’m not real. I think he felt bad for me. I think he felt angry. In any case, he let me know how wrong I was.  That I was looking at it wrong. That family is family. And family doesn’t just give up. And I hope he’s right. Because I’m tired of failing at trying to be perfect.

 

And when he left, I felt light. I know it won’t last—I’m a heavy person. But dear God, it felt good to be light for those hours. It felt good to speak truthfully—to push those lies out in the open and have them dismantled.  I’m sad he’s not with me always, but at the same time, I need room to grow too. And he’s always only a phone call away.

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