Sometimes an idea creeps upon me and wriggles into my mind, waiting for my considerable lack of will so that it can occupy the whole my thoughts. Other times, I’m struck by a single line and it is those moments I have come to trust my pen to scrawl the words while my heart provides the ink. Now is one of those times.
I have a deep, intimate relationship with God. It isn’t something I talk or write about often. In no way because I’m ashamed of it but rather because that which is most sacred to my heart is often played close to the vest. But I heard the line in my mind and I’ve learned never to ignore the siren call.
As a small girl, raised by church-going Christians, my relationship with God was pretty simple. I knew He existed. Christmas brought the birth of Baby Jesus and Santa Claus. Easter meant Jesus came back from death and a giant rabbit brought eggs and candy. I’d pray for My Little Ponies and blessed meals and trusted God would do the rest. Easy Peasy.
Somewhere along the way, I began to worry less about ponies and more about life. It was right around that delightful age betwixt angsty poetry and songs of unrequited love.
I remember, clearly, walking home from a friend’s house, chock-full of all these things I could never say to anyone—things I thought no one else could understand. If I told my friends, they’d laugh or drop me quicker than this week’s crush. I couldn’t talk to my parents. What was left to me?
So I just started talking.
Teenagers are a weird breed in most situations so I didn’t worry that people would see me talking to myself and call for the nearest Charter hospital. I just opened my mouth and watched as it tumbled and frothed and spilled free. Things I didn’t know how to put to words, things I couldn’t keep stuffed low in my belly, things that felt like poison scorching through my veins.
And slowly, the venom was bled. I was removed from the heated coil and whatever was bubbling up inside of me cooled and was still. Something new filled its place. There wasn’t a celestial voice that parted sky or sea but there was the blanketed quiet of knowing someone heard me and understood.
After that, I found that whenever I had a moment of solitude, I filled it with my voice and offered up my daily cares. It wasn’t like any prayer I’d ever heard of but that didn’t matter to me. To me, I didn’t see it as a prayer so much as a conversation, one that was much more reciprocal than I could ever have expected.
Over time, those conversations became more than a release valve for the things I couldn’t handle. I poured out all the details of my life and a friendship flourished that has become essential to me in every way.
Since that long ago lonely walk, I can only recall one time in all those years that I thought God had abandoned me. Standing on the other side of that darkness, I can say with glowing truth that I have never been more wrong—and glad to be so. That one time, that unfathomable, despairing trial, provided the foundation for a joy so full, I cannot possibly measure it.
That is not to say that I’ve never suffered since then. I make plenty of mistakes and my relationship with God has seen a few awkward distances, but never because He drew away from me. Our friendship only wanes when I stop talking.
Truth be told, I’m not sure why I felt so strongly about writing this particular post but like I’ve said, I’ve learned when to listen. Maybe someone else will read this and find that even when we are so miserably lonely, we are never alone.
After all these years and all those talks, I’ve come to recognize His voice. A more merciful God, I’ll never know; a better friend I’ll never have. No one has ever understood me better and loved me more. When I begin to doubt and despair, I take a walk or go on a drive.
And chat it out with a good friend.