Saturday, March 5, 2016

| hello world. |

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 . . . it's been so long. Again.

I was working late with another guy one night this past week, and in the course of conversation he looked at me, shook his head, and said, "Hannah, can you believe it's already March?" I let that one swirl around in the maelstrom of thought in my brain for a spell, then coerced a nod, most likely a rather fractured one, and acquiesced to the obvious. I hear y'all Yankees are still shoveling your lives out of the cold white grip in some parts, but yeah. We're three months deep into two thousand and sixteen, and they said that winter is over, but part of the cold must have soaked into my soul, because I never saw the weather take a kinder turn until I stopped and stared at the facts taped on the wall and typed in ostentatious fonts on the news.

I had a certain vague fascination with grief in the fiction department for the majority of my life. Whenever I played the role of witness to its fingerprint in the lives of my friends, or my family, grief was a switchblade in their skin that I crazy craved to extricate and throw away, and I always wondered how people handled losing their beloveds. How they managed to keep breathing when their soul was bleeding to death, and how they managed to survive nights of intermittent sleep, at best, of pillowcases soaked with emotion, of journal pages thick with dried tears and pain. A pain that devours you whole. A pain that shows you a stranger in the mirror, not the person you thought you were.

That was me.

January saw me dressing my soul in gunmetal, (I thought) and more than prepared to take the bullets as they came, lose my balance, bleed for a time, and stagger back to my feet and give heartbreak a run for its money. Yeah. All it took was a couple of country breakup songs and reading through old letters to shred that cute little fantasy. I forget how many nights I lived face down on my bed screaming into the blankets, anything but the definition of brave. Because it had happened to me. I lost the person that I loved. I could describe in poetic and sentimental language the meaning of my love for him, but permit the verb to suffice. I loved him.
But sometimes it doesn't work.

Well-intended adults attempt to educate the younger ones, prepare them for any plague that lurks in the world, but no instruction manual or inspirational read or grief seminar can teach you how to understand the language of your own broken heart. It's a terrifying thing, waking up every morning with a hole you didn't have before gaping across your soul. People say what they will, telling you to grow up, that it was your fault, that you should have fought harder, that you are shallow and treat love like a plaything, so on. Time does not erase the scars, but it does show you how to exist, even with the pain holding one of your hands.

And the pain doesn't sit down inside you and keep you company, then take its leave and vacate your heart after a certain time, but after a while you get used to waking up every morning and seeing it sitting beside you. You make room for it, and slowly you begin to understand it. How to breathe around its bulk filling your chest.

And there is the Lord. At first, I am ashamed to confess, I avoided His face. I memorized every grief quote on Pinterest and sang every breakup song I knew when the nights got long and lonely. I refused to talk to people. But I know He was waiting for me to drag the pieces of me to Him and lay them at His feet, and beg Him to take them. Just take them. Not even put them back together again. But just take them. They had grown far too heavy for my hands to hold.

I am a private person, and albeit I am unlocking a barred room in my soul in this post, I despise the notion of pasting one's heart on one's sleeve, measure the exposure of my feelings by the adage "cowgirls don't cry" and will almost never offer another human a peephole to the hurricanes in my heart. I had grown proud of my ability to deceive everyone I knew into believing that I was actually surviving, proud of the fact that my friends said I was one of the strongest women they had ever known and proud of the fact that I reserved my tears for back roads at night when no one was watching. But I am human. I break. I bruise. I bleed. I am quite frequently the weakest woman I know, and I hate myself for it, but it is more beautiful to be honest than to be perfect.

It was several Sunday nights ago that I was standing in church in the midst of an altar call. I have never been one to race to the fore of a sanctuary at an invitation. I always figure than prayer is as possible at a pew as in front of a pulpit. But that night I went. And I didn't plan on crying in front of a hundred something humans, but I did.

And I know God was with me on the floor in front of that church. I felt Him. Like I hadn't felt Him in weeks. But He was there. I felt His touch, caressing the bruises and the holes that life's bullets had left behind, and filling them back in again.

I still get the long nights. The scars are still there.

But He is there, too. And I am willing to do anything to keep Him here with me. All my life, I read the Psalms, heard the emotion-saturated testimonies of people that God had gotten through to the other side of heartbreak, sang "It is Well With My Soul" until even that was one more cliché. But I never believed it as much as I did that night, and that night, it was the only truth I knew.

Maybe, the only truth I need right now.

Hello, world. I think I am breathing again.

"I dare you to move,

I dare you to move

I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor

I dare you to move

I dare you to move, like today never happened before. . .

Salvation is HERE."