Absent Without Leave

Sometimes I do not recognize myself anymore.

The impulse to speak has been replaced by sudden panic and breathless retreat. The gravity of the stage, that once cemented my feet to the moment of intoxicating yes, has been detoxed from my veins. The rush of the drug of amens under the lights of appreciation, almost launched me into a coma. The adrenaline of affirmation, the ever-illusive well done, has numbed this heart for a season of renewal.

Lately I’ve been learning to walk obnoxiously slow, around the blocks of Roosevelt Park. Sometimes I am pushing a pink stroller, and following training wheels and a pony tail. Other times I walk alone, in the morning. I have the cracks in these sidewalks, memorized. Like familiar passages of Scriptures, the healing remedy of solitude is putting my soul back together. I am greeted by birds and squirrels and sprinklers that catch me, unsuspecting. I am finding a new rhythm of maybe and yes and

I am writing a lot. The ink is bleeding through the pages on my journal, a diary I keep locked. Jamie keeps the key hidden, and she protects me from, me. She stands in the way of your questions like bullets and she will take some time to recover from this; she is a thousand miles more fragile than your critical glances will ever know.

Can you see us there? Sitting in the back of a different church each week? Hiding behind the bulletins and the hope that this is (somehow) good for our girls. Sometimes we slip out early, to avoid the questions of those who think they know.

And other times we genuinely feel like we belong. It all depends, I suppose. The other day Jamie raised her hands during the praise and worship. I noticed. This was the first time that she has been able to sing in almost seven months. I am not far behind her. The words went something like this:

“…Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God, The everlasting God
You do not faint, You won’t grow weary
You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles…”

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