I believe that I’ve lost belief
in promises and choruses and confessions of faith and doubt
that flannel graph stories of redemption can be recapitulated
and monday follows a blood red sky and sunday never comes.
I believe in angels in blue jeans.
I believe in Ambria’s promises and Ashlyn’s nail polish and Mariah’s runaway tears.
I believe in bonfires and purple skies and cartwheels in the front yard
as Bruce Springsteen croons, ‘Hey little girl is your daddy home?’
and Ambria answers, “Yes.”
I believe doves land on the porch when you least expect it. And that grace sneaks up on you from behind, and in the dark. And regret grows at the speed of a five o’clock shadow. And the suitcase of shame is the One Constant reminder that if people really knew how deep the roots have grown, they will suddenly become too busy to return phone calls.
I believe in thick, green grass beneath bare feet and the North Carolina mountains will always, never be the same. And home is her, and I am less.
I believe that I’ve lost belief
in my own confessions and repentance and that, under a microscope, tears induced by an onion look tragically different than tears induced by a broken heart and the carpet at Grace Life International Counseling feels more like concrete. I believe that truck stops in South Carolina are a good place to contemplate the apocalypse, (but the Counting Crows are not exactly helpful). I believe in turning off your cell phone to disconnect from the inquiring minds that have called too late. I believe in returning to where it all started, and putting an end to it.
I believe in irrational, illogical, unscientific, scandalous, [borderline heretical] mercy.
And that self-preservation feels a lot like self-destruction, but in the end – the world is forfeited in the acquisition of a soul restored.
I believe I am more loved than I can comprehend, and less deserving than a crucified thief beside an innocent savior. I believe that love does not always win, and that sometimes the scars have the last word. I believe that Spring comes late to the epicenter of regressive culture, and though the waves are seductive, Lake Michigan is still too cold to engage.
But if I could swim from here to there and back again, I’d take a mulligan to the foul balls and truly be like a tree, planted beside the rivers of water – with leaves that do not wither or fall in the autumn or freeze in the winter but shimmer in the infinite sun.
If I could swim from here to there and back again, I would have been more content to love you from the shadows of anonymity, and be held together by the unity candle, burning into my conscience like an avalanche of hope. yes, hope.
I believe in uncontrollable laughter and sarcastic renditions of the holy ghost shakes. I believe in circling around the table to ask Mariah, Ashlyn, Jamie, Ambria, (then myself) “What made you mad, sad, and glad today?” And the best part of each day is this moment, when the unbroken circle is like a ring with no beginning and no ending, forged in the fire of precious metals, and shining in the light of no other option.
I believe that my actions have indicated otherwise, but I believe in Jesus. I believe in the blood of the cross that covers my shame, and the implications of the resurrection hold me captive in the back row. I believe in the ineffable Name that freezes my speech and seals my wandering heart to the heavenly courts, and that when all else fails, grace remains.
I believe that perfect love casts out fear, and that terrifies me.
I believe in sitting on the porch with your dad, to talk about the time he videotaped a proposal from the bushes and captured a moment of a ring given at the end of a trail of roses. ‘But who knows how long this could last, now we’ve come so far so fast, but somewhere back there in the dust, is that same small town in each of us…’