The carpet felt more like concrete, as I collapsed beneath the table and erupted into a violent explosion of salty tears and self-hatred. The world I had known was forever changed in the unraveling of my shame, finding a shattered mirror and a fist and a whisper, “wherever you go, there you are.”
Find me here, inconsolable and unrecognizable. A blanket of suicidal thoughts and imaginary voices calling me to run run run from the truth, and hide hide hide from the runaway tongues. I called Jennifer, Janelle, and Jonathan to say, “I love you.” But this felt like the end of a long journey and
I was coming home.
From the carpet beneath the table, I was physically lifted and carried by an angel with tattoos and blue jeans. He drove me home when I was -less, and became my feet when I could not walk. There were no words, only the sound of choppy breathing and hyperventilating and the crushing weight of anxiety as I began to devise a plan for my escape. It was early in the afternoon, and rain had set in while the mountains of Asheville had begun to shake off the frostbite of late winter.
Cam laid me on the couch in his living room, and I rolled over to continue sobbing. These groans were immodest and explicit, and my hands had begun to tingle from the lack of circulation. It seemed my heart had stopped beating, and I was not getting enough oxygen. I cried bitterly, as the rooster crowed thrice. I trembled violently, as my fists became numb. There were no words spoken, only the sound of uninterpretable tongues toward heaven, have mercy.
I don’t know how long I slept there on that couch. It seemed like days, but when I stirred I was confused. Where was I? What happened? My eyes opened slowly and began to adjust to the falling daylight. It must have been dusk, and only the fading natural light remained to illuminate through the windows. I was paralyzed in the aftermath of all things unholy; the ashes no longer provided heat – only the evidence that a fire once burned.
And there, beside the couch, sat my friend. He was unmoved and focused, watching me quietly from his chair beside me. To this day, I don’t know how long he had been sitting there praying for me. All I do know is that in his provision of a non-anxious presence, he was delivering a powerful sermon.
[Intercession is the intersection between failing faith and saving grace.]
I remember that moment, being stirred back to reality. The pain was real, and it wasn’t just a bad dream. The wounds would leave a visible scar on my reputation, and my children would bear the brunt of explaining that their dad (however flawed) still walked on water. Still, no words spoken. He just looked at me with inexplicable grace. His lips slowly formed to a slight smile, as if to say, “I know. It hurts. I love you. And I ‘like’ you. I am not going anywhere. Go back to sleep.”
We locked eyes for a moment, and I will never forget the blanket of comfort that covered me as I experienced agape love. I felt the love and acceptance of God, embodied in a friend – embracing my cold and broken hallelujah.