Monday, December 2, 2013

heart of darkness

It starts out as a little dark spot somewhere on me. I can feel it but it's so small I ignore it and I go about my day - I text friends, do my work, go to lunch, go home, watch Netflix. It's there the entire time and I feel it but it's easy to ignore. I can still run, I can still drink coffee, I can still say hi to people and have conversations and the little darkness hovers but it's avoidable and I stuff it deep down to a place where no one else can see.

Over time the darkness begins to prod me a little and it's not as easy to ignore. I wake up one day and it's now spread and it's maybe covering my shoulder, or all ten of my fingers and I blanch a little when I notice it's spread. I panic, covering it up with a sweater or gloves or letting my hair fall over it. I can't ignore it anymore but I'm still hiding it from everyone. No one else can see it so I think I'm okay. I can do this. I can act normal. No one can see the darkness.

Days pass and slowly the more I ignore the darkness the more it spreads. It spreads so much that it covers all of me and now I can't go out. I can't talk to people, I can't be myself because I am engulfed and there's no hiding it, no denying it. It's there and real and it's part of me now, it's who I am and it's the first thing anyone can see when they look at me.

I tuck away under my covers, pull them over my head and for a fleeting shallow moment I believe the lie that I'm okay. That even though it's all over me, this veil, that I'm fine, I'm fine. Not a big deal. Tomorrow I'll wake up and it'll be gone. 

I lay awake at night, heart beating and racing and palms sweating and I see the sliver of moon peeking through my window. A little light cutting through the dark room.

I am so ashamed says a little voice in my head. I am lost and I don't know where to go.

The moon grows brighter and I continue to hide.

* * *

The moment you realize you don't think you know what you believe anymore, it's a scary one. You feel like you messed up. So you shut down. You sit in church and stare at the pastor and you try to listen to what he's saying but it's really hard.

You kinda feel like you're in Charlie Brown land when the adults talk and all you hear is WAHH WAHH WAH WAH WAHH. 

So you zone out and smile and sing the worship songs and mingle after the service and go home and stop thinking about it.

You go to community group but you feel isolated.  Because everything feels trite. Because sayings like "guarding your heart" and "Lord just help me be thankful for this season" don't make sense to you and there are sugary smiles and the same discussions and you sit there and you feel like a freak. You have this darkness all over you and you don't think anyone can see it. When they ask for prayer requests you press your lips together because hell no, you're not letting anyone know you feel depressed or confused or how you inwardly roll your eyes.

You become cynical. The anger, the hurt, the confusion, it grips your heart really really tightly. You stop hanging out with your friends who share the same faith because you're scared that if you say a cuss word or you drink too much or you talk about something they don't agree with that you think they'll judge you. That they'll tell you you don't know God loves you and their heart weeps for you.

So you avoid them. And the anger grows and grows until you raise a giant middle finger at the whole thing and you feel good.

And that lasts for like, a second. And then you're sitting at home and you still have that hole in your chest. You thought separating yourself and isolating yourself would make you feel better. Actually, it just made you feel alone. And you find yourself at a potluck for church and you find yourself tentatively opening up to one of your "judgemental Christian friends" and they look at you and understand and you're so taken aback that they aren't immediately laying hands on you and you're confused. They weren't supposed to understand. They were supposed to make you feel awful and justified in your anger!

You carry this confusion with you. You sit in church again and you try to listen but it's still hard but you start to feel like maybe you are part of the problem.

Maybe no one seems to care because you haven't let anyone care. Because you've been pushing them away for so long.

You flip through old journals, you look at old blog posts and you see how much you trusted God. You look at that girl and you miss her but she's just a naive idiot, right?

You fill your days with things and stuff and distractions so you can try to stuff it all down, all of these insecurities and questions, but they keep lingering about. And you feel a little "tap tap" on your shoulder and you know it's God but you ignore Him.

You ignore Him to the point where you can't feel Him and then you're scared.

It's like when you tease someone with a break up because you think they won't actually go anywhere. "Maybe we should just break up!" you shout and instead of falling to their knees, begging you to stay, they shrug and say "Okay" and then you are left lonelier than before.

But even though you can't feel Him, you know, so deep down, God is there. He's there but you don't want Him but He's not leaving. 

You find yourself kneeling at church and you feel this emotional barrier come crashing down and you realize you've been unfair. You've projected your own self-hate and anger onto others who were around you. 

You realize you are angry at the Christian community because you're angry at yourself. 

I realized I have been angry at the Christian community because I've been angry at myself. 

* * * 

"I can do this," I tell myself.. "Remember, you used to do this all the time. Get it together girl."

I fold my hands in my lap, closing my eyes, breathing deeply and steadily. I haven't prayed in a long time. It feels a little foreign but it also feels like maybe this is what I've been created to do. 

"Ummmm," I begin. 

"I'm really really really really....." the last really falls off and I drop my hands and I stand up from kneeling.

"I am an idiot," I say quietly. "And I'm sorry. And I'll always, always love you."

Talking to God like this feels normal and natural and I know, so deeply, that there is no doubt that God is real. I think it's beautiful He created us to be the most complex creatures and I am so thankful He gave me a brain to question and hurt and think. 

And I'm so glad He never goes away.

* * *


  1. Are we twins? I've felt like this a thousand times.

    Sophie Scholl said "I'm still so remote from God that I don't even sense his presence when I pray. Sometimes when I utter God's name, in fact, I feel like sinking into a void. It isn't a frightening or dizzying sensation, it's nothing at all — and that's far more terrible. But prayer is the only remedy for it, and however many devils scurry around inside me, I shall cling to the rope God has thrown me in Jesus Christ, even if my numb hands can no longer feel it."

    That's you, girl. Even though your darkness is different from Sophie Scholl's, and my darkness is different from yours, the result is the same.

    God doesn't move away, we do. And when we finally come running back with our tail between our legs, He's always right where we left Him, saying "What took you so long? Why do you keep doing this to yourself, idiot? LOL JK I love you."

  2. I love your blog! You're an amazing writer! Can't wait to read more in the future!


  3. glad i;m not alone in these feelings;