It’s not in the late night hours when I can’t find sleep and I lay and listen to the house breathe. Or in the hard-to-focus minutes when my chest is tight and I feel my lungs ache for relief.
Those times are quite familiar. They have a place at my table and a bottle in my medicine cabinet.
Instead, it’s in the brief seconds between the ordinary.
When we’re bumping elbows at breakfast and the sun is spilling through the kitchen window. When we’re arguing about how many miles it is to the moon. He’s spewing facts about how chartreuse is not a Real Color and she’s waggling her eyebrows and listing the words that are Not Polite but that are perfectly acceptable to say in the bathroom.
The ordinary is real, and mundane. And it’s full of reminders that I have got this. I do not need that which continues to pull me down.
The first time around, it left me. I was broken, desperately clinging to what I had always known. And as the foundation of everything I had believed crumbled, I mourned my faith.
But time is tricky. And when your heart is open and hopeful, it’s easy to feel like you can simply try again. Not to go back to the way things were, but to attempt to do it the right way this time.
Yet these ordinary moments where I feel I am all I need are interwoven with dark memories and harsh reminders of how it all went wrong before.
I’m still surrounded by voices who know the jargon, wear the t-shirts, and have the bumper stickers to prove it. But at the same time they sing a song of faith, they rage against the broken. They argue about the hopeless. Their lack of mercy for the weakest among us is not even their worst trait.
I listen to the daily drumbeat of support for separation. And I remember when we used that same language to defend our own border of faith. No one who looks different than us should be here. No one who thinks differently than us is allowed. No one who doesn’t respect the list of rules we’ve arbitrarily chosen will be on our team.
It’s been more than a year around the sun. And try as I may, I can no longer swallow a single drop of faith without the pain and horror from before lingering with the taste.
I tried dipping my toes in the water. Turning the lights back on in an empty house. But the ghosts are real and I’m tired of throwing salt.
So I will walk to the edge of the sea, set the good and bad upon the raft, and set fire to it all.
You aren’t leaving me, I am leaving you.