Cold drops of rain fall upon my head as I jaunt through streets that have loomed in my mind from my last visit. The water collides with dirty pavement and releases a scent comparable to no other—calming. Freeing. Revitalizing, yet somber all at once. My mind wanders, as it often does, but on this particular night it has no limits. The downpour evokes in me a surge of emotion, yet I do not withhold it as I always do. I let it out. Following suit of the rich banks above. I breathe. Inhaling slowly and holding it as to engrave in my mind the lingering feeling of all that’s inside. And I count; one, two, on five I’ll release, three, four.
And I exhale.
Releasing the contents of my heart to paint the sidewalks.
I have needed this reflection time, almost desperately. It becomes too easy, monotonous after time, to set aside the needs of my heart when life gets busy. My curious feet carry me past rows of houses built even before my father’s time. Some have been restored and others seem tired and worn. Despite their difference in shape, colour, character, they share one thing: they stand firm. My mood changes to subtle awe and I think of how it would feel to stand so still for so long, watching the coming and going of humans. I don’t share in that, I can’t stay still. My thought ends and I am already far passed the homes that began such a trail of thinking. The sun has kissed the city goodnight and the sky is nothing, yet so full of mystery. There is something about striding through a sleeping world, being the only movement the street lamps see. It has always been a favourite activity of mine. I crave loneliness. But I walk a fine line between wanting to live a life of solitude and desiring relationship. I despise my own hypersensitiveness which requires so much reassurance. Surely it is abnormal to yearn so much to be loved and understood. So I forsake the inner parts of me and like the restored home I repaint the kitchen walls, replace the hardwood…Yet the third and fourth steps leading upstairs still squeak, air still whistles as it escapes the vents, the walls still paper thin. I am beginning to realize the bitter-sweet truth that you can do all you want to appear a particular way, but your heart is solid, unchangeable, always certain of itself even when you aren’t. I would like to be brave, but I still cower when fists rise. I wish to be unspoken, but my voice shakes whenever it is challenged. I want to be strong, but inside I know I am weak.
In recent months my established world shifted and things changed for me. I was forced to rely on myself when everyone else walked out-estranged. What ached heavy in my chest was not that my loved ones abandoned me, rather coming to know that if I were them, I would leave me to. I was and am not desirable in any form. At least that is how I perceived myself then. It was those forlorn nights when my tears soaked my pillowcase and I cried for someone to fill the emptiness, that I discovers an odd, yet revolutionary realization. I was not alone…I had myself. I was drip dry, like a rag twisted until all life had been wrung out, and had no other choice but to learn to love who I was. And this truly has been a difficult journey, but I am moving. Slowly some days (most days), but I am making gain over the unwelcome sorrow that has resided in me for too long. I have followed my feet back around to my grandmother’s house, the place I practically grew up. When I walk through the door I feel peace. I feel like the little girl whose spirit was once so bright. When I am here I feel like I remember who I am behind the mask.
The rain has stopped, but I leave my window open to fill my lungs with moist air as I drift asleep, air that rises from the pavement. Possibly even combined with my exhales of emotion, making its way back into my heart. Because that is where it belongs. No matter how hard I fight it.
"A billion galaxies will not satisfy the human soul." (Ps 8:3) Your heart was made for God.
“I cling to Jesus with every fiber of my being because He is unfailing, He is absolute, He is steadfast and His grace is deeper and wider than my imagination can even fathom. In Him and Him alone is where I’ve discovered a hope so bright and beautiful than words can possibly describe.”