I scale the moles across my arms, thinking of the continual patterns of galaxies under this cotton t shirt. I wonder, maybe out of ignorance, maybe out of innocence. I wonder what they mean. I wonder what they’re charting. I wonder if heaven will unfold to God cradling my fragile self in his arms on the throne, pointing to each mark on this pale flesh, syncing a life landmark.
This is the night your grandmother passed away in her sleep, & this is the morning you found out, awaking to your mother’s unstable whisper, burying herself in between four children in sleeping bags lining her bedroom floor.
This is the day your mother cried as she pinned the dress to your shrinking frame, begging you to start eating again, insisting that you try.
This is the day you welcomed your niece into the world, piled in the overcrowded waiting room with two other families for 24 hours.
This is the day you fell in love fearlessly, despite what people told you, & this is the day you learned a depth to love that you thought was merely another unrealistic element of Hollywood. This is the day you found love was a person.
This was the day your heart was broken in a way that unravels even the most secure knot.
& here I was, he says pointing to your white skin. In every circumstance, at every time. Above. Below. Beside. Within. Here.
I’m pressed by the weight of each brown marking, each one reminding me of the pressure constantly being applied to me, holding me in place, grounding these wobbly knees. The circumstances that seem to mark us in ways that we swore we’d never be haggled. I vowed to never change.
& life swoops in & dances around us like the colorful leaves in Pocahontas & next thing you know we’ve been stained. For better or worse. Life changes us.
It’s funny because I’ve always been the one to say I’d never change. I meant it. With all my heart. But I’m only in control of myself & the world changes things & people change things & people change minds & we change with them. Somehow we find ourselves being pushed through. Birthed, if you will. & it’s not fun, but what labor is? It’s pressure all around, & suddenly the person you’ve always been won’t make it anymore. We’re pushed forward.
& here I stand today, three weeks later in the balcony of a church, knowing how different everything felt the last time I was here. Feeling out this strange body I’m trapped inside. Begging for the little girl who didn’t know. Lord, bring her back. Breathe into these bones. In an awkward, hesitant way my arms are extended upward & I just want my father. Only he will do.
His healing doesn’t come as I feel it should. I say Lord I’m ready fix me & I stand there in the silent room, waiting for a tingling in my toes, a tickling up my spine. I wait for a rain of fire that comes more like road flares. Bursts.
There is this beautiful yard beside a busy road in which chickens are scattered like dandelions. Red & yellow, black & white. They’re everywhere, & for a girl who hates chickens, they are beautiful. I am here.
& I sit beside my grandma at a restaurant, & her heart is crushed by the weight of her husband of over 50 years death & his birthday is four days away & she’s laughing. She’s laughing.
I spy little Jacob in his mother’s arms, & as he turns to the sound of my voice, he smiles. When his arms reach for mine, my heart melts. I am here.
I’m here, here, & here, he whispers. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. I am here. Through the joys of miracles & the pains of uprooting & through the losses that seem un-god-like. His presence still permeates, filling the gaps between the moles, hands beneath the mounds, holding the world in place. I’m learning this. I’m finding his healing & his intimacy through more than blind faith, because he made all things beautiful in their time, surrounding us with his goodness & offering us gold in the ashes.
Open your eyes, love. I am here.