Oh my love, I will fight my heart to keep you safe here
All my life, I will stay
Oh my love, we are light, a mirror of love eternal
How could I walk away
Stay, stay, stay, stay
"Stay," Tenth Avenue North
Up until I actually sat down to write, I thought I knew exactly what to say. That's how writing inspiration is with me. My mind is bursting with ideas of what to write, but when I actually have my laptop or a notebook, I wonder why I thought my ideas were worth saying, anyways.
Well, here goes.
I adore my family, but one problem we have is knowing how to express our anger. Come to think of it, I wonder if that's just a human problem, in general. When I'm angry, I keep it all inside, and when it gets too much to handle, I hurl one sharp, cutting remark that sinks like a dagger into the recipient's heart. I've made my mom cry before. My own mother. And I hate it. I hate the vicious words I'm capable of uttering.
The reason I'm telling you this is because my capacity to wound people with my words doesn't stop with family and friends. I know how to beat myself up, too. But the worst of it all is when I get angry with God and try my best to hurt Him with my accusations and furious rants. In fact, I just finished writing an angry letter to God in my prayer journal. Looking back over what I just wrote, I can't believe the irrational rage I expressed, the things I accused Him of, the particularly less-than-Christlike words I used to get my point across.
But it all boils down to one thing. Time and time again, over and over and over and over, more times than I can count, I have dared God to leave me. I have convinced myself I have done that one thing that will make Him realize what a mess He got Himself into when He asked me to be in a relationship with Him. And I have told Him, in no uncertain terms, that if He left, I wouldn't blame Him.
Part of me wonders if I would feel a lot more comfortable if God responded with, "You know what? You're right. This is definitely more than I asked for. I'll leave you alone for a while to think about what you've done."
Because of my experiences with people leaving, I naturally assume that that's what people do. They get to know you, see the depths of your heart, and when you stop being useful to them, they shrug their shoulders and walk away. Part of the reason I believe this is because two of the people who should have been there for me--two of the people who had a responsibility to stay in my life--made it pretty clear I wasn't wanted or valued. Now, the underlying assumption in every relationship I form is that, well, it's only temporary. I am torn among three reactions: (1) not getting to know anyone because I know they'll just walk away, anyways, (2) trying my best to enjoy the relationship as much as possible because soon it'll be gone, and (3) doing my best to drive the person away so that I'm not surprised or disappointed when they leave.
And I do the same with God. I push Him away, get angry with Him, and then shake my head at Him and exclaim, "Now will you stay?"
Now that I've cursed at You? Now that I've starved You of my obviously very endearing presence for a few days? weeks? months? Now that I've written countless poems about everything I think You've done wrong in my life? Now that I've gone out and dragged Your Name through the mud with my actions? Now that I've profaned Your Name by coupling it with words that I use to express my agony? What is God going to do, now that I've given Him every reason to leave me? How does God respond?
After writing my audacious letter to God, I got in my car, and the CD I'd been playing--Tenth Avenue North's "Cathedrals" (!!!!!!)--played the song "Stay." I included an excerpt of it at the beginning of this post. And it made me realize how God responds to my accusations and brokenheartedness.
He does something shocking, something that most people wouldn't do, something that frightens and me and gives me hope and surprises me and saves me, all at the same time.