passing home

I told Jesus last week he could take me home. I wasn’t depressed. Just felt done. I had dropped a friend off at her house, stopped at the bank where I saw Nate from afar and paid a whole $15 to my credit card. I was headed back to “work” and the sun was so hot the road simmered in the late afternoon. I was humming a merrry tune on a Christian station and I just had this passing moment where I felt finished. “you can take me home, anytime,” I thought or prayed or said–I’m not entirely sure which.

Yesterday I was hiking with friends and we trekked through a shallow stream with deep holes that soaked up to my thighs as we scrambled moss covered walks on our way upstream to the waterfalls. And then we climbed the waterfalls–on the high steep bank covered in graveled sand. It was steep and it was a high perch where we crossed over and back down to the rear of the falls. I had to make Daniel come back for me. I was stuck, frozen in place in a precarious position with my barefeet gripping anxiously at the angled hillside. I held Daniel’s foot and scrambled for a tree root. But then, I turned around, thinking to scoot across on my rear. Almost immediately I lost my footing and slid forward a few inches towards the edge. “Shit!” I squealed. And Daniel called to Shawn to grab me. I swore again and then muttered to myself, “I told Jesus he could take me home, but I didn’t mean to go like this.”

Shawn laughed as he helped pull me across. “It’s not such a bad place, I can imagine worse places to die.”

I looked down at the water crashing happily over the smooth worn rocks into the shallow poool below. For a brief (and somewhat morbid) moment I imagined myself lying at the bottom of the rocky base, eyes vacant and soul flitting up to the wide blue sky. And I glanced at the banks marked with trees and the high rocky ridge above and felt the sunshine blazing across our backs–there are far worse ways to go.

Of course, I made it across with Shawn’s help, slid down the other side and washed off in the water with Stacie before we concluded the hike and headed out to Sonic for malts and slushes.

But I’m still done with the world. I shared a meal with a friend recently who had first come into my life as a perky and innocent young woman eager for success and full of great big dreams. But the woman I saw across the table from me at that meal was broken and empty. She’s watched her life be ripped away from her–by a terrible series of managers, two boyfriends and lately her family has almost disowned her. She’s putting a good show on. She almost convinces you that she’s okay. She wanted to be with him that night, though its cost her so much. She’ll be put to rights with her family in a few months once she straightens out some details. She’ll even find a new job soon–except she hasn’t applied for any.

I hurt for her. She’s had everything taken and she doesn’t even know Jesus to hold her together. And she’s not the only one. I have loads of friends like her. We used to joke about corrupting students at school who’d been homeschooled before arriving at college. It seemed amusing to those of us who went to public high schools and even at 17 or 18 had friends who were alcoholics and drug addicts. But now, I’ve watched people be corrupted, and I don’t like it. It’s painful and messy and the worst part is:

there’s no coming back.

Once the damage is done, it’s over. You can’t undo it. There’s healing, for sure. But there’s no complete healing htat takes it all away. Jesus is good and Jesus heals the broken hearted. But he can’t give my friend back her virginity and he can’t give another friend back her childhood with a father who wasn’t abusive or alcoholic. And he can’t give back the cousin (and brother) who died when the van wrapped around the tree. He heals, sure enough. But Jesus, I thought, I’m so done here. I’m done watching the world go to pieces and having to stand at the side watching it tear itself to apart. Just take me away.

I know I’m still here though, so apparently I can’t go home. Not yet, anyway.

And it’s not as though I’m going to throw myself into traffic. It was just a fleeting moment that said…I could be ready. And I wouldn’t necessarily mind. In fact, it might just be the best thing ever.

{and I told her you went wandering down the halls of the hospital crying, 
“oh sweet Jesus, just take me home.” And I’m sure it was
bad then, but it’s a good laugh now, you know?}

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