On Seeing Yourself

Photo Credit: Felicia

It happened in the coffee shop, after hours.

Your spirit rolled somersaults in the falling snow outside the window. I could laugh at your delight, despite my agony.

Agony at the weeks passing by in which I could not sense your immediate affection. Is it possible to sit in it all the time? was my question.

I had been careful with my time. Stealing away moments with you, long, premeditated moments that, for some elusive reason, were never momentous. I have walked in equal measure the road of reveling in love-feelings and the road of trusting love-truths. I shy away from neither, you know that.

But this road doesn’t feel like either of those roads, and I can’t make out the signs.

Oh, I have my theories.

There must be warfare, so I’m rebuking spirits–only I can’t locate the evidence of Satan’s scheming, like you are protecting me, or something.

There must be flesh, so I’m looking for sins, calling them out, repenting. Only I don’t feel sorry, just guilty that I don’t feel sorry, and the words fill my mouth like hot ash–like the remainder of a burnt offering when you only wanted my heart.

(What if I haven’t done anything wrong? No, I can’t think that. That’s arrogant.)

There must be an idol. I’ve erected one in my heart, I just need to figure out which one. But your spirit isn’t saying anything–hasn’t said anything for weeks, actually.

I found a Bible on the mantle and read the first twenty-five psalms, words that showered like snowflakes.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord…

               Arise, O Lord; save me…

Know that the Lord has set apart for Himself she who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him. 

Have mercy  on my O Lord, for I am weak.          

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow
               in my heart daily? 

                          You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from you. 

Who can understand her errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.
Then I shall be blameless, and shall be innocent of great transgression. 

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;
on You I wait all the day.

Who is the woman who fears the Lord?
She shall He teach in the way that He chooses.

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. 

            Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind
and my heart. 

                                                       I have not sat with idolatrous mortals,
nor will I go in with hypocrites. 

But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; redeem me
and be merciful to me.

I stared at the frosty trees across the slick highway and wondered why I never put those three thoughts together before–walking in my integrity because you redeem me, but always needing your mercy for my inability to do it perfectly.

Look at me.

Your spirit slowed in the falling snow, almost as if the flakes were suspended midair.

I love you no matter what. You have not failed me.

A sob caught in my throat, but the tears ran.

Whether you fail or you succeed, I will love you, okay?

I let out a muffled okay…

Don’t you see yourself as I see you?

No. I see myself always in a misstep.

You’ve done nothing wrong.

But there must be an idol.

There’s isn’t.

Is there anything I need to repent of?

You have neglected my word. 

That one I felt. Oh, Father, forgive me. Forgive me for thinking sitting in your affection looks only like joy and delight and warmth–for surely you also feel sorrow, pain, and grief. Surely you move, and to sit in your affection is to walk with you.

Why didn’t you say anything before?

You had to see it for yourself. 

For how I see myself is inextricable from how I see you…

Father, I am afraid to claim this. Already I hear the accusation of its arrogance and pride, how will people interpret–

Send anyone with an accusation to me and I will defend you. 

As you defended the psalmist. As you defend your sons and daughters.

Teach me in the way you choose, that I may walk uprightly in your lovingkindness and grace.

Teach me to walk alongside you in your affection.





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