A year ago, I wrote about the death of my ideal best friend.
A week from today, I will be Canada-bound, to Prince Edward Island, the actual landscape where Anne Shirley’s dream-world gave way to a true reality. Every time I think about seeing that place, the fields and coastline and white cherry trees, I start crying.
It took me a bit, but now I know why.
Part of the story of this past winter is the Great Fear I discovered residing deep in my cavernous places. Those interlocking hallways are the landmass to my ocean floor. Skittering in and out of holes in the stone are lies like rats—unseen, unwanted, yet evidenced in my emotional scraps. They are the looters to my urchins, pillaging any stronghold of truth with terror, scattering my orphans to the safety of my sea grasses.
There the Great Fear ripened in the dank of my ignorance, roiled in my inattentiveness, began clawing its way up to the light as pain humiliated my defenses:
You are alone…no one is coming for you.
You are not enough…
You cannot be happy…
And the one that sent tremors through every foundation, every bedrock, every heartbeat: God is not enough for you.
It was by a campfire, alone, that he came to me. He brought with him one of those time-capsule tins, rusted and encased with dirt.
I knew we had to delve in, didn’t feel too eager, but had promised him that in that hallway of fearful doors, I wouldn’t go slamming left and right but enter into any room he indicated.
He took me into the cloisters of my youth, each pillar a different young man I grew my heartstrings around like a vine, until I was entangled beyond understanding of where my roots began–there was one who I prayed for routinely, without missing a day, another who pledged to wait for me, a third–the one–whose strength appeared enough to prove my counterpart loveliness, and whose mystique distanced him enough to be whatever reality I could construct in my heart.
All who chose another woman. Reinforced in my heart that no one was coming for me.
He took me into the pool house in Texas, in 2012, where my heart was broken for the first time, and showed me the angels stationed there–one at the door, one beside me, one at my feet–that have followed me my entire life.
They have names, he told me. Mercy, Tenderness, and Willingness. And you are Grace.
He took me to my living room couch, a week or so after that Texas visit, where I was narrating in a black-and-white pocket journal–through my hiccuping tears–the pain that consumed me.
This is the place you shut your heart down, he told me. Where you lost your faith in me.
He lifted from my shoulders a backpack of regret for those I had hurt with my reckless heart. I will take care of them.
He pointed out lies I agreed with. You are not your own worst enemy. You are redeemed and walk with my Spirit.
He released me from my worry that I will never be free in my own expression of our hearts. You are like this coal, dancing on the inside. Now blow on it. My Spirit will set the flame, and you will spread.
It was by that campfire he promised to cross out every fear of never finding a home.
Anne of Green Gables doesn’t dwell in my soul because she’s a writer, or a troublemaker, or a young woman who finds romance in everything.
She shares my heart because she’s an orphan. She finds a home, a family. A place to belong and be loved.
I don’t understand how it’s possible to have such a grounded upbringing and still feel like an orphan, except that it reveals my sheer need for God in my cavernous places. Places that have been there since I was twelve, since I was eighteen, since yesterday.
A week from today, God is taking me to Prince Edward Island. I have been wandering in the desert, but he will bring me home to Eden, that garden we have sown. He speaks to the orphan in me with tenderness and mercy, loves me into willingness.
There is a field, he promises. I’ll meet you there.
And there, I believe, I will find he is enough.