I have a clear glass jar wound with twine and filled with stones on a mantle in our living room. This simple jar takes me down a long path to my past that is intertwined with my present and future. With a paint pen I have written on those stones each time God has spoken to me throughout my life. Some of the times were during painful travels to my childhood memories; others were during times of beauty. Each of these stones represent hope that one day I will be so close to God that I will be able to fully experience Him not only with my heart but also by sight, smell, and touch. The stones hold the stories of my abuse and they reflect the image of God for God took the time and care to reach me when despairing to remind me of hope. Hope that there will be a time outside of this time, hope that even though I see darkness He has me bathed in light, hope that one day I will have a body untouched by abuse.
When I pull out a stone with the words “I am always wanting to hold your hand” I remember sitting in a room stripped of humanity in a psych ward waiting to be evaluated because I had wanted death more than life. The stone with “there’s more I have for you to learn” shakily written on a weathered and beaten rock brings back the reason I was sitting in the psych ward in the first place. At the age of 46 I drove out of state in an attempt to make it harder for my body to be found and drank enough alcohol to make sure when I took all the pills I had accumulated there would be no use in resuscitation. Death couldn’t be as painful as living I reasoned. Feeling utterly alone in this life filled with so many, I heard God speak. He was with me wanting me to choose life. In my aloneness, God was there. The pain didn’t ease right away. In some ways the grief became harder to bear. Yet, I have learned. I have learned how to see hope. I have learned about God’s “eyes only on me” kind of love. He wants me to not just bear this pain but to see His life and love. He is continually looking for and providing ways to love on me. Incessant in His love, all He asks of me is to keep my eyes open to receive the beauty of it.
A square black rock has the words YHVH Go’el, my Kinsman Redeemer. I am like Ruth, ostracized and rejected but sought after, valued, treasured, and cherished. In Song of Songs, God’s luxurious love gently but persistently woes ME, His princess. His non-ending uninhibited love envelopes me even when I am feeling unlovable, even when I see only darkness. I am betrothed to Him and he calls me His beloved.
Suffering seems to be a part of life. But, I have found a beauty in this life that eases that deep ache for my genuine home.