After much delay here is Part 4 in the Crisis Series. You may want to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before proceeding.
I wish things were clearer. It's like waking from a gripping dream unable to connect the dots. Some scenes are remembered perfectly, but the transitions between them can't be recalled.
This is the period my story is shifting into, a season of vagueness. This is why I have been avoiding the telling of it. I am concerned that I cannot tell it right. Not in a way that will do it justice. So much of what happens next could not be seen with the eye. It took place beneath the surface, in the places known only to myself.
My life was bright at the time, externally bright. Obviously I experienced the normal pangs and twangs of teenage-hood, but at 16 the circumstances of my life were more than placid. They were pleasant.
Yet no matter how pleasant a life can seem to the outside observer, when there is no light dwelling on the inside darkness reigns.
At 14 I chose to bar God from my life, but the barring did not shut out the fear, the anxiety and the sadness. I searched for balms in other pastures, but there were none. And my spirit became slowly more agitated. God hadn't answered my questions, but neither had anything else.
I spent out my soul in wonderings the way the prodigal spent his inheritance in his wanderings. And like him I ended up hungry.
Sometimes I would cautiously pick up my Bible, a slim bluish leather-bound NIV which I had tossed to the back of an upper shelf. At twelve and thirteen when I first began to slip into crisis I burried myself in the middle of it. I would flatten out the pages of Psalms and take a notebook and begin to copy the lines out word for word. Reading it wasn't sufficient. I needed to create the words with my own hands.
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.
Cloistered off in my room I filled pages in secret, because I felt a great shame that my heart was so unsteady. How can you tell others you are afraid when you have no explanation for what you fear. You fear existing.
I knew, even in my retaliation against it, that the Bible was made up of bread, food that fed hungry people.
Perhaps in my Father's house there was enough food and perhaps if I snuck in softly enough he would let me sit on the edges of the table to catch the crumbs?
I wanted to come home, but humble pie tastes so unbearably bitter. There had to be a way to soften my reentry into the Christian universe, to consider converting subtly and inconspicuously without looking like a fool.
A plan began growing within me, a plan to run away.
I accelerated my high school courses, graduated early and was going away to college in the fall. At Birmingham Southern College I would major in theatre, triumph in my studies and get my life pulled together away from the "I told you so" gazes of others.
At least that's what I intended.
To Be Continued...