I need you to lean left.
I have not written.
No, not recently.
The excuse is that I am busy. My calendar-- my alibi. But that’s just a lie to mask the real reason: I am resisting. I have been resisting for a really long time. Because that is sometimes what we do when we love something so much that we are fully aware it could double back to hurt us-- we resist it. Because it changes us. And we are afraid to change.
I want everything to stay the same. I want the same barista. He should never think to pack his bag and move to Nashville. I want the same mug. The same seat. The same moments played on repeat so we can always do this dance of familiarity.
I am afraid of people leaving. There, I said it. I am afraid of people being taken from me. I want to always believe we will make it out of this thing together. I know that won’t always be the case and that hurts like hell. Changing hurts like hell. When people change, they get thirsty for new things. What if you stop being thirsty for me?
... I read an Instagram post from 18 weeks ago tonight.
I know I am not the only girl who has ever laid in her bed, wrapped in a sunshine-yellow blanket, and scrolled through pictures that made up the fragments of yesterday. I read the caption and I started to cry because I didn’t remember praying such a bold prayer in the window of my favorite coffee shop as notebooks full of Charles Spurgeon quotes lay open on the countertop. I prayed to God with an ultimatum underneath my breath: I only want love if it has more layers for me. I don’t want emptiness. I don’t want something tha keeps me full for five minutes. But I don’t want to front it. I don’t want to fake it, either. If you’re real, then be real. Wash over me. Wreck me. Make me feel weak and woozy. I only want this thing if it is real. I only want love if its the kind of love I can go ahead and stop trying to understand. Make this dance too exhausting for me that all I can do, in my own strength, is step on your toes and let you lead.
I prayed that prayer 18 weeks ago. And then my life broke. A week later, my life broke and I still lack the words to say anything more than just that. One day we will talk about it. Maybe one day.
My life broke and I am only starting to see now that God wasn’t being a dictator, he was answering a prayer. He was answering the prayer of a girl who pleaded to know if love was real, if she could actually trust love to be real.
And as I stretched and broke to figure out love, I stopped writing. I just put the pen down. I walked away from writing when I couldn’t walk away from God. It was my last shred of resistance towards him. That last way of saying, “You have me in a corner. You have me pinned to the ground. And I will withhold my favorite gift you’ve given me if it means I have a last sliver of a chance to stay the dark.”
Staying in the dark is easy because it's a hell you can control.
It takes changing to get out of it.
And changing is its own private hell until you realize the truth: one day it won’t hurt like this anymore.
... So I realize that writing is a lot like God.
Both are sacred. Both give you life. Both will wreck you once you realize they were never here to keep you fragile. Both will free you, when you are ready to be free.
Not when you “hope” to be. Not when you “want” to be. No, when you are “ready” to be free. When you stop resisting the page and you heed to the process. You break to the process. You let go and whisper beneath your breath, “I let go. I believe we’re going somewhere better than here. So I finally let go.”
The fog clears. And suddenly I see the truth in God: it’s like everyday he stands in a crowded room waiting to lock eyes with me. Like a dance floor the moment a slow song hits it, I search for other partners frantically. I don't want to be left standing alone. I search for the partners who I know will let me down so I can cry to my best friends while knowing I expected to be let down all along.
That’s how you stay guarded and resistant-- you only let near the ones who won’t stand too long at the lock before they get tired of fumbling with the keys.
And then there is God. And if he is the God of the bible then he never takes his eyes off of you. They don’t wander. They don’t stray. He watches you because he is wild about you.
He likes the drama you bring into daily life. The unruliness of your hair. He digs the freckles you’d prefer to hide. He doesn’t mind the chipped nail polish. He knows that a lot of parts of you are chipped. And that’s because he knows you are human and “human” is just another word for “lovely, messy and trying.”
He is not phased by you. He is not surprised by your darkness. He does not get bored or exasperated or want for something more beautiful to look at. You’re it. You’re just it. He looks at you and sees poetry, not a mistake.
He aches to be trusted. He sees a whole new life for you just standing and waiting on the other side of "trusting you won’t be hurt when you finally surrender."
... We need more chapter books on trust.
Trust & God. God & Trust. In God, we trust. All that jazz.
We need chapters on trust edited, rewritten, and tattooed on our skin. Because trust is hard. And we don’t all trust God and people. We claim to and then we let our actions tell stories about something opposite of that.
Even just yesterday, I was standing in a circle of boys with beards and grease on their jeans. I’ve been hanging out in a motorcycle shop most nights after work. Last night was one of those nights.
“Come on,” one of the guys said to me. “We are going for a ride.”
He hands me a helmet. I tell him it’s not really my thing. He ignores me and waits for me to put the helmet on and climb onto the back of his bike. I do. Eventually, I do.
Soon we are riding. I am holding on tight. I am releasing fearful words from my mouth. Every word is just so fearful that I cringe to think I don’t know how to talk any differently about life and the adventure of it all.
“We are going to turn left,” he says to me. “And when we turn left, I need you to lean left. Okay?”
I am worried he will mess it up. I am worried we will go down and get battered. I am worried that we won’t make the turn. He will let me down. I will have had all the right reasons to be so afraid.
Regardless of if I am ready, we turn left.
He leans. I lean.
We make it.
Again, we turn left.
He leans. I lean.
My grip loosens. We are in a straight away and I raise up one hand in the air to let the wind trickle through my fingers. I laugh for the first time in a really long time. We go over a speed bump and I don’t flinch. After the third or fourth bump, I stop noticing the rise we get in the air.
I realize in that moment, with the night and the engine roaring loudly, that if I ever want to enjoy this journey then I am going to need to learn how to trust. How to let go. How to admit that I am not in control. I am not the driver, I am just the one who leans left.
So I loosen up the grip and just trust we are going to make it.
I need not be afraid to lean.
We are going to make that left turn.
We are going to make it.