Plz dont hate me. Plz, plz dont hate me.
I think I already knew what she was going to say, and my heart fractured on two faultlines. On the words that hadn’t quite yet fallen of her mouth yet, and on this sweet heart that, in fourteen short years, had already come to know that love far too often comes with strings attached, with terms and conditions and expected behaviors.
I promised her with all the honesty in all of the fibers of my being that literally nothing she could say would make me hate her, or even make me love her the tiniest bit less. And then I waited out the silence.
I might be pregnant. He didnt use a condom and he didnt pull out. He told me he would but he didnt.
And there just aren’t words in the English language sufficient for the kind of prayers you desperately long to whisper in a moment like that. A moment like that is why Paul wrote about a God who prays prayers for us, who utters groanings too deep for words.
God Almighty, these are groanings too deep for words.
And she cried and I cried and she spilled the fear that her mama would kick her out of the house. That she, with her dead daddy and addicted mama, couldn’t raise a kid on her own. That she was alone and damaged and broken beyond repair and that she didn’t even have anyone to take her to the clinic one time for an abortion, let alone to the doctor for nine months straight. No adult support system, no job, no car, no childcare. No life to offer a baby.
I am a capable wordsmith, and I have all of the feelings and none of the language for this one. All of the feelings and none of the language for that moment when I’m fully prepared to get in my car, close the distance between me and the child who just grew up in an instance, press my fair-skinned cheek to her dark-skinned forehead, and tell her “You will never raise your baby alone, because I. Am. Here. You will know darkness and hurt and regret and fear, but you will not for one second know those things alone. I will drive you to your appointments, I will hold your hand in labor, I will make space in my house, I will walk the floor with your kid while your head is bent over your calculus homework at midnight. Joshua will teach your kid how to ride a bike, and if it’s a girl, you’d best believe he will make sure every boy her age within a 50 mile radius knows his name and that he takes full advantage of his constitutional right to bear arms. He will walk her down the aisle after he’s spent years teaching her by example how a man treats a woman. We will walk with you through this. You, my precious love, are not alone. Now or ever.”
This is my story. This is my fire. This is my conviction, that I am here to bind up the brokenhearted. To actually, in real life, hold their broken pieces together. To literally, practically patch up their wounds and pursue healing with them, alongside them.
Can you imagine? I think about this all the time, about what the world would be like if the church stopped being known for its attempts to legislate morality and started being known for all the times she’s shown up on the doorstep, ready to do whatever messy work needs to be done. What if we actually started living as though we belong to each other? Because genuinely, I believe we do. Despite all the voices telling me that this sweet baby girl isn’t my responsibility.
Because isn’t she?
I cannot for the life of me shaking the feeling that it’s the only way. I want to, I want to shake that feeling. I am a messy ball of humanity, and it is my first inclination to orient my life around my own stuff, my own preferences, my own life, my own comfort.
But does that mean it’s the way of Jesus? Has it ever been the way of Jesus to just leave us where we are and hope from a distance that we can pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and fix the mess we’re in? I can’t rationalize holding that philsophy in one hand and the theology of the cross in the other.
What if we make it our responsibility to live like we belong to each other? What if we pray first and foremost for a fire in our veins, for a love that doesn’t allow us to see any other road but showing up for each other, messy and imperfect but with open hands?