the highest form of flattery

we were next to the fireplace and her eyes were shut tight as she sang out to god. don’t let my love grow cold.  it was getting close to the end of autumn and when the song turned unexpected and the words sang to be clothed in white so she wouldn’t be ashamed, i felt like i was punched in the stomach.

i met this girl when i first came to church.  her skin was like snow untouched, her eyes were placed like destinations and i thought she was the most beautiful person i’d seen in real life.

she sang out next to me to be clothed in white and i saw then that she was not who i had imagined she was.

even though shame was in each step i took and in every glance away, i wasn’t about to admit it.  how could i?  how would the word feel on my lips?  what would happen to me if i said it out loud?

the fireplace roared and the room got smaller.

i wondered how i’d ended up in this cabin with these people who loved jesus.  i’d driven myself there.  my husband was there.  but this was more than i’d expected.

and now the holy spirit was there pounding in my chest when the words of the song mentioned shame.  the music ended and later my friends went to sleep outside in the too cold night out on a boat tied to the dock.

i followed them with blankets and we stared up into the starry sky above the water and talked about the vastness of the universe, the vastness of god.  we fell asleep and i woke up cold and disoriented and carried myself back up to the house.  i came in and fell asleep by the fire dying down.

you can find the cross in a thousand places.  but when it really is found, it gets personal.

the doors we open up for jesus aren’t the ones he knocks on.  that one, back there, with all the nailed up boards barring the way, all the locks with keys gone missing, that’s where he wants to come in.

i watched that weekend.  i watched a girl i thought i knew revealed as she worshipped jesus.  i felt the hot branding iron of god get too close, closer than i’d let it get before.  i took another step towards the cross and towards the door that jesus was waiting for me to open.

i wasn’t ready to unlock it, but i looked around the room and i liked what i saw.

repost from the archives


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