Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Fingers Around My Sternum, Pulling Me Foward

Memories of God #7

Ambiguous story tonight. Few details because they're hard to report.

In the final years of being in college, I was appalled by the fact that I was in a relationship with a man. To call it a "relationship" is to define it broadly. It involved some strong emotions, most of them involving me in a puddle of tears telling God I'm sorry and I wouldn't do it again.

It was not a healthy time.

There are . . . events? That suggests definite occurrences. There were ongoing tugs. If you're praying an awful lot, you might expect God to answer, I suppose. There were no answers that I wanted at the time, none that seem to address the immediate situation.

But--and I may have mentioned this before somewhere, as it's a favorite illustration--a dearly departed friend once described God as a triage doctor. God looks at the wounds and decides which are the most life-threatening and gets to work on that. My being gay was not the biggest threat to me just then.

I hesitate to talk about this time because I know how fortunate I am. Any number of people in similar situations have not received this answer and have perished. Not everyone escapes the whirlpool. Still, this is my story . . .

As I felt the pull of an undertow, I felt some sort of tug into the future. This is how I've described it before and it still seems the best description: It was as if the fingers of a hand were plunged into my chest, between my ribs, and grabbed hold of my sternum, like that was the best handhold to pull me up. It is one of my images of hope. When the whirlpool looked like it might win, this painful grip got hold of me and pulled me into the future, out of the sadness and despair. A painful but insistent hope.

I can't explain it. Maybe shouldn't try. Here I am and it hurt to get past those years, but I've had some amazing joy along the way, too. No regrets. Happy to have felt the grip of God on my bones to bring me to this place.

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