She screamed, “Sanctuary!”

A best friend,
nine years,
an inside of an elbow that my arm fit perfectly in,
a voice across the counter asking, “Trust me,”
the collar bone I laid my head against when my sugar dropped,
a prom date,
the one who taught me how to clean my windshield,
a wink at high school graduation,
the tough hands that held mine through haunted houses and along steep edges of a river,
the ribcage I had molded myself around for the slow days we spent on a couch watching movies we’d already seen ten times,
shoulders I’d been desperate to feel cover me on my eighteenth birthday,
a white rose,
a single slice of red velvet cake that tasted better just because he’d remembered,
John Mayer,
cigar smoke in empty parking lots,
the soft patch of grass outside his house that the wheels of my parked car had worn thin,

And somehow,
the deeper his knife dug into my back,
the sweeter the memories tasted on this inside of my cheeks,
blood in my mouth;

We remember people better than they actually were,
the cuts they healed,
not the scars they carved;
God’s way of not leaving us hopeless
when we get left.

a mindset: “people aren’t worth it
because they
fool you;
If someone who loved me for nine years can just
there is not love
that will ever know how to stay.”

I remembered;
the healed skin,
the blood that had dried in my mouth.

I didn’t like the way
my own blood tasted.

I remembered.

And so I said,
No thank you,
I will take my cuts,
and I will put pressure on them


There was a boy;
four months,
the Underground,
air hockey,
a boyfriend,
six months,
the text I read over and over again sitting at Peachford Psychiatric Hospital for a second time (this trip with my friend, not my cousin),
getting caught in the rain,
first kisses,
“I love you” written in Bench Diaries and whispered in dark rooms,
pinky promises,
front row seats and back stage passes,
tropical beaches,
waking up at three in the morning just to pull me closer and kiss the part of my face where my cheek meets my ear,
Braves games,
slow dances,
forever on our lips over and over again,

He showed up
when I didn’t want to see
the things in people that made them
worth loving;

He showed up
and righted all the wrongs
I had convinced myself of
just by being the person he was.

My shelters had been made out of hay and twigs,
but still I screamed, “Sanctuary, Sanctuary, Sanctuary!

And just like that,
the wind showed right back up,
and blew my house down.

Now I pray almost as often as I breathe:
walking through the doorway at work, my hands covered in caulk;
heading down the sidewalk by the road to my first class;
watching Say Yes To The Dress with my family;
staring at my ceiling fan at 2:45 in the morning;
looking for trash bags in target;
sitting in my car before church;
hopping out of the shower;
sitting across from a friend in a coffee shop.

Make it stop, God. Please just make it stop.”

Because I thought love was the only thing on this planet that I could not touch with my words, but now there is this unbearable pain, and my fingers come no where close enough to being able to touch it with my heart’s words.

Love is not something you do in halves;
it shows no partiality.
And please listen to this–
the next time someone tries to love you in halves:
that is not love.
We should stop glorifying the struggle,
and just start choosing people instead.

You are worth more than a love that loves you in halves.


I met a boy in fourth grade, and by the time I was a sophomore in high school
I started putting down benches and hanging stained glass windows
and calling him Sanctuary. 

And when that burned to the grown, I thought it would just get better if I took my pews and my stained glass and found somewhere else to put them.

I ran from my house of hay to my house of twigs like a scared little pig, and convinced myself that they could stand.

But my Sanctuary is not a place for pews or stained glass.

My Sanctuary is a God who loves me so much that He was tired of me looking at old, brown buildings–people– and saying,
“This, here– Now I am safe.”

So He huffed and He puffed and He blew my houses down,
until the only place I had left to run,
was Him. 


3 thoughts on “She screamed, “Sanctuary!”

  1. A mightily humbling experience, I see. Wisdom gained. And clearer eyes. This is BEAUTIFUL – your realization & your words. Keep on keepin on with Him as your foundation.

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