I thought that forgiveness was just something we did to move on; I didn’t know that forgiveness could make me happy until it was him that I finally forgave.

We were born between train tracks
and dark skyscrapers. I knew becoming brave
began when our voices shook and we prayed to
moonlit steering wheels,
looking out at white dotted lines on a black, concrete ocean
and sometimes pretending the other cars passing by were the roaring waves.

Where did we learn to be heroes?
There in the tiled halls of that molding white church,
running rebels with a teacher’s stolen car keys jingling in our pockets
while our parents sat in Sunday school rooms
praying for us?
Or when we sunk our feet in gravel parking lots
and let cigar smoke fill the space we saw stretching out between us
saying, “It’s fine;
we’re fine”?

Where did we learn to lie?
There in the room crowded with couches we’d taken turns sleeping on
before we crossed our legs on the cushions, pointed fingers,
pretending to not know each other
while the peeling grey wallpaper knew better?
Or when we sat in a half-lit room staring at a child who thought
only death would make him smile again, all thinking
a signature on a release form would make him better?

How did we learn to trust?
There clawing at the crumbling mudded sides of the hill by the river,
while your outstretched hand was reaching for me to let me know
that I could stand up straight and walk?
Or when God let our hearts get broken in childhood bedrooms
and standing shivering on city bridges?

Where did we learn to be sorry?
There in a coffee shop when we saw that forgiveness
is more than something you do to just move on,
but something that can make you happy when you forgive
the right person?
Or there in the bakery when the scraping of two chairs
creeping closer together
on top of orange tiles was forgiveness’ validation?

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We sat at a bar in a coffee shop, and she told me to get mad at God; I didn’t understand what she meant and asked her if that was allowed

It was the kind of coffee shop you didn’t like to go in because going in meant seeing faces you didn’t want to have to explain your heart to.
This time, I wasn’t there to write another “His and Hers” piece; I wasn’t there to grab a Satin Mocha, sneak-in-sneak-out, visit an old friend or meet a new one.

This time I was there to stare a year in the face. 

And he had blue eyes. 

He drinks coffee now.
He never drank coffee. I used to have to argue with him about not making me feel bad for being the only one getting a cup of coffee back when I was the type of girl who felt bad for being the only one who wanted coffee.
But, he drinks coffee now.

And then coffee turned into apologies and explanations and how much nothing had changed between us; coffee and apologies turned in to dinner; dinner turned into Christmas shopping; Christmas shopping turned in to seeing his dreams become something we could touch, something he could put on and wear, and it fit him in the dressing room of a uniform store. Then it all turned back into late night car rides with no place to go, ice cream and soda, and secrets told that only God had known as truths until we said them out loud to each other.

Like 2014 had never happened. 

Full circle. 

2013 ended and 2014 started, me losing my hold, my claim, on the one person I knew like I know my ABCs.
And then I fell in love.
I write these words with a golden sharpie on the pages of a golden notebook, but I’m finding very few golden things left to hold onto from 2014. I fell in love just to lose it, and there’s nothing golden about that.
And that’s how I thought I would start the new year of 2015 and every year for the rest of my life: him loving me, and me loving him, feeling no pain.

But let’s talk about God. 

Let’s talk about God like He’s not in the room, because we sure can run our mouths about the people who didn’t get an invite to the party.
So I’m going to talk about God like He’s not in the room and like you’re someone who won’t go blabbing about what you read: 

I don’t get God. 

I spend more time trying to understand how He works than taking the time to stop and thank Him for how He already has worked and how He is going to work. And sometimes I ask things like, 

God, don’t You feel this heart beating in Your own hands? Don’t You know it? Then Tell me, how can it be that You watched it get fooled in its hopefulness and joy– how can it be that You let it break in Your hands?

But let me tell you something else: I sat down for coffee with a boy with blue eyes, and now I am sure–

My God is not a confusing God who knows my heart but gives and takes away anyways;
My God is a God who see Himself already walking with me by a glassy sea,
and I’M the one who forgets.


So, I’m late. I’m late on the whole “Peace out 2014, 2015 is about to be my year” blog post about all the little things 2014 supposedly taught me and all of the wonders I’m wondering about for 2015.
If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t want to let go of 2014.
Let me tell you, there are parts of this girl still scattered all over 2014, refusing to loosen their grip on nights, weeks, letters, moments, whispers. 

To me, starting a new year meant having to just relive the same 365 days remembering what you did and who you were with the previous 365 in the year before. No thank you, I’m reliving all of my favorite moments most nights and mornings now, and I think that’s quite enough for me to have to handle. 

So, I’m late:

Peace out 2014, 2015 is about to be a year.

It’s fifteen days into 2015. It’s fifteen days into the new year, and the year is already dealing me my next tattoo idea:

“It’s going to be okay.”

“Don’t worry, in five years from now, you’ll be able to say his name again.”

“This is just a moment, this isn’t your whole life.”

“You’ve been promised joy– that’s how this is all going to end.”

“It’s going to be okay.” 

These words have been my words to spit out for the past fifteen days.
These words have come and dealt their weight, and I have smiled across Waffle House tables at friends who felt the heaviness of these words.
And the words have kept coming.

Please tell me that it doesn’t just stop at “It’s going to be okay.”

What happens in the little spaces between “going-to-be” and “okay”?
Tell me how it plays out in the next five years it takes for her to be able to say his name?
And yeah, this moment isn’t her whole life, but it’s more real to her than whatever monsters she’s going to be fighting when she’s thirty.

It can’t just start and end with “It’s going to be okay.” 

God’s been there; He’s been in the tears on closet carpets, He’s been at the Waffle Houses while I danced to Katy Perry, and He’s been in the car at the gas pump at the gas station off of highway 92 when I wanted to know why He wouldn’t just give me a good girlfriend who would just stay. My middle school years let me go, and my high school years were too eager to pass me off to college, and He never once gave me what I asked for.
Because He knew the immeasurably more that was just out of might sight: a girl from Connecticut that I would get to run away with, get lost with, eat bacon with, and worship Him with.
And let me tell you something, it’s better than anything He could have given me all this time. 

And I also know that I started 2014 writing about a boy with blue eyes that I never thought I would speak to again, and sure enough, I was going Christmas shopping with him by the end of that same year.

There’s more to being “okay” than just the “going to be” part. 

2014 didn’t start or end the way I thought it would, and not just because the boy I wanted to end it with didn’t show up to kiss me; a few people I didn’t see coming did. 

It’s fifteen days into 2015. And it’s about the immeasurably more. It’s about this faithfulness that sounds more like an anthem, a promise we forgot was ever made even thought it’s already been fulfilled.

Yes, if there’s one thing that 2014 taught me: His faithfulness is my battle cry. 

Here’s to 2015: not being so worried about where the puzzle pieces go, but paying more attention to what the puzzle pieces look like.
Because I think that’s what the “going to be okay” looks like.

“For the British Boy With Blue Eyes Who Thinks I Only Know How to Write About Grey Things”

December sky,
sweaters hugging our shoulders,
ocean birds,
and running
from cold water
that chased our toes
like five year olds
playing tag.

Deep breaths to taste the salt
in the air; gasping, dancing,
spinning off every piece of our lives
that made our lungs feel heavy,
as easy as shaking off the sand
from our jeans.

Disappeared just so we could
let go
of all the things we didn’t want to have to come home to.

The camera flashed,
figures that were shaken onto film;
one shot to make it right
and asking God to let this
be the life I live:
a little yellow polaroid
and white framed photos
that fit in our pink palms,
one chance
to catch a sliver of golden lighting,
the messy fading of color,
a moment in all of its
flawed and fleeting stillness,
and being able to smile
at whatever shows up
on the blank, white space.