Tuesday, August 27, 2013

it was then that i carried you

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes of his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints...

It was then that I carried you."

Most people have heard of or read the "Footprints" poem, and I hesitate to post it because of its over-use. But I hope you keep reading.

There is a night that I return to often in my memory. A night that I will never forget, because it was the night that I was at the lowest I have ever been, and hopefully will ever be. 

It was the night when I discovered what true love is.

When I moved to Denver to be near my boyfriend, Michael*, we were so excited about being in the same place after dating long distance for a year, that we didn't think through how challenging it would be. Take the normal challenges of quitting your job, moving away from your friends and roommate that you love, leaving your family, and starting over and add onto that a mental illness and you've got a recipe for disaster. I just didn't know how sick I was. Denver showed me.

I had a job that I hated, I couldn't make ends meet financially, I was living alone, my family was 1,000 miles away and I had no kindred spirits. No friends beyond friends -- people who knew me, loved me, and were safe. The people I met and knew and befriended in Denver were amazing and I don't mean to  toss that aside. But being so sick, so depressed, living in such darkness, I just needed people who understood and loved me no matter what. But all I had was Michael. 

And he became my rock. My confidante. My best friend. My everything.

And he never abandoned me. Not when I would scream at him for no reason. Not when I would fight with him over nothing at all. Not when I would cry desperately for his attention when he had other things to do. Not when I threatened to crash my car on my way home because I couldn't stand to be alive. He never left and never gave up.

But this one particular night, it was worse than ever.

Michael and I had made plans for the evening to get together and watch a movie. I was counting on him to come over, but what I thought was a set plan was a "maybe" to him -- a simple miscommunication. But I couldn't handle it. My mind took this as this ultimate rejection, the deepest pain possible. It's not something I could ever explain. Everything seemed to come crashing down in that moment. I just felt so desperately alone and sad that I couldn't take it anymore.

I tried to get out of my work clothes and into my pajamas, but as I got undressed, the weight of the world and all my pain and sickness and darkness crumbled onto my shoulders and I fell to the floor in hysterical tears. I couldn't stand up.

I lied there crying in my underwear for I don't know how long. I tried to get up to brush my teeth, but on the way to the bathroom, I collapsed again. I saw the bottle of sleeping pills on the bathroom counter and I thought, "What would happen if I took as many as I could?" What would happen? Would I finally be able to die and stop feeling like I was locked in a prison cell? Would I finally be able to breathe? I couldn't handle the weight. I couldn't handle being so desperately sad that it was physically crippling. 

Clutching to my faith in God, I reminded myself once again that I would never, never do that. With whatever determination I had left, I crawled back into my room, forcing myself to move one inch at a time. This took every ounce of willpower I had.

When I got through the door, I collapsed in a heap on the floor. I somehow managed to call Michael and say, "I need you."

Before I knew it, Michael came to my apartment and saw his girlfriend, lying on the floor with no clothes on. So desperate, so miserable, so vulnerable, so broken.

No words were exchanged. Michael came to me right away and with all the love in his aching heart, he swooped me up off the ground into his arms and carried me like a baby into my bed. He dressed me and rubbed my back as I finally drifted off into sleep, the safest haven I had from my sickness.

He saw me in my brokenness and loved me anyway.

It was then that I carried you.

Michael has blessed me with the gift of a selfless love that is the truest reflection of Christ's love I have ever seen. He saw me in my weakest, darkest, ugliest place and loved me anyway. Not only did he love me, he carried me. He picked up my burden and took it upon himself.

But the beauty is that Michael is not Jesus, and He cannot be my everything. Part of the reason Michael suggested I move home in April was because he had become my everything. He needed to step out of the way for Christ to come forward, for Jesus to be my everything once again. 

I weep at Michael's love for me. I weep at his giving nature, his compassion, his selflessness.

And I think of what this shows me about Christ's love. Michael's love for me is absolutely insignificant next to Christ's. And when I think of that... my goodness am I overwhelmed.

Jesus' love for me is never-ending, infinite, selfless, giving, compassionate, nurturing, unconditional, understanding, empathetic... It is the love of a confidante, best friend, brother, father, husband... all in one. I am overwhelmed at the thought that anyone could love me that much.

But how can I deny it when He has given me the gift of a mirror that I know shows only a fraction of this love? 

It was then that I carried you.

Jesus was there that night, carrying us both. I cannot imagine the heartache my sickness has caused and continues to cause Michael. It is something I will never understand and I have a hard time forgiving myself for it, although I know it isn't my fault. But Jesus carries him as he carries me, through the suffering, the sorrow, the darkness. 

I am humbled and overwhelmed and at peace knowing that, even in my brokenness - no, especially in my brokenness - I am in the arms of the Man who loves me the most in this world.


*names will be changed in this blog to protect privacy

No comments:

Post a Comment