“I am in Colorado. My heart, as expected, feels as though it has been shattered and the pieces spread out — some even discarded as useless or dead. Necessary, I find, for the radical formation of a new heart… I’ll keep watch. There is something for me here. I can almost smell it.”
I wrote those words only a few days after signing the lease and moving into my apartment in Colorado Springs in February of 2011. I knew as Amy and I crossed into the state and I took one look at those mountains, I would not stay here long. I remember feeling so small against the shadow line of those foothills at dusk — trying to analyze their every crevice and un-trick my eyes from the perception of those mountains as carnival rides covered in dark blankets for off season.
This was anything but off season.
The rumors began in my bones only weeks into living in an entirely new place.
Something was coming.
Something was changing.
Something was falling away.
Promises were made in the unspoken recesses of my heart. Faith was being asked of me in ways I could not categorize or even fully grip — though grip I did try. I am here to testify, by the way, that gripping and clawing at one’s “reasonable” faith is a bit like trying to solve a problem like Maria…
One infamous Sunday morning sermon rang violently in the caverns of my inner cathedral as I thought I had finally understood my own world. I had finally taken hold of the air. And now, though my lenses were foggy and the way was dark as the Mines of Moriah, I know that I was right.
Hope was offered under a big, clean, shiny bow.
Value was being proven.
Heart was being enfleshed.
Something “so much bigger” than me was happening, as the pastor had delivered so enthusiastically that morning.
The cosmos had opened and the single most terrifying moment that could ever befall an individual like me in the history of all of creation did, in fact, befall.
God turned His face towards me.
He could see me, He’d said. I should keep my eyes fixed on Him, and He would deliver to me an impossible thing.
And wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly what He did?
I spent the following months pointing to every moment in search for my supposedly destiny-fulfilling “impossible thing” as a child shaking the contents of a wrapped gift under a tree in search for the one thing they’d asked for.
Is this it?
What about this one?
This sounds an awful lot like it…
No answer. No clarity. Only questions. And a promise.
Slowly, my community began to crumble, reflecting all too well the wounded heart of the one they followed. I, too, found myself wounded at his hands, shaking my fist at the One who told me to make myself a home here. Who was left to trust?
Then it happened —
Amidst the blood and bruises, the rusty weapons, the body-decaying stress and the surrendered defense against needless cruelties, I finally shook the right box under that tree.
My impossible thing:
It was me.
I was the promise to myself. All of me. Bigger on the inside. Finally given room to look around and recognize myself as my self.
There you are, I can remember feeling for the first time since the chaos began so long ago. Look at you, I have said. Look at what you have done here. Look at what you have endured. Look at what you really are. Look at what you could have been.
And child, He says to me even still, repeating the words I have come to value the most: Don’t be afraid.