Maybe it is because the sun has stayed stuck behind clouds for so long; because the warmer days stick around only long enough to make us miss them.
Maybe that’s the reason.
But I’ve felt locked up and shut down, a little small and a lot hidden. I feel like someone took a key to my jaw, locked it up tight, and walked away laughing.
I feel vision and voice roaring thunder inside me, but I dilute their power with comparison, silence, and hiddenness.
I feel like a house that once was filled to the brim with life but now has boarded up all its windows; perhaps even like those old ghost-like gas stations we all seem to pass on our way to somewhere. How they sit all crooked and story-like against the road, dilapidated and boarded but still unable to hide all that they once contained. Driving a little slowly we can still imagine the way they must have bustled back in the day, how people must of hung out smoking and talking about their lives.
That’s how I feel. Like there’s a millennia, a lifetime unfolding itself layer upon layer inside me, spooling itself out onto the floor of my soul like a ball of yarn. There are memories, for one; memories I feel everyone else has grown disinterested in hearing. There are visions and opinions, things I’ve put a lot of careful thought into but feel like they’re nowhere near as astute as everyone else’s.
See there? That comparison again.
It robs me.
This morning, I looked back on old pictures of an old self. I could see things glowing behind my own eyes. The photos were taken from a time when I was experiencing life and myself fully, perhaps for the first time. There was something magical about the glow on my face.
I cried as I clicked through images. I felt a shudder, an emptiness – how cold it feels when the world goes black, when we’re faced with the hallow sound of our own lack.
I’ve been here before. Wondering how I am ever going to get back to that place I was before. In my mind, I draw a thousand mile stretch of impassable terrain between who I think am and who I want to be.
I quit before I even start. Breathless and mopey, I sit on my butt and eat ice cream, thinking that I am stuck.
But through my tears this morning, as I remembered whole treasure troves worth of rememberings, I recalled a verse:
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
Suddenly, I thought of a poem I had written during that very time I am longing for now: “Get off me, you lying and shifting ideas of who am and what I am worth. You attempt to keep me barred and broken. But what you don’t understand is that it is for freedom Christ has set me free, and hallelujah, he will see it through.”
I flipped through the pages of old journals, written down scriptures, the pages of Leaves of Grass by Whitman. And suddenly I couldn’t sit still. I leapt from my chair and was filled with new energy, new clarity:
It’s not over for me yet.
I have voice. I have vision. I have ambition.
The lines I’ve drawn around myself no longer keep me. I am free. I am not boarded up, closed down, rusted out.
Who the hell even told me that in the first place? Fear, doubt, insecurity, comparison – they moved in, drew the curtains tight, locked up all the doors and windows and caged me up like a hostage in my own astounding mind. Pretty soon I grew convinced that this is just how I am.
But it is for freedom that Christ has set me free.
Here. Now. Back there. Back then. Ahead. Tomorrow. It doesn’t matter where or when or how, truth is truth and reaches us whenever we need it the most.
I am still free.
I will always be free.
Why do I choose to live any differently? Well maybe that’s a question for another day.
Today, I am choosing to tear the curtains back. Throw open the doors. Put my dang dancin’ shoes on. I’m busting out the old drawing board, inviting dreams and ideas out of the shadows where I’ve pushed them. Fear and imagination are trading places. Here we go. Fear’s going to a cooped up corner of cobwebs and peeling wallpaper and imagination is coming out to play. It is going to take up space. Stretch its legs. Take its shoes off and stay awhile.
Because I am free.
Ps. I even got a little ditty I’ve been listening to. Get those dancin’ shoes on!