In the year of solace, I lived in solitude. Initially, it was loneliness, but that loneliness degenerated into a sort of collective misery. We all had our failings and our respective vices to soften the blows struck by reality.
I never could meet my neighbor’s eyes. I suspected he knew more about me than anyone else. In his addictions, I saw my own. I was like a confrontation every time, like seeing my true reflection. Recovering from an addiction to nicotine, alcohol and methamphetamine, he was the poster boy for the depths humanity is capable of. And here I was, seeing the same in myself. Over a home-cooked meal, he told me of his year spent in a rehabilitation facility. He spoke frankly of his depravity and spoke of an unspecified Higher Being that watched over him.
This was in the midst of my depression. I would lay awake in the sleepless night begging God for an answer to my question: “To what end is my obedience?” He never answered. It was painful night after night. I indulged intermittently in art, giving it away to the same people who would abandon and betray me. I was too prideful to ask for my art back.
In that year, I met myself. The girl who gave of herself, demonstrating care through gestures. The same girl who denied her anger its expression to the detriment of her own health. That anger ate her from the inside outward, expressing itself in the bitter, cutting and inopportune truths that came out of her mouth. She pushed on, performing for this thing called life. A convincing actor, as always.
The self I met was shaped and changed in the course of a year. Bowed over by the pain of being rejected and disowned by her closest friends, she learned that she could utter the words “There is no God” without losing her belief. Surely I was no Job, subject to the whims of a bet between the Divine and the fallen. I was by no means sinless or upright.
Nearly a year later, I have reconciled myself to this experience. I learned the inner workings of my heart, utterly depending on God. My relationship with Christ was such that I prayed without any consciousness of social conventions and I did not care. I was unabashedly His. Today, I have not gotten out of the habit of praying aloud throughout my day, but I pray far less than I’d like to. I am, and always will be a sinner, but I am redeemed in Him.
That’s all for now.