My hair, pulled half up and half dry, drips apocryphal rain on the shoulders of my t-shirt.
The mountains let low clouds creep up and tangle in their trees, playing games with the stretching of light from the sun.
My feet are dirty. But if not my feet, my shoes, so I try to remember to take them off when I walk into my apartment.
It rains often. I tight-rope walk the curbs of city sidewalks to avoid the puddles that soak me to my shins & I dart from underneath overhangs of local markets and 7/11s into the opening of the sky. My hair softens and unravels its curls to hit my shoulders.
Is home a place or a feeling?
I chicken-scratch my summer anthem, recognizable as the name of my writing portfolio from last semester, into my notebook one more time: “should there be another sun that rises.”
I add the words that come to to me as I write, hanging all on a single word: East.
“Should there be another sun that rises
I will look toward the north
and know the west will wait for
As the north waits for its star
The south mutters under its breath,
another passing of
When the passing of roads
turns paths sour and impatient
there is light
It is light here.”
In my room, I close my eyes and I feel my insides open up to release a weight I didn’t know existed. I feel empty. But not broken. Clean. My shoulders relax in a way they never have before and I stand, I stand straight up for the first time. The mirror shows me a reflection back of the girl I know: crazy blonde hair in the morning, smeared eyeliner residue the makeup remover left behind from the night before. The knees that turn in just a little and the feet I have to focus to keep from being pigeon-toed.
But nothing is the same.
It’s catching fireflies at night and the glow peeking through the cracks between my fingers.
It’s the first sip of black coffee, bitter but fresh upon my tongue.
It’s cliff jumping, toes so close to the edge that if I backed out now, I’d fall face-first into the water. So I take courage. I bend my knees and leap, knowing the fear will leave at the lifting of my feet.
I’m never giving up.
I’m letting go. I’m letting go so I can refuse to admit defeat.
I hear the invisible crowds that ring in my ears, saying letting go is admitting failure. No. Letting go is preparing for the victory.
I search the memories I held back from the past and watch them rise again to the surface. And I let them go. And I let them be. Rain water wells up in my eyes, but not because I am broken- instead, because I am free.
It’s clear. My eyes are clear. I look in the mirror and they feel bluer than before.
In my reflection, I see myself in the beginning. I see myself here, as I am, and I flash back to my 2 year old self, to middle school and back to 3rd grade. I see my high school dances and my first college party. It’s me, it’s all me. But it’s also anything but.
For a second, I wonder what got me here.
Maybe it was the laugh of the girl in the SkyTrain station in Bangkok, or the puddle I splashed into last night. Maybe it was the lack of sock wearing and orange paint I spilled on my flip flop last week.
Things change around us and we adapt.
Maybe it was time. And maybe it was Jesus.
Being in a new place breaks old habits, this I know to be true. But Thailand didn’t bring me here.
I see the lights of this city and know this unraveling took me from a blanket to a ball of yarn: twistable, flexible. Rebuild-able.
At first, the tugs of the yarn undoing what I thought was my whole self instilled a fear in me I could not shake. But now I see that the undoing was for something beyond me, and that was why I could not stay the way I was.
I’m ready to be knit together for good this time, by finally letting go of everything and allowing myself to rest into the person I am becoming.
My soul has been quieted.
I think of the hours I’ve listening to “It is Well” by Bethel Music and the soft whispers of my heart that agreed with the song. And I know my soul is well, even when the situations in my life are not. I know my soul is well when things are good.
Because what makes my soul well is not myself, it’s all hands-up-praise-hallelujah to Who is bigger than me, bigger than all of this because He is my soul: not me, not my situations or the passing of each day.
It’s true, we hang in a balance of decay and increase. But if the soles of our feet have anything to do with the refuge our souls, we have safe ground to dance upon.
Letting go doesn’t mean giving up. It means starting brand new in the same place we were in before.
Fresh eyes, clear heart, soft smile. And joy. Pure peace.
This is the way it was meant to be, I have no doubt. And this is the season for victory.
It Is Well – Kristine DiMarco (Bethel Music)