I gaze deeply into her blank eyes, cupping her face made to be delighted in, crafted to be loved.
And, through my own lens I sink within her to knock at the door of her soul once again, longing to be let in, even if it's only a crack, enough for a shaft of light...
But I can't reach her.
I once thought the hardest part of this journey was the letting go...
Now I know it's the pursuit of the haunted.
The restless turmoil she can't escape.
The quiet tears he can't explain.
The cavernous aches she can't describe.
It keeps me awake at night.
On the surface, it doesn't look like ache or even fear.
It seeps the reflections of rage, anger, sadness, indulging, but these are all just symptoms of her flight deeper within the cave of her pain, the ache she nurses and hides behind because it feels safer than the light.
Perhaps the world has taught her it is safer than the light.
And so she's labeled; he's labeled.
Problem. Troubled. Failure. Lazy. Loner. Addict. Aggressor. Slow. Stupid. Intense. Lost.
People begin to look to individuals like us who have joined the ranks of housing these children, and they applaud and whisper in hushed tones, How hard it must be for you to deal with that...
And after I've had another phone call from the school, dodged another flying object, held another screaming through the night, discovered another stash of food, I begin to think, Yea, this is hard for me. See what we're willing to do.
And through the tears of a friend, my pride is silenced as she reminds me, Haven't we all been haunted?
Aren't we all the troubled, addicted, agressive, lost failures...until God, in His mercy, reached through the barred walls we built for what we thought was our safety, and He shattered the cages of our darkness to cup us beneath His tender wing, when we had never known peace.
Yet, we flee again, and again, and again. And we kick, and we flail...
He only reaches deeper, softer, stronger and whispers His deep delight over us, stilling our shifting eyes, our hurried thoughts.
And as I remember my Pursuer, I turn to the haunted one's face in my hands, and He reminds me of the depths He embraces to chase after my wandering soul day after day, after day...
And I say it's too much for me to take up my Cross another day and cherish this child, that friend, that lonely widower who has no resources but his or her aching hauntings?
The moment I say that, is the moment I forget my Pursuer and the one who pursues through me.
It's the moment I stop...
Looking unto Jesus.