Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I am bent.
The things that I want to do, I do not do, and the things which I do not want to do, I do. The things which I value the most are the things which I believe least readily. I am not saying this to be poetic or to make Pauline allusions. I am being honest - more honest with myself than I have been in a long time.
I want to smile at strangers and greet them cheerfully in that same familiar way that some strangers greet me - as if they've met me and known me before in some dream of God's. Sometimes, I even feel that way about people - that I've known love for them before meeting them - but I walk past them, close-lipped, eyes averted. I don't want to resent the people I love for not meeting my every expectation; I do not even want to have these expectations! But I disappoint myself.

Incurvatus in se. I am turned inward on myself.
Fingers curved in toward my palm, my heart is - I am - clenched into a fist. I turn everything in on myself. Everything I know is defined within "me." I know that this is not because I am more self-centered than any other person, but the pain of becoming ingrown still eats at me. It confuses and isolates.
I turn anger, pain, loneliness, longing in on myself. I act on my inwardness. I speak indirectly about my thoughts and feelings. I deliberately write poetry no one can understand (what a fruitless objective. . . ). I punish myself by denying myself things I like. It is like clenching my soul-fist so hard, curving my fingers in so markedly, that I dig into my flesh with my nails, breaking the skin. I break trust with myself.

I am bent.
I am not a terrible human being. Humans are fallen beings, and I'm unfortunately good at being a human being. I try to be perfect, to be unfallen, but I am not any good at that. I don't even have a word for unfallen except unfallen. I prove that I am fallen and tainted and bent by not having words (I mean, real meanings - words can be a metaphor for this, if you like) for the opposite conditions except unfallen, untainted, unbent. A perfect God is terrifyingly strange to a mind that cannot conceive of holiness and righteousness and perfection as anything more than nonsinful and unfallen. The words themselves are not meaningless but imply a meaning beyond my own understanding, and that is what shakes me.


  1. Sounds like someone needs to read some more Henri Nouwen.

  2. I'm sorry, anonymous, I don't quite catch your meaning. . . . Are you referring to something in particular that he said? Or a book?

  3. It takes courage to share your most vulnerable and private thoughts on a public forum, Heather. This is more than most people ascribe. Thanks for sharing.