It wasn’t out there. It wasn’t in the lush green grass blanketing the field dotted with a beautiful array of wildflowers. It couldn’t be found in the warmth of the brilliant sun with a backdrop of a pristine blue sky. There was no sign of it in the towering oak tree giving respite to the sweetly chirping birds. The babbling brook made no mention of it as it flowed about its way. No, out there everything was peaceful and serene.

But, inside there was a problem. Inside the dark recesses of her mind where she was being  torn into pieces that bore no resemblance of having ever been something whole in the first place. No matter how many times she tried to put herself back together she could only reconstruct something so hideous that she welcomed the savage ripping apart a little more each time it came.

She glared bitterly out of the window as life just carried on with no regard to the battle she was fighting and losing in her soul. “Perfect” she hissed through her  painfully clenched jaw. She retreated back into her own manufactured hell.  At least her room embodied her despair. Papers and books everywhere but on the desk. Clothes littering the floor nowhere near the closet.  It was cluttered and disheveled just like her thoughts. “Perfect”, she said again, savoring the sting of each syllable as it passed through her lips.  She didn’t care anymore and couldn’t remember why she ever had.

Whether it had been months or years she couldn’t quite recall, seemed like her whole life at this point. Every effort she made seems to have ended in some type of failure. No matter how much she planned ahead, no matter whose advice she followed it all fell apart in the end. What was the point?! She jumped when she heard something slam into the far wall and break. It took what seemed like an eternity for her to realize she’d hurled a small mirror she’d received from a women’s retreat a few years ago.  “See the beautiful workmanship of God” it read. She remembered those words and felt glad she’d thrown it. Workmanship? She felt more like a worthless hack-job no one ever bothered to complete. Every dream, every longing, every desire she ever had was turned to ashes and blown in her eyes while heaven mocked her as she wept. When she finally managed to clear her own eyes all she could see was a mess she was told over and over again to be thankful for. If this was her cross to bear it was too much.

She crumpled to the floor, pleasingly disgusted with her surroundings. The sobbing started deep within in her heart and erupted out of her mouth. Let death come for her, she thought; she wasn’t living anyway. 

A loud boom of thunder shook her and brought her to herself. She blinked against the darkness and tried to remember where she was. Halfway out of her stupor she realized she was still in her own little corner of hell. She tuned into the rain pelting her window and felt a surge of anger course through her body.  Even her desire to die had gone unanswered. Enough. Still groggy, she stumbled down the stairs and out of her back door into the field. Her anger subsided and allowed her to take in the vast contrast of what she was now seeing.  Clouds, dark and heavy with oceans of rain, cloaked the sun, allowing not even one thin ray of light to pass through. The petals of the wild flowers were confetti in the wind. The howling of that wind replaced the sweet song of the birds from only hours ago. The mighty oak whipped back and forth with the gusts of air; it’s branches snapping and creaking as if this may be it’s last day standing.

Common sense and reason bode her to return to the safety of her house. She ignored them. She wasn’t feeling safe to begin with, no need in starting now. She trudged forward against the wind. Her legs felt heavy like she was trying to stilt walk on cinder blocks, but she pushed forward not entirely sure where she was headed.

The reckless abandonment of  her senses sent her adrenaline coursing through her veins. The brook. She started toward it, certain the wind would take her at any moment. She got to the edge of the water, ignored the sudden onset of fear and stepped her barefoot in anyway. She waded in until the water was mid-calf and fell to her knees, feeling somewhat deserving of the pain the rocks caused as she made impact. The rain was frigid and hit her skin like tiny metal shards.  She embraced it. It was all she knew in her life anyway–pain.  Maybe that was her problem all along, trying to escape it’s inevitability.

Streams of hot tears streaked down her face. She hunched over and hugged herself tightly trying to hold in her anguish, but for what? She’d been told as far back as she could remember that God knows and cares about her troubles, so what was she thinking, feeling that He didn’t already know? She saw her distorted dim reflection in the water and something turned within her. Fire burned in the depth of her loins and she could not contain it. Out of the deep emptiness of her soul she screamed from her frustration, her hurt, and her pain.  The thunder echoed her cry and she released again. The rain fell harder and lightening flashed in the distance.  Heaven and earth had joined in her sorrow and she gave them all of it. 

Her body was aching and her heart relieved. She closed her eyes no longer worried about what would happen next. She felt the rain pull back and the winds cease. She looked down in the water seeing herself once again and smiled. She was a mess. A beautiful mess.


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