Sunday, August 2, 2015

a page ahead; a page behind


farewell, old friend
how well
how long you’ve served—
how far
we’ve come.
how dear my con-
my quiet place.
how long
you’ve bourne
the weight of all my soul—
upon your spine.
and though
you bore me long
never a grudge—
never a word
a touch
or a mistrust.
how very long
i’ve hidden
in your lines—
how well
how long
you brought me comfort there.
farewell, old friend,
the closest I have known.
farewell old friend.
how far
i’ve still
to go.

Today I said goodbye to the old friend that has carried me shakily through the last seven months of my life. I don't dabble in free-verse very much. Mostly because I am never, ever happy with the result. But today I made an exception to those rules.

Saying goodbye to this journal is like saying goodbye to a mirror that looks back over the last seven months of my life. Seven months of change, of learning and growing. I've cried into it (actually). I've grinned recounting stories, remembering the people that I've grown to love in the process of living. 

It is much heavier than when I started. The weight of dirt and ink and scotch tape and leaves and memories, all held together in that miraculous little Christmas Present. It has survived rain and snow and being dropped from a tree (over a frozen river). It was even flicked through by a massive dust-storm, once—I had to blow off every page.

Scraps of poetry. Notes for books written (and not). Songs. Letters from my beautiful sister. Notes and quotes and days spent with amazing friends. Human beings worth spending a life with. Prayers. More than anything, the sort of prayer that comes from the chest, that comes from a moment split open. A journal mapping the course of my (lack of) devotion.

Looking through it all now is like looking through days and moments of ache and hurt—growing pains. 

It is me. Seven months of me, reflected on paper. Not perfectly, not accurately always. But truthfully.
Words are my medicine. My cure. And my curse. And if they've taught me anything, it is to tell the truth. 

The voice in my head and I get along better now, than we used to. Sometimes we’re even friendly. We’re tired together now, and we’re understanding. I’m not sure I can say any of that about the version of myself I knew, those few months ago.

Putting this on a shelf now is the strangest sensation. Cracking over the sister, and setting down a pen on something blank—both unique, both exciting and terrifying.

A physical expression, I suppose, of letting go and moving forward.

Something I’m famously bad at. I am not quite parallel; but my Lord is faithful. 

And I’m getting better.

Slowly, and wrapped in leather, I’m getting better.