When Words Fail.

I love words.

They are painted on my walls and inked in swirls on my skin.
I have letters and journals and scraps of paper etched with my terrible handwriting, and I’m sure if I took my time the loops of my quasi-cursive would swing together much prettier… but I’ve always been more concerned about the words than the writing.

Saturday night I sat in the ocean-hued living room of two dear friends as we chatted about life, love, our hope of love, our sometime broken hopes regarding love, and the conversation turned to where love’s been.

Five and a half years ago, my beautiful friend had an incredible fiance.  A man who loved the Lord well, loved others well, loved her well.  A man who worshipped and witnessed and kept the crowd laughing.  After they graduated from IU, he headed to Afghanistan to protect his country.  He would send home videos that ranged from tours of the bunk that had us crying with laughter to telling her how much he loved her, prayed for her, and dreamed about the day that was coming not-soon-enough where they’d be husband and wife.

And yet, the autumn wedding that was planned never happened, because he died serving his country.
And here was his wife to be, years later, with tears on her freckled face and through the tears over the husband she lost, she smiled just to speak of him.

I never knew him.  And it pained both of us.

She just kept staring at his face on the screen saying “He was really something… he was really something.”

Because words wouldn’t do him justice.
How do you smush letters together…26 options…to create the personhood of the love of your life?  How do you string together sentences to explain the hope of your future being taken away in an instant?  You just can’t.  All you can say is “He was really…something.”

Since April, God and I have barely spoken.  There was a Spring night so full of broken hope that it seems a steel door slammed between us… no, not quite “slammed”, more like slipped in between us silently.  I’ve always been one to beg of Him, love Him, cry out to Him with words.  And words, my constant companion, for months now…have failed me.

Worrying, fantasizing, wondering, daydreaming, crying… they aren’t the same.  They aren’t praying.  And I miss Him.
I would crack open the black leather of my Bible, or sit quietly cross-legged, willing myself to find the words to let Him know about my insides… and the words weren’t there.

The last few days of this August have seemed so sweet, and on a trip to see my bed-resting best friend at the hospital, I stopped in my tracks completely overwhelmed by His romance.

I must have looked crazy.  Stock still in the middle of the parking lot with my eyes closed, I breathed as deep as my lungs would allow, and let the sun heat up my face, listening to the far-off rush of a fountain and letting my pulse slow, and suddenly my insides found big words of powerful love to silently shout at Him, wanting Him desperately to open His ears to my thankfulness.  The jingle of someone’s keys broke the peace, and I opened my eyes and walked into the hospital.

And here I am sitting still, feet propped up on the bedside while my best friend answers congratulatory phone calls after receiving the news that her baby boy will be here tomorrow.  And every few minutes, she looks at me with her one green eye and her one brown eye huge with disbelief that tomorrow the babe in her belly will be in her arms.  And yet again, words seem to fail the moment.

I can’t let words get in the way of my conversations with God.
On a first date it could be difficult to communicate without them, while working on a new chapter it might leave the pages blank, but a willingness to find a new way to crack open with the God I need so desperately is just what’s needed.

My wordsmithing might rust, but it’s time to squeak the steel door open and let Him in, to open His always unlocked front door and let myself in…even if my lips never open … because sometimes the emotion exceeds anything I could say.

Come to think of it, maybe there’s a little something about that written somewhere…

Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

2 Responses

  1. absolutely beautiful kate. i love you so so very much!

  2. this is lovely. thank you.

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