Me & Abraham
His name was Bob, and legend has it I made sure he went everywhere with us.
Bob went to the market and Bob went to Nana’s house. I even made mom buckle Bob in.
Imaginary friends are important, you know.
I don’t remember Bob myself, and I don’t remember when he stopped tagging along on our car trips. But at some point, Bob fell out of my life.
I used to think of God as a bit of an imaginary friend. I’ve come to decide that this is a misnomer, though, because God isn’t imaginary. So maybe invisible friend is a better term. I’ve been known to refer to Him as my bestie. And He is.
He’s also the ringleader of a group of others invisible friends who have walked the road of the last ten months with me.
* * *
“You are at the point where you need to start trusting people again,” he said to me as I cried silently. “I know you, and I know it seems impossible after you were hurt by so many people when you really needed them, but you can’t keep your heart shut forever.”
There are three people in this world who know me. They know me without words. Without explanations. He is one of them. So the fact that he knew what was bothering me so deeply didn’t come as a surprise.
I find myself in a place lately where I am at the same time fiercely lonely and desperate to be alone.
He is right – I don’t trust people right now. There is a padlock on my heart and I am not wont to let anyone even close to the key ring - never mind the actual deadbolt. It occurred to me over the snow break how easy it is for me to go days at a time without any kind of human contact. And how part of me is okay with that.
This is my disease. I’m aware.
Simultaneously, I feel the deep desire to find my people. I’m just not entirely sure I know where they are. And if I did, I am not entirely certain that I would know how to forge relationships with them. Not in this new space.
* * *
Hope and I talk a lot. I’m pretty sure she thinks she got saddled with a crazy mom, but I chatter her ear off much of the day.
(I may or may not also pretend she is talking back to me. But that's a story for another day.)
When she isn’t on the receiving end of my prattling, one of my invisible friends is.
For a while it was Job. When the world was falling apart and everything scattered and there was hardly a speck of light, I found myself asking Job how he possibly got through. How he managed in the wake of all the destruction that he endured and how his faith could possibly have stayed intact. In my mind, Job and I shared tea and some crumpets (because apparently Job and I were British in my mind) and my old friend told me the lessons he learned and threw bits of experience, strength, and hope at me until I found my footing again.
Then for a good long bit it was the blind man. We talked a lot about his walk to the water after Jesus smeared him with dirt and spit. We discussed blind faith (pun intended, I suppose) and the call to follow Him and how sometimes you just do it because there really is no alternative. How sometimes it’s easiest to have faith when things are at their most desperate.
Mary popped in as a girlfriend for a period of time. Our chats were largely focused on how she got her head around the impossible news that she would deliver a baby given the little obstacle of her virginity and all. God is in the business of telling us things we can hardly believe, and Mary was in the business of having faith in those promises, so when God was guiding me down a path to remission that I could hardly believe she was the cheering section that I so desperately needed.
* * *
My brother was here this weekend. My brother knows me. He was forty-five kinds of encouraging about ways I could find where I belong. But none of them feel really right at the moment. I am happy where I am in many ways. I am happy at my office. At yoga. With neighbors.
I am happy in the spaces where I don’t need to explain anything because people already know.
* * *
In recent weeks I have found myself deep in conversation with Abraham. We walk Hope together and discuss what he and Sarah could have possibly been thinking when God promised them children. He reminds me that they were straight-up old when that promise was made and that I’m nowhere near where they were in years. I remind him that I have no ovaries so we are really in similar boats, they are just constructed from different kinds of wood.
Because here I am – still struggling to look in the mirror, still unable to sleep through the night, still sweating profusely every handful of hours, still infertile. So that whole family promise is looking pretty bleak at this moment.
As I was crafting my vision boards this year, there was a picture of a little boy that I felt compelled to cut out. As I kept weeding things out and moving things around, I kept trying to cast him off. But my heart kept being tugged by that promise from God, and Abraham kept urging me to have faith while he sat on the other side of the table waiting for his cocoa to cool down. So there he is now - that little boy - smack dab in the middle of one of those boards.
God’s seemingly impossible promise.
* * *
I think part of the magic God likes to watch is our surprise when we are placed in a position where things truly seem impossible and then His promises do come true.
I mean – lets all just admit it. Would it have been fantastic if chemotherapy had worked for me as it was intended to? Sure thing. Were we all filled with a little bit (or a truck load) more wonder when it didn’t work the way it was supposed to but God’s promise of healing came to fruition nonetheless? Clearly.
I’m pretty sure that’s what He is setting up here. Because just as I feel at the same lonely and content, I at the same time have complete trust and faith that His promises will be realized but can see no possible way for them to come true.
So for now, its just a matter of continuing to allow Him to craft things according to His plan.
With a little help from my invisible friends.