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Every morning that summer, I stumbled from

sleep, dragged my tired bones off the

bed springs to dig my calloused knees

 

into chapel wood. Between waves of utter

exhaustion I sputtered out prayers of frustration,

begging the Creator, the calmer of storms, to halt

 

the thunder. If I woke up believing He existed

at all, I told God I was mad at Him

but at breakfast everyone spoke of His goodness.

 

They sounded as hollow as wind. These friends saying

words I’d tumbled in my mouth so many

times, the color had been washed out.

 

They said His power is made perfect in your weakness

so I waded through the quietest sacrifice, made an offering

of my faltering flesh. I hushed every fear.

 

They said God has a plan for you so often

the path ahead flooded, my muddied

plans getting smeared across clean church walls.

 

It was too simple to drown in the watered-down

devotions of my past, to buoy my faith

on song and praise, to pretend I was a saint.

 

More healing, I found, to let the struggle

see the sun. I had to hang the tired and the unbelief

out to dry. So I spoke what I hadn’t said before:

 

God, where are You? The search hurts. Do You

even exist? I know, sometimes,

even a believer needs to be convinced.

 

And in the questions, warmth.

And in the pauses between the rain, light.

And in reaching out from the current,

 

I am breaking the surface.

I am coming up for air.

Finally, finally, my lungs can fill again.