Culture

September 21 2012
31

Magic Light (Photo by Enuma Okoro)

 

I am not in love with the Church.”

I text it out and lay the phone quiet on my desk. The room fills with the late afternoon sun flood that always reminds me of magic. Nothing so luminous and revealing can be real. The dog lies lazy on the ragged sofa, long collie nose hanging over the edge. Nothing happens, now that I have confessed. I sigh heavy out of my desk chair, grab the paperback and plod three feet to push the dog over for a square of the couch. What happens now? I stare blankly at the words on the page in front of me. It is a short story about a couple telling each other their shameful secrets every night in the darkness. Sadness wells slowly in me like rising water. I turn the book down and watch the hour stretch into evening and the magic light begin to fade.

The phone rings and I see his name glow. He has gotten my text. I hesitate before picking it up.

“Hi.” I say.

“Hey, how are you?” He has felt the weight in such few words.

“I’m fine. I…” the rising water has reached my throat. I choke back, surprised and silent.

He is patient on the line.

I am weeping.

And whispering, “I am failing. I do not love. This bride, I am not in love.”

I weep till the magic light is all gone.

He is patient on the line.

“Why do you think that?” He says it quiet. There is no judgment.

“Because it is true.”  There is silence.

“But….” I try to continue. The rising water is flooding.

“But what?”

“But, I love the Groom. And I have to inch my way back to his bride. By habit if not with butterflies.”

“Are you praying?” He says.

“Yes. Silently. On the yoga mat. With cups of tea. In stillness.”

“And what does God say? I know God speaks to you.”

“The Groom. He says, ‘Praise me.’ He says, ‘There is no darkness in me. I am luminous light.’ He says, ‘Praise me.’” I tell my friend this.

“It is okay to not be in love right now.” He speaks quiet. Firm. I receive his grace.

The magic light has gone. But there is still a beauty in the coming of night. So many shades of light. So many shades of beauty. My eyes learn to catch the nuances when I see with intention.

My friend, on the other line, with his quiet questions, with his patience, with his presence with me just where I am. I speak of unfaithfulness and he listens. I remember the Bride has faces.

“I love you.” I say.

A broken Hallelujah…

 

31 comments

  1. Enuma, I see why my friends have raved about you for so long. I have read some more scholarly words you have written and learned truth and perspective, but this…this shows me why they gush about the beauty of your soul.

    I need to learn to see with intention in these more shadowed hours. Thank you so for this. My focus reframed, I am seeing the Bride a bit more lovely, already.

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    • Thank you so Kim. I am grateful for your words.

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  2. There is so much we miss if we only look for glory in the sunlight. It is also very present in the shadow.
    I’m loving the way you wove that theme into this piece.
    (and I know that battle with love for the Church. thanks for ministering grace to the hearers in your words.)

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    • Kelli, Grace is so underrated. :-) Thanks for reading.

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  3. Beautiful and haunting. I have experienced this very thing.

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  4. So many people I know have grown weary of the big machine we often think of as the church in this country. The real church is made of people. It’s a beautiful mess. It shines most brightly in my life just the way you described it. Through the lives of one or two at a time. We can be His heart and hands to each other.

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  5. Love this, even though my problem is the opposite. I LOVE church, to the point of wondering where healthy community ends and people addiction / idolatry begin. I write a lot about how this season is Him calling me out into the desert to fall back in love with Him, the Groom, because being away from the Bride as I knew her and loved her is HARD. H.A.R.D. But He is jealous in the best, most righteous way and marriage is a choice and hard work and I’ll just get up everyday and hope, work, choose to fall in love again.

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  6. Oh my. Beautiful words transporting. The Groom, the Bride. All of it.

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  7. Thank you. Remembering the bride has faces – yes, that’s key. Some faces are harder to love than others, though, aren’t they? I am thankful with you for your friend with a good face, a good voice over the telephone, a good heart for listening. And I am thankful you opened this particular vein today and shared it with all of us.

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    • Yes! Some faces are harder to love than others! And aren’t we so often those harder to love faces to others? How does God do it?! One of the many humbling ways through which we are reminded of our need for God in order to try to love (and be loveable)as God calls us to love.

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  8. Beautiful and true. So glad to see you over here, Enuma.

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  9. I love these words. The bride has faces. I will remember this. Thank you.

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  10. So very lovely, the way we see Him in ways we were blind to at first siting. Your words are like that slanted light, illuminating this space for the reading.

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  11. What a blessing to have friends who minister God’s grace to us. Thank you for sharing the reminder of the Bride’s faces.

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    • Yes, having people in your life by which God is intimately reflected back to you is an incredible gift. The love of God is made tangible.

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  12. Beautiful words. Thank you for sharing. “The Bride has faces” words I won’t soon forget. I pray they never leave me.

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  13. Thank you. For me I see the faces without the bride, and it it difficult to love. Your honesty makes it possible for me to live in the grace. Forgive myself.

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  14. Thank you everyone for reading and for your words. I am so grateful my honest post found hospitable space with all of you. It is scary to sometimes be so blatantly open about the journey. But what other way can we be? How else will we know where to tend to one another’s wounds?

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  15. Nikkijerkins

    Every time I see your writings in the inbox of my email, I get excited. I relate to the beautiful way you see things. Thank you for blessing me!

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  16. I am not in love either. It’s like an arranged marriage these days…I show up when I am supposed to but I am silent and stone-faced, and the whole Body is making love to me all through the service but I don’t respond. I am praying it’s an arranged marriage that slowly leads to a deepening mutual respect, then perhaps friendship, maybe one day a deeper love than I had imagined possible?

    After all, it’s my 3rd marriage, and I’ve got baggage.

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  17. Yevonnie

    Thank you Enuma…I am experiencing this now and struggle…it’s funny because I am a part of the “bride”…and am frustrated with myself too.

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  18. “…the Bride has faces” ringing in my thoughts since those words first read. I love the texture and depth captured in four weighted words that so gracefully bridge an ill-fit bride with a perfecting groom. Thank you.

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  19. The bride has faces, she is Jesus in disguise

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  20. We have all been in that place. Anyone who says different is lying. Thanks for the beautiful confessional.

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    • This brought me to tears.

      I love the Church, the Bride. But I have no use for Church, Inc., the thing that masquerades as the Bride. It’s Voldemort’s snake, Naghini, in a decaying corpse, masquerading as one of the most beautiful of all God’s creations. It stinks. Why would anyone love that?

      Your friend on the phone… there’s a glimpse of the Bride reflecting the love and joy on the Groom’s face.

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  21. “It’s okay not to be in love right now”–I’ve heard him say those words to me, too. I’m loving the bride again, but it took a long time. Thanks for sharing your journey.

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  22. Anonymous

    This is beautiful, I’m so grateful to have found it. I was spiritually abused by a legalistic youth minister as a teenager, and after almost 10 years of being told it’s NOT okay to not be in love with the church, I’ve finally taken the time to properly grieve what happened. I love the Groom and understand his grace more now than ever before, and I’m working toward stepping foot into a church again, but I’m not in love. More like a domestic abuse survivor trying to decide whether to make herself vulnerable to a new partner. For the first time in years I actually want to try church again, though — baby steps.

    Reply

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