Flames, Ash and Rain: “I”

I have been REAALLY TRYING to connect.

I have been trying so hard to FEEL.

To not ignore my feelings, to be with people, to see their pain, to see them, to reach out to new horizons…

I was afraid of having gotten sucked in. Of 8 months of growth in my garden just having been set ablaze. But no. Not so. I prayed for pain one night with my friend as her recounting of the Drug world community brought afresh my old self. What had spurred those feelings, what I felt was beautiful and true about the community. The DESIRE FOR TRUE RAW BROKENNESS. The sickness of fake smiles when you are dying beneath and the comfort of being under the scope of brokenness with other broken people who know this of themselves and who see you as you not as a fk up.
I have grown so much that I have feared multiple things that relate to my identity.

I have feared the darkness of my soul, I have feared the person that I was, in pain and hurt and bitterness. Knowing I did not want to go back to that.

Yet the coherence in my self felt even more the pain of not wanting that scary self to die. How could I abandon her when she encompasses so much of what I love about myself, even though it is linked to scary things as well?

Coming back to France over summer I started to feel the same pains I had, to reconnect with the feelings I had that had spurred me into action without necessarily taking actions that do not correlate. Still it took that night in my friends car for me to remember ardently how misunderstood I had felt. How much it hurt that the world looked onto what I saw as the only people who truly loved me for all of me and only saw bad. I felt whole again. Feeling this hurt and pain.

Today I feel whole. I cried in Chapel as our speaker spoke of his story of sexual abuse, violence, the beginning of a friendship he holds dearly to his heart still 50+ years in, about his daughters’ experience with human trafficking and his involvement with this. That America is the 2nd largest hub in the world. That the average age of a female prostitude in America is 12.

How can one not cry about this?

Just because I am crying does not mean that I am not ok. In fact, I realized this morning that I haven’t been letting myself cry for a lot. I’m not sure why. Perhaps there was too much of my own pain I could not face. Now I feel I have truly left it all. And tomorrow I will probably have to leave it all again. But I feel I have the freedom to cry, and let flow. I feel I am becoming whole more and more.

This blog post started because I wanted to post a draft of the testimony I wanted to give in chapel as a senior at the end of the year.

I have been meeting with the campus pastor, in a desire to not only be seen but have others who have felt the way I do know they can also be seen.

It was something difficult to do. To read. As I was completely honest. I read later than night somewhere that it takes great courage to honestly share one’s dreams for the future. The tentative script I wrote not thinking of what God has done in my life but thinking about what I wanted to tell to Westmont. Pastor stated before I started that I was to be a witness (to god’s work). I wanted to be a witness to the unseen. He also stated that Chapel is not a place to tell people something they don’t know. It is a place to worship and uplift God’s deeds. I did not respond. It was a good time all in all. As I realized that I needed to shift my approach. That I needed to see where I was, see who God had placed before me and what this specific person could teach me. It was obvious more about me than about how I am to serve others. Though these are linked. “Do you feel you have lost some footing since we last spoke?” Yes I replied. It pained me to know it was so obvious. I said that I have been trying so hard. That I have been going to every door and feel every door is slamming shut. That I feel I only see darkness. That I am afraid of the pain turning to bitterness again and I do not want it to. Still. THough it pained me that it was so obvious. I am glad. I am glad that there was such an obvious shift as it is a witness to the obvious realities of this place. I said I am here and trying and I am not the only one! There are so many that are hurting and that feel unseen and unheard…. So what can this person bring me? How am I to be humbled and served? It is good that I see that I may disagree with individualism as the driving force of a culture and a generation yet I can also see that I must focus on myself right now as to truly serve, to be a good tool you must sharpen your blade. So I will let myself be sharpened. I will let go and trust that the time spent has been good time spent, that I do not know the ways of God, that He works in mysterious, beautifully surprising ways and I can surrender to this. I want to be an overflowing stream of love and light and today I feel that way. I feel more myself than I have since the first week back and I am thankful.

I am thankful for what I felt was burning my garden. I feel instead that I have tested the grounds and seen where the seed shall rot and where it will not and I am satisfied with where my feet have stepped and stumbled upon the ground for I know that light prepares my path and that sacred are my lands I walk upon. That which is bad will become good and that which is good will only be better. Maybe it did all go up in flames and now ash fell over for a few days and the fresh spirit flow and rain have washed me anew and brought new light, shine and strength to my foundations and structures. Ash is good for compost. Makes good flowers.

I debate posting what it was I wrote for Chapel. Perhaps at a latter time. For now that is all, beautiful flowers you all 🙂


Leah Bethany Gage



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