Saturday, October 3, 2009

Warriors At War

Ideas brew in the back of my mind. Whatever blew back there recently refused settle into coherence for a Very Long Time.

It felt something like being in the midst of a brewing storm.  Fiercly swirling clouds gathering to obscure a clear view of the heavens.  Gusts of cold, biting wind cutting through layers of fabric.  Sharp stinging pelts rain.

I've been thinking about secrets and circles of friends and friends outside the circle.  I've been thinking about Grace and love and faith.  I've been thinking about drama and lying and hurting.

Then I read a post at  My friend Amber - who doesn't know she's my friend, but feeds my spirit every time she posts a thought -- wrote this about friendship when it applies to women:

"It's not that we don't know enough girls.  It's too often that we don't know many girls we want to let in on our dirt - or worse yet, we don't want in on their dirt."

And my storm cleared. 

Revelation feels glorious.

I have friends.  In the last two years, the best of them have been warrior women.  They've battled for my spirit and my heart and my soul.  They've appreciated my mind, admired my generosity, and tickled my funny bone.  My warriors know who they are; I don't have to name them.

For a long time, I thought ugliness was meant to be private and secrets were meant to be kept.  I kept my personal business to myself, but talked to others endlessly without saying much of anything.  We daughters of addicts learn at a young age to keep secrets.

My secret-keeping habit worsened dramatically after our '97 bus accident.  Insurance lawyers thought they had a good case to defend and explicitly warned us to never say anything about the facts and circumstances of the accident or they could decline to insure us.  I took the warning to heart:  the most I ever said to anyone about the bus accident was "we feel really bad" -- and no one ever would have guessed what passed through my mind or the physiological response in my body.

My blogger friend Amber shared her deepest secret on her blog.  Her writing leaves me breathless at times, and this was one of those times.  This young woman embodies courage.  A commentor -- also breathless -- wrote about how she read Amber's confession and how bound together are secrets and sin:  "really, the devil is playing such a dangerous game with us and sin. the hope given in sin confessed, forgiven, and shared in our stories is powerful beyond any of that ugly stuff we drown in."

Ahhhhh, yes.

Here's my truth -- or as much as I'm interested in sharing -- I couldn't cope.  Not with the pain of my mother's addicition or with my grief after our bus accident or with my own failings and the darkness in my life.  My spirit lay near death, my heart was empty, and my soul cowered.

I remember sitting in the corner on the floor in the storage room two days after the bus accident in the perfect tornado drill pose, hiding.  Though I stood up and walked through the days, part of me stayed hidden in that corner on the floor for years.

Still, I wasn't driven to my knees.  I refused to submit my will and trust.  I refused to accept Grace.

And then it happened.

I accidentally engaged in Real Talk. 

I was a little crafty.  I only confessed truths in pieces and parts.  I was afraid if I dumped the wheelbarrow of messiness I was pushing at any one person's feet, she would turn away in disgust.

I talked about things my mother did.  By the time I spoke her secret story, I could say the words matter-of-factly.  Still, the story shocks.  Those I told inevitable confirmed my truth by sharing what they'd observed about my mom.  Affirmation.

I shared my grief -- still raw and aching.  I said out loud the words I most detest hearing:  "It's not fair that kids died while in our care!  It's not fair... it's not fair... it's not fair."  And my friends sobbed with me.  Empathy.

I named my sin and repented -- real repentance isn't easy.  I bled -- not for myself, but for those I hurt.  Will I ever share those failings publically?  Some I have already.  Others may bubble forth.  The rest I'm not sure I should share.  They're don't belong only to me.  Forgiveness.

And I learned to trust.

And those I trust... they trust me in return.  They trust me enough to share their own messiness with sure knowledge that I would never turn away from them in disgust.

This is Grace.  I'm sure of it.


  1. Beautiful post Kari. I too am thankful I have friends that I have such trust in. I am captivated by your writing. Thanks for sharing your heart!

  2. Thank you for the comment! Just noticed it now. I guess I need to find a way to get comments in my inbox. :) Thanks for reading.