Friday, January 16, 2009


A friend asked me the other day, “when was the last time you felt alive?” Just like that. No pretense or frivolities or small talk, just a direct and pointed question, one that cut straight to the source of the seeping black, pus-filled infection in my heart. I stalled for a moment, parroting the question back to her, allowing the mental wheels to start their backwards motion. When was I last alive? When? Hm. I probably gave some generic answer, throwing together strings of words and shoving them in her direction, mumbling my way around the question.

But I honestly could not remember.

Her question plagued me for a few days. Constantly in the background of my thoughts as I traversed through my daily routines. Obviously, she meant more than simply existing, waking and sleeping, eating and breathing. The question is deeper than that. Now, I am sitting in my bedroom, gripping a mug of hot coffee in both my hands trying desperately to warm my insides. I have dozens of photographs spread across my bedsheet. I remember now. I remember the last time I was spiritually alive. It was July 13th, and I was saying a painful goodbye. I cupped her beautiful face in my hands, pieces of my heart breaking off with every tear that squeezed from the corners of her black eyes. “I love you” I said, and I meant it. Probably more earnestly and truthfully than I had ever said it before. It was not the sappy love of romantic relationships or the comfortable love of families and close friends. This was a raw, unbiased, unconditional love. I saw Christ in her eyes. Her smile. Her joy. In the way she always took my heavy camera bag from my arms and looped it over her own tiny shoulders, before grabbing my hand and pulling me down the dusty street. Saying goodbye to Alena was one of the hardest things I have ever done. On the walk back to the compound, my own shoulders were shaking, wracked with the sobs that came from somewhere deep inside. But, I was alive.

I saw Christ. We walked together. I held his hand.
That was over six months ago.
I want to feel alive again.

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