Just Write 154

September 23, 2014

I saw in his face what something in me already knew. He was tired from staying up too late and drinking more than he planned to drink. He was tired from thinking and thinking again and thinking about his drinking again.

They were both tired, he and his wife, from years of building things and watching them crumble, building them back up again. That’s life, that’s parenting, that’s marriage, that’s work. But there was More, the mysterious illness of a child. And we who are prone to drink, genes broken up and begging for More, we will drink More. That’s what we do. Until we don’t.

So there we stood, not going to church but meeting in a church, and we recognized our matching sickness because of a hesitant willingness to see it. He finally said it out loud. All the wonderings of self, the fears and the unknowns that are truly known but just not all lit up with voicing them quite yet. He was voicing them.

You can watch the air come out of a person with truth’s sweet release and fear’s trembling all at once.

That was one year ago. One year ago, and two days, Mr. Haines.

We color in our memory of things, reds and yellows and purples and greens. Because memory is slowly wiped away with time’s chalkboard eraser, leaving white streaks on a black surfaces, dust.

So maybe it wasn’t as intense as it seems when I think of it. And maybe I said something more than I can remember? You see, some of what I say feels like Just Words in those moments. Because how do you validate pain without sounding like a pamphlet?

What I do know for sure is that I was so damn proud. And not like a Mama, no, but as a fellow. A fellow struggler, over-thinker, writer, believer, and one who knows how it feels to be starved for grace. Beaten down by my own ruminations on theology and the church’s broken heart and body and the way it leaves us lonely sometimes.

I was proud like a sister.

This was the beginning. A continuation of the grace that was building up inside all along but blocked by booze. There but not seen or felt.

Pull the cork, turn the cap, pop the cover,

pour it down the sink

and feel the flow of freedom rushing through your veins.

And then it will be so hard. Some days will cry out with nothing but craving and what Mr. Haines and I have come to learn is that these days will pass. Surrender. Let go. Wait. Cry. Call someone. Pray. Surrender again. Hate it. Love it. Hate it again. Pray again.

It was over a year ago, and maybe all the chalkboard of memory reads now is MERCY, my friend. Sweet mercy. I’m so proud of you, my brother. Just think…well, maybe not. Don’t think. Just be. Look over at that puzzle piece of a beautiful wife you have, and smile.

Screenshot 2014-09-23 at 7.15.09 AM

(I stole your photo from Facebook. So there.)



This is the 154th installment of Just Writean exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {New here? Please see the details.} I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page. (Then link back to this post in your Just Write post so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.) (Any links not following those two guidelines will be deleted.)

Also. Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word?


Jana September 23, 2014 at 7:24 am

Peace, love, and continued grace to Mr. Haines. And as always, to you, Heather.

Seth September 23, 2014 at 7:36 am

I might have wept like a baby as I read this. There are a few a catalytic “voice of God” moments in my life. Three, to be exact. This was the third, the resurrection one. You were the voice of God.

I’ve told you this one-million times, and I’ll tell you one-million more: thank you, sister. You are a real and true sister. I’m so grateful you were in the foyer that morning.
Seth recently posted..Best Books for Business: Wendell Berry’s Collected Poems

Stephanie Precourt September 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

I love this and Seth’s comment. Wow.

Stephanie Precourt recently posted..It’s time to move on. It’s time to get going. What lies ahead I have no way of knowing…

Diana Trautwein September 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Thank you, Heather. For being there, for speaking truth in love, for standing alongside. And thank you both – Seth and Heather – for writing it all out for us to learn from. Just beautiful. And powerful. And true, true, true.
Diana Trautwein recently posted..The Negative Power of Scarcity Thinking

Adriel Booker September 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm


Heather, this is so beautiful and wise and prophetic and gracious. Thank you for sharing your part of the story. I’ve learned so much from Seth, and now from you, too.

And thank you for being there for Seth, for letting Jesus be incarnated through you to him in that desperate moment. Redemption rings loud but sweet and I can hear it all throughout your story.
Adriel Booker recently posted..The Motherheart of God: Fierce, Strong, Wild

Karmen M. September 24, 2014 at 7:14 am

This is beautiful. Full of grace and mercy and filled with hope and promise. We all have a “bottle” of sorts. That thing we cling to when the questions get bigger than the answers and darkness descends with no dawn in sight, but your words inspire me to remember that grace and mercy are always there flowing for the taking if we don’t drown them out with whatever our “bottle” of choice happens to be.
Karmen M. recently posted..Praise the Lord and Pass the Calgon: the story behind the blog

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