Sup. *head nod*
I’m dating myself; early 2000’s middle schooler here. Is anyone else shameless enough to admit that they used this word fifteen years ago? Urban Dictionary (wow 2003) defined sup as “A term that cool people use because they are too damn lazy to say What’s up. Sup yo!” As a new mama who doesn’t leave the house for anything but therapy or the grocery store, I’ll take that compliment. Cool person over here in her banana-splattered pajamas until noon everyday. Oatmeal in her hair. Bags under her eyes, lipstick lost with her skinny jeans beneath layers of workout clothes that aren’t worn for workouts.
I don’t really use that one syllable slang, I’m not that cool 13 years later. But sup is the word I’d use to describe my relationship with Jesus these days. “sup, Jesus.” Not really a question. Just an acknowledgment that he’s here and I’m here. The hard truth courtesy of Urban Dictionary is that I am too damn lazy to incline my heart much further than that right now. I picture Jesus sitting on my nice leather couch, feet up on the ottoman and a tervis glass of water in his hand (I remain a good hostess) while I sprawl on the floor with Augustine trying to keep him both entertained and alive. I’m bored out of my mind and tired from the endless cycles of feeding, cleaning, diapering, cooking, cleaning, feeding, and I’m teetering on the ever present edge of my depression. I forget about the omnipresent in the room. And then the fog before my eyes lifts and I see him and I say “sup” and go back to keeping Augustine away from the outlets.
I am too damn tired, confused, hurt, lazy, lost, distracted and disoriented. The years since 2003 have been full of so much darkness. Middle school, high school, sexual abuse, college, a church of believers desperate for Christ, rape, betrayal, crazy roommates, unhealthy relationships, a busy city, a marriage, an empty and disappointing church experience, a baby, and now four attending mental health professionals. For a long time I clung to the cross with my eyes closed to the darkness, living in the light that seeped through my closed eyelids, peeking at the world as I stumbled my way through it. My fingers clutched my bible so tightly that I couldn’t hold anything else, couldn’t hold the pain I couldn’t escape. I’m highly dissociative and in that state the only reality I really knew was Christ. But He rescued me and brought my into a spacious place. He pried my fingers loose so I would hold his hand and stop using him to numb and ignore my pain.
I found safety when Ted married me, trauma step 1 according to Judith Herman. And all the pain, fear, panic that I’d stuffed since I was five swallowed me whole. PTSD is the official insurance code. The researchers say cPTSD is more specific. Nine years since Mike’s arrest; four years on Christine’s couch each week; two in group therapy; and 3 months on anti-anxiety medications. I’m much better than I was, but that doesn’t mean I am better. Healing comes more slowly and more painfully than I can describe.
It all feels like a tired story to me. I write and rewrite these things, these markers, because they don’t make sense. My mind replays the memories on loop because they are senselessly violent, unspeakably painful. So I write and rewrite the violence, and speak and repeat the pain; because, maybe, someday, repeating the unspeakable and senseless will shape it into words and understanding.
When Augustine was born and Dr. Lau rearranged my organs and sewed up my womb, something was rearranged in my head and a gaping hole was sewn up in my soul. Then I got on anxiety medication–no shame here–because it holds the weight of my anxiety just high enough above my head for me to live beneath. Or, rather, lay sprawling on the floor beneath while reading “Dada” by Jimmy Fallon on repeat and blowing raspberries with my nine month old. And I lift my head just high enough to see Jesus, Emmanuel, and utter one syllable. Sup. Just a cool, weary greeting.
Urban Dictionary’s definitions may be dated. Google defines sup as a verb:”to take (drink or liquid food) by sips or spoonfuls.” I guess that is also descriptive of my relationship with Jesus. Because when one is too sick to eat properly, one will sup broth. Too sick to take in the life sustaining nutrients, we take small slurps of gentle nutrients to get through the healing process. Because I feel too sick, too sinful, too wasted, too weary to do much more than sup the presence of the Holy One. Is that enough? Have I tripped off the narrow path?
Alf Bishai, I miss your worship. Familiar worship songs are the part of the presence of God that I can sup right now. And this song, When We Were Young, is on repeat in my head.
when we were young. when you draw close, those memories over flow and we can hear the songs we wore out long ago, and feel that aching loss of breath, lord, when you spoke to hearts so young.
My heart isn’t young anymore, this I feel. The simple rhythm of the piano chords sings out like the steady passing of my years. I remember when we recorded this album. I remember where I was in the audience and the friends I sang with that I no longer speak to. The Church that was but is so different now.
i sing to praise the king of kings, i bow in awe before you now, I’ll gaze upon you all my days, my lord.
what glory now, oh lord, have you prepared for those whose hearts are truly yours, are truly free. the mind cannot imagine this felicity: your presence, lord. The past is fond but we crave far beyond, a little taste to tease the hungry heart we love, it’s time to lay the feast the banquet of our souls, your kingdom now.
I remember the feasting of my soul on the word of the Lord. Growing strong on milk and learning to eat meat as the days passed and I grew strong enough in my faith to face the unspeakable violence festering in my soul.
Surpass those days when we first thrilled to sing your praise, when you filled our night with song and God above, that song is Jesus’ love and when we’re ancient souls it will be ever young.
Oh, the songs in the night. The worship gatherings instead of birthday drinks. Impromptu early morning prayer together. The desperation of desire and need, and first real, chosen, committed love.
Time passes as the night passes and as the songs end. The darkness lingers, deeply embedded in me like shrapnel, working its way out, so often independent of external triggers. But Light is stronger, he is stronger. More patient and more persistent and more gentle. And it’s a shame that the Light and Love doesn’t always (often?) come from those who are supposed to be the hands and feet of Christ to the weary and lost and hurting.
Another line from a well worn song sings, “You do not despise my weak love. You will not deny me.”
Please, Lord. sup.