tasting memory

i sit in a hot, steamy coffee shop before my shift starts in an hour to force myself to do some writing. i sit with two drinks, both hot. the african autumn sooths my soar throat, and, hopefully, heals. the hazelnut latte tastes like memory. i sit to remember the rhythms of my life and to uncover a way to return.

i am currently frightened of being alone with my thoughts. carl, an elderly gentleman from the north, frequents our coffee shop. he meets with other regulars to discuss religion and politics and social justice. he knows the baristas by name and informs us of his time away so we dont suspect his death. he approached me on monday at work. leaning in, he stated, "things have been off for you lately. you do not seem yourself. I have been joking with you to cheer you up, but something is going on." with watering eyes, i nodded my head. he proceeded to suggest i do some writing and here i am, writing.

people told me the first year after graduation is the hardest. "hardest" doesnt touch this. i anticipated the feelings of drifting and the frustrations of being metaphorically lost. especially as i am still living in clemson, i prepared myself for the loss of friends to new cities, new jobs, new lives and for the words laced in disappointment as professors and friends discovered i was delaying graduate school. those were the "hard" things i was warned about.

what i did not anticipate was a loss of myself and my desire for graduate school, a shift in my life priorities, a questioning of everything i had ever done or said. i did not know relationships would change shape and turn to intense pain. i did not know other humans could hurt me as badly as they have. in the name of "love" declaring their desires for my life and their disappointment in decisions i have made.

for a month, i have intentionally turned to the Lord to beg Him to show me how to find acceptance and love and approval in Him alone. i feel like i make progress and then satan attacks again through the thoughts of my heart, the looks of a stranger, the words of a loved one.

how long must i cry for deliverance before you will appear, Lord? how much longer must i endure this pain before you will restore my soul? where is your purpose in this? do you have a plan? am i following you or am i gravely deceived? how can you feel so far away when i know you long to be close? Lord, please at least give my soul peace.


  1. claire, my dear sister, your words bring tears to my eyes-the pain, the distress, the broken heartedness. i hurt for you claire-your words sound like david's in the psalms - crying out for deliverance-longing for the Lord to make haste. i pray for you claire, that your prayers would be answered so quickly, that you would trust in truth and what you know, and not rely on all the confusing, overwhelming emotions that your heart is spilling over with. yes, you are a beautiful woman, designed to love so deeply and made to overflow with emotion, but so often we women lose our mind in these things. remember truth, what you know, and hold strong to it. Father IS with you, He never wastes a hurt-no matter how much we think we could do without it-He IS working, you are His precious daughter-and He does not like for you to hurt. but something beautiful is being born, choose to believe this, no matter how much you resist it, no matter how much it seems worthless and pointless. i lift you up today claire, and every day that follows. the Spirit is in you-go to Him, let Him be your best friend, and let Him guide you, comfort you, and listen to that voice. love you so much.

  2. Please don't mistake the following words for insensitivity, but if you sit there thinking of all the things that hurt, and focus on the changes that you don't like, the Lord will not just come to save you. You need to save yourself. As my favorite author wrote, “Torture is torture and humiliation is humiliation only when you choose to suffer.” Right now, you are choosing to suffer.

    It's all a matter of perspective. The lowest points in my life were when I had lost perspective. You need to focus on the good. Focus on the beauty. Focus on the potential- and instead of being afraid of the future- run to it.

    Higher beings aren't there for us to blame when things aren't perfect. You're just giving yourself an excuse for pessimism. You can't wait for a sign- you can't wait for Him to appear to you. You need to do things for yourself to regain peace in your soul. You have to take the first step, and when you do- you'll look back and thank Him for providing you with the courage you have within yourself.

  3. awfully brave of you to say who you are, anonymous. and you are full of crap. and you have no idea what the real story is. so back off.

  4. your words were beautiful and poignant and sorrowful and full of life, Claire. I'm glad I happened upon them this Christmas Eve. Makes me wish I had more conversations with you when we were in Clemson.

    And...I love your response to anonymous.