(Note: This post makes a reference to "Safe Place." To understand what I am talking about, please refer to my post "A Winsome Web of Tangles" Dec. 2013.)
Here we are again. Sitting on my front porch—if you can even call it mine. Most people encounter Jesus in memories; I just encounter him here, in Safe Place. I don’t really know if I invite him or not—maybe he just shows up. Either way, here we are. I’m here. He’s here. We are here, sitting on the steps of my front porch.
We aren’t talking. I’m not even looking at him. Instead I am staring out at the breakers. Watching one after another crash toward the shore. But I know he’s next to me. I can sense his warmth.
“I want to touch you,” I say, still facing the breakers.
There is silence next to me.
I turn my head to look at him. He is staring at the breakers too. I take in his form. He is dressed in a white and brown robe that wraps loosely around his body and is rippled by the wind. His sandals reveal sand-scrubbed toes. His elbows are resting on his bent knees, allowing his hands to prop his chin. The wind is tugging at his wispy hair, causing it to dance before his eyes. At the moment my eyes seek out his, he turns to me. My stomach drops with a sharp in-take of breath. I’ve tried to identify the color of his eyes before, but it is impossible—they simultaneously engulf my being and flood my desert soul before I can make any claim upon a word of color.
“So touch me,” he says.
I pull myself out of him. “That’s not what I mean.” I divert my eyes back toward the sea. “I want to touch you beyond this place.”
“How is that possible if you won’t even try to do that here?”
I catch myself mid-eye-roll. Listen, Jaime.
“Alright,” I say, turning my focus back upon him. I raise my left hand and slowly reach it toward him. His eyes remain trained upon me. My hand reaches closer and closer. Just as I think my hand is about to land upon his upper arm, it passes right through him.
I am sitting in my mother’s study, working on my computer. I hear my mother’s voice behind me. She is talking on the phone. Then I feel her hand begin to play with my hair. A shiver of pleasure travels down my spine.
I yank my hand back out and away from his body.
“What was that?” I yell.
“What was what?” he responds quietly.
“You know what I’m talking about,” I reply, bitter accusation dripping from my voice.
Jesus looks at me, silently waiting. I force myself to calm down.
“Try again,” he says.
I move my arm more quickly this time, toward him and into him.
A friend is sitting beside me in the passenger seat of my car. I make a sly comment; he laughs and nudges me with his elbow. A smile escapes my lips.
I am laying on my mother’s old water bed. It is early in the morning—much too early for me to be awake. My mother is attempting to lull me back to sleep. She hums softly and runs her finger nails gently upon my bare arms. I close my eyes and slowly drift away.
I am sitting at the dining room table of my grandparents’s house. The extended family has gathered for a holiday celebration. I am anxious and am silently watching the antics around me. Then I hear my father’s voice behind me. It pauses above my head, and I feel his hands descend upon my shoulders. My racing heart begins to slow. He gives me an absent-minded massage as his soothing voice converses with those around us.
A group of my casual friends have gathered for a summer celebration. As we walk and laugh together, a friend of mine lightly rests her arm around my shoulders. The warmth of acceptance seeps through my body.
I am sitting, huddled, in a chair with tear streaks staining my face. My body is tense from shaking, and my head is bowed in shame. I have just confessed something dark and dirty. I am suspended, waiting for the condemning abandonment of the women who have heard. But instead, I feel a woman’s hand, moist with cleansing waters, brush my own. She pours more water over my hands and then holds them tightly. My muscles begin to loosen, massaged with forgiveness and love.
I withdraw my hand from him again. Without speaking, I stand up and walk back into the house. I walk to my bedroom and climb into the large empty bed. I pull the covers over my head and lay in the darkness.
I wrestle with myself in stillness. I cannot deny the love just shown me, but I want something more. What he has given me is wonderful, but it isn’t enough.
“Enough for what?” I hear Jesus ask. I hadn’t even heard him enter the room. I stretch my body as wide as I can upon the large bed. In doing so, I discover my answer. But I cannot bring myself to voice it.
Suddenly I can sense Jesus very close to me. His warmth brushes my right ear. "Closer than a whisper; close enough to hear your heart beat. Closer than a kiss; close enough to raise your heart beat."