WARNING: This post contains graphic content… If you struggle with cutting, or are sensitive to the graphic description of cutting, do not read this post. The intent is to create awareness in the body of Christ, of a struggle that is relatively common, and tragically hidden, because of fear of judgement. Healing comes when silence is broken.
It was late the following Saturday evening, just a few days after Abigail sent me those texts, saying she wanted her blades back, when I met her for the extra session.
I saw her sitting across the room, in the coffee shop, and it struck me, how good she looked. How much brighter her eyes had become since we met, and how there was even a glimmer of hope, where only darkness had been, previously.
I’m not naive. The battle is still real, and Abigail has a fight ahead of her, but I will celebrate every little positive sign, and every victory, no matter how insignificant it may seem to some. And I told her so.
The light in her eyes was only one of a few things I noticed that night. Her smile was a bit brighter than it had been when we first met, with a bit more real emotion behind it.
When I asked her if she feels more free than she did, she said yes, but added that she still longs for her blades, that the desire is overwhelmingly strong.
The conversation becomes a blur in my memory, because of what happened not long after…
We talked for a while about various things, and I pulled out my Bible to explore some of her questions. I do this cautiously with those who are completely shut down spiritually, because of the abuse of the Bible in their past. I find words of hope for them, and read those.
Whatever it was in conversation that led to it, I felt as though we were making a bit of progress, like Abigail was following. But in one instant our evening spun out of control. I was mid-sentence when it happened, and it took a moment to register…
Abigail dove forward, completely out of character, so that it stunned me too much to react. She snatched something from my Bible and leaned back, defiance and victory replacing the typical reserved demeanour.
As I absorbed the moment, it dawned on me…
My heart sank. A wave of mild nausea washed over me as the shock faded and reality registered. I had left the blades in my Bible, having completely forgotten about them.
Oh God! What have I done! My heart cried silently. I felt sickeningly responsible for the weapon in her hand. I had launched her into an all out battle.
I reached out my hand, pleading with Abigail to give me the blades.
“Please?” I said, desperately.
She looked with defiance, as if challenging me, or taunting. I couldn’t tell for sure. “Please, may I have it back?” I asked again.
I sat there for some time, my heart beating just a bit harder than usual, and my hand still outstretched. That’s when it caught my eye–the other blade–sticking out of my Bible. I snatched it, and popped it in my pocket, not taking any more chances. When it poked my leg, and I realized I was at risk of getting cut, I moved it, but kept it close to me.
It occurred to me, after a little while, that I felt far too responsible. Yes, I had made a mistake by leaving the blades in my Bible, but I am human, and at the end of the day it is not my choice to make. I can support, encourage and empower, but beyond that, I cannot control or take ownership for the behaviour or choices of another individual.
“Do you want the other one?” I asked, as I pulled out the second blade, and placed it on the coffee table in between us. “This is your decision,” I continued, “God gave you freewill for a reason. I cannot choose for you.”
Abigail looked sceptical. “Are you trying to guilt me?” she asked.
“No. I realized that it is not mine to carry. I told you I’d feel like your blood was on my hands, if something happened, but I can’t carry that. You need to make a decision.”
I removed personal items from my Bible, and slipped them into my laptop bag, then placed my Bible beside the blade. “Just one thing…. if you’re going to take the other blade, please take my Bible too. I’m leaving them both on the coffee table,” I said.
There were some long moments, of awkward silence. I’m okay with awkward. I imagine Jesus went through lots of awkward moments too. And if it helps a person, I’ll go through a thousand awkward moments, for their freedom.
At some point she said she needed to go to the restroom.
“Leave the blade here, please,” I said.
“Why?” Her eyes held a challenge, as if to say, ‘what ya gonna do about it?’
“Are you going to cut?” I asked.
“I might,” she said, still smirking.
“I give you five minutes to return, and not a minute longer,” I told her.
“And if I’m not?” she asked.
“If you are not back in five minutes, I will call 911. I won’t take any chances. I am here to fight for your heart and your soul, but I will fight for your life too. Five minutes… No longer.”
Abigail disappeared into the bathroom.
I looked at the time….
It ticked slowly by…
…To be Continued…
© Trudy Metzger
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