telling the story: empty your hands {day 4}

4 Oct

I wake that Friday morning to two things: I am not in my bed. And there is bacon cooking.

I slept that night at The Lodge, after the tea was drunk and the tears were cried. I fell asleep in Bonnie’s bed, soft as a cloud, and she wrapped a blanket around me. That morning, I open slowly, hung over from crying, from saying things you cannot take back.

As I lie in bed, I listen to the activity downstairs.

She brews the coffee and sets out the good organic cream from Trader Joe’s. She fries the bacon and then (glory, hallelujah) fries the eggs in the bacon grease. She toasts bread, good bread with nuts and seeds, and spreads it with butter.

It is a ritual of our Saturday mornings. Every few weeks, we make breakfast together in our pajamas. I peel and chop the potatoes for hash browns and make toast. She puts on the coffee to brew, then fries bacon and eggs. Our hands are busy, and our lips are singing. When breakfast is cooked, we sit down, give thanks, and break the bread and the bacon, our Saturday sacrament.

But this day, it is Friday, and she does for me what I am too spent to do for myself.

“Breakfast,” she says. I come downstairs and cup my hands around a mug of coffee as if it were the only thing in the world, as if it were the cup of blessing. Maybe it is.

She takes my hands to pray, clasps them tight. She thanks God for bacon and coffee, for this table, for me. She asks for things I cannot imagine–help, hope. Healing.

“You need to make an appointment with the counselor,” she says softly. “Promise me you’ll call them today.” She does not need to say, this is serious and I don’t want you to get hurt. She does not need to say, I love you, no matter what. I know. 

Yesterday, I was brittle, but today I am soft as clay. “I know,” I say. “I will.” I have no arguments left.

Last night, I lectured them about my flaws, my failures, like they were children. But today, I am the child. I listen, nod. I have nothing in my hands to give. I am fed by food from another’s table.

It is new to me to have empty hands. They are always full. The Sunday School teachers taught me God was my heavenly Father, and I was always bringing home trophies for the mantel, good report cards to sign. When I come to God, I always bring something.

When I come to the ones I love, I always bring something. But today, I have nothing. No jokes, no homemade biscotti, not even my right mind. There is love still.

I look across the table at the last piece of applewood bacon, at my full cup of coffee, at my friend.

I open my empty hands and take that communion.

This post is part of a series, 31 Days of Healing. Check out Day 1 or the complete list of posts. If you want to follow along, you can also subscribe by email or subscribe in a feed reader. And thank you so much for reading!


6 Responses to “telling the story: empty your hands {day 4}”

  1. wynnegraceappears October 5, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Your writing is exquisite, tender and holds so much beauty. So glad to have discovered your words, your blog. Bless you.

    • Christina October 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      Thank you for the kind words and for visiting!

  2. Laura Beach October 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    So glad you’re posting on facebook now so I have a reminder to read your blogs! As I was reading this one, I kept thinking of the song Betty’s Diner by Carrie Newcomer…check out her stuff if you aren’t familiar!

    Love to you! – Laura

    • Christina October 13, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      Laura love,
      I am going to have to check that out. I’ve heard you & Bonnie playing the Carrie Newcomer and know she’s good. Love you, and I wish I was going to be seeing you & the girls next week. Eat some yummy food and sing some hymns in my honor.

  3. Morgan Guyton October 21, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    What a gift it is to have empty hands. Empty hands are dependent on God. Wow, thanks for this. It helps me to narrate my own dark night of the soul better. I just wrote a song called “Everything I have belongs to you.” I think the only way you get to an organic place of being empty enough to be joyful and grateful is to have empty hands, however that realization comes about. I suppose you can get there without depression, but I wouldn’t know how. Here’s a youtube of my song. Hope it’s not spam for me to share it.


  1. How children save us « Mercy not Sacrifice - October 26, 2012

    […] Christina is writing a very beautiful blog series this October about her battle with depression. One of her pieces describes this experience of having empty […]

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