Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'I didn't go to the flea market the week of my abortion.

I stayed home, and smoked dope and got drunk, and tried to write a little, and went for slow walks along the salt marsh with Pammy.

On the seventh night, though, very drunk
and just about to taking a sleeping pill,

I discovered that I was bleeding heavily.

It did not stop over the next hour.
I was going through a pad every fifteen minutes,
and I thought I should call a doctor or Pammy,
but I was so disgusted that I had gotten so drunk
one week after an abortion that
I just couldn't wake someone up and ask for help.
I kept changing Kotex,
and got very sober very quickly.

Several hours later, the blood stopped flowing,
and I got in bed, shaky and sad
and too wild to have another drink
or take a sleeping pill.
I had a cigarette and turned off the light.

After a while, as I lay there,
I became aware of someone with me,
hunkered down in the corner,
and I just assumed it was my father,
whose presence I had felt over the years
when I was frightened and alone.

The feeling was so strong that I actually turned on the light for a moment
to make sure no one was there - of course, there wasn't.
But after a while, in the dark again,
I knew beyond a doubt that it was Jesus.
I felt him surely as I feel my dog lying nearby as I write this.

And I was appalled.
I thought about my life and my brilliant hilarious progressive friends,
I thought about what everyone would think of me if I became a Christian,
and it seemed an utterly impossible thing that simply could not be allowed to happen.
I turned to the wall and said out loud,
"I would rather die."

I felt him sitting there on his haunches in the corner of my sleeping loft,
watching me with patience and love,
and I squished my eyes shut,
but that didn't help because
that's not what I was seeing him with.

Finally I fell asleep, and in the morning, he was gone.

This experience spooked me badly,
but I thought it was just an apparition,
born of fear and self-loathing and booze and loss of blood.
But everywhere I went,
I had the feeling that a little cat was following me,
wanting me to reach down and pick it up,
wanting me to open the door and let it in.

But I knew what would happen:
you let a cat in one time,
give it a little milk,
and then it stays forever.
So I tried to keep one step ahead of it,
slamming my houseboat door when I entered or left.

And one week later, when I went back to church,
I was so hungover that I couldn't stand up for the songs,
and this time I stayed for the sermon,
which i just thought was so ridiculous,
like someone trying to convince me of the existence of extraterrestrials,
but the last song was so deep and raw and pure that I could not escape.
It was as if people were singing in between the notes,
weeping and joyful at the same time,
and I felt like their voices or 'something'
was rocking me in its bosom,
holding me like a scared kid,
and I opened up to that feeling -
and it washed over me.

I began to cry and left before the benediction,
and I raced home and felt the little cat running along at my heels,
and I walked down the dock past dozens of potted flowers
under a sky as blue as one of God's own dreams,
and I opened the door to my boathouse,
and I stood there a minute,
and then I hung my head and said,
"OK: I quit."

I took a long deep breath and said out loud,
"All right. You can come in."

So this was my beautiful moment of conversion.'

Anne Lamott:
Travelling Mercies - Some Thoughts On Faith