Living Water

by arianne

I step into the shower.  Scared.  The steam makes my breath catch, mirroring how my heart feels.  I can’t catch my soul-breath.  A crushed soul can’t breathe.

This is the first shower.  The first one since…

I’m scared because the shower is my thinking time.  The time when I reflect, get ideas, think about my writing, my life, my goals and my family.

I’m scared because the last time I was in this shower I was pregnant.  Everything right now is “the last time I did this I was pregnant…”

All day long I’m supposed to be in bed.  Recovering from the birth.

But I must DO.

Sitting = thinking.  Thinking = pain.  I can’t find enough things to do right now.  Everything seems trivial and pointless.  I went to the store yesterday and envied the way everyone there just went about their day.  I could barely walk, could barely breathe.  I can’t look people in the eye.  Envy turns to anger.  Don’t they know what just happened?  How can they just…move on?  Anger turns soft, and I know they don’t mean it.  Life has to keep going on.  Emails have to come in that seem futile.  The fridge is empty.  The clothes are dirty.  My hair and skin need water-life breathed into them.

So I step into the shower.

The sweat from laboring is still there.  I’m sad to let it go.  Each thing that I let go of, Mabel seems farther away.

The circles of sticky, where each wire was carefully place to EKG my heart…they unceremoniously surround my crushed soul.  The sticky won’t come off.  Sad to let go of the sweat on my brow, I am suddenly fierce in my desire to get these circle sticky marks off my body.  I scrub until I’m raw and red, burned, but the sticky is still there.  The sweat rinses with ease, but these symbols of heartbreak won’t leave me.

Next I notice my arm, bruised where elephant sized needles were shoved deep, to quickly give life.  There is sticky there too.  Tape ripped, hair with it, sticky remains.

Why won’t the memories I want, stay, and the others go away?

I relent, stop scrubbing.  And begin to rinse.  The water runs through my hair and I imagine Mabel’s hair like mine.  Perhaps it would’ve been straight and dark and people would have commented how much we looked alike.  I would’ve braided it and brushed it and laughed at what a knotted mess it often was.  I smile.

I notice the more I rinse, the better I feel.

The water, like Living Water, begins to slowly put this crushed soul back together.  I realize the soul will look different.  Never the same.  I don’t know how to be that new soul yet.  A soul crushed and rinsed with tears, filled again with Spirit and Promise and Power.  God-salve will have to fill every wound.  Healing takes time, a crushing wound one of the worst, takes the longest.

I stay in the shower until the water runs cold.  I imagine my heart thirsty for this cold water, and I stay longer.  No longer any steam catching my breathe, the cold now wakes me up.  The pain-stupor rinsed off.

I realize someone will start to worry if I don’t get out soon.  The cold begins to numb, and I know I don’t want to be numb anymore.

So I step out of the shower.

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