I grew up in a household with a charismatic, charming, entertaining brother who had a moral opposition to dead air space. He was infectiously fun, quite the contrast to my dark and serious personality, and would commandeer a room with his mere presence. His charisma did not allow me to have much of a chance to…well…talk. When I was 8 years old, I decided that I would start to help my mom make dinner. Helping my mom allowed me to learn to cook, but more importantly, it gave me highly valued 1-on-1 time with her. One evening, my mom, (who to this day regrets this decision) had me chopping onions for dinner. She armed me with a cutting board and a knife and said “Can you dice the onions?” While I was regaling my mom with stories from the day, I began to peel and slice each piece. And then something happened. I slipped with the knife and cut my finger. This strong willed 8-year-old went into disaster assessment and knew I could not let my over protective mom see that I hurt myself. She would never let me help again.
I feigned an emergency bathroom issue and ran to hide and cover up my mistake. I shut the door and began to cry. As the tears streamed down my face I washed off the blood and dug through cabinets praying to find a bandaid or anything that would cover up what happened. After what seemed like hours there was a knock on the bathroom door. It was my mom who asked three very simple words, “Are you okay?” I knew at that moment as the tears were unstoppable and the bleeding out of control that I had to tell her. “No, I’m not.” I knew…I was caught. When she opened the door, I was standing with my finger wrapped in blood soaked toilet paper, and I tried in my strongest eight-year-old way to explain that I was crying from cutting onions. And then, I fell into her arms and she took care of me.
My entire life has been riddled with examples of me hiding my pain and mistakes. I have so many memories of camouflaging the realities of what was happening in my life. I was hurting on the inside, suffering through anguish, exhausted from appearing strong and sometimes in the bathroom with the door shut, emotionally bleeding and unable to stop the tears. There was always a knock on the door to my soul asking, “Are you okay?” God always knocked. Sometimes I would wrap up those fears and anguish and open the door with renewed bravado and explain that I was just fine. I was strong. My girls could count on me, my family could count on me, and above all the God that knocked on the door could count on me. And then one day I had myself secluded and I couldn’t wrap up the hurt anymore. I sat there with all the emotional cushioning I could find and my pain was still bleeding through. God stood outside and knocked and asked, “Are you okay?” I knew I was caught. As I fell into his arms, I said, “No, I’m not.”
God is always there to wrap up the pain and the hurt and to allow us second chances. He stands firm in helping us heal and quietly reassures us that nothing is too broken for Him. He never asks why I closed the door. He just continues to knock.
In all honesty, I don’t think I could use a knife in my mom’s kitchen until the day I was preparing for my high school graduation party, and I know even to this day if I take too long in the bathroom, my mother is running to get the first aid kit. As I look forward, I know there will be times that I shut the door and the pain will start to invade my soul. But, I will also know that the knock is coming. Redemption and second chances just need me to open the door.