The evening started out fine: dinner and drinks out with a few friends and my boyfriend at our favorite Mexican joint in upstate New York. After dinner we migrated towards a local bar to meet up with a different group of friends for a few drinks.
I’m typically quite good at pacing myself and feeling how much I’ve had to drink and when I need to stop. I’m way past the stage of life where I am seeking to have more than enough alcoholic beverages. That evening, though, apparently my inner radar was off, because I was fine, I was fine, and then suddenly a line was crossed and I was decidedly not fine very quickly. I vaguely remember my boyfriend’s face spinning as he said to his friends that he had never seen me this way before and that he needed to take me home.
By the time we got home I was yelling that I needed to throw up. My boyfriend swarmed around me, putting a trash can in front of me and trying to get me comfortable. I told him I didn’t want him to see me that way and asked that he leave the room. After I had thrown up I screamed for him and he took the trash can away. I felt better for a few seconds, and then I immediately needed to throw up again as the room spun around me and tilted on it’s axis.
Guilt and shame washed over me, and hot tears began to stream down my face as my boyfriend hugged me. My crying became increasingly more intense, to the point where I could no longer speak. My boyfriend stroked my hair as I cried on his shoulder, my body heaving with my heavy sobs. This was way past the “cute cry” stage; snot was running down my face and my eyes were swollen shut. What began as a sting of shame for my boyfriend seeing me in such a vulnerable position that I was ashamed of turned into a release. I’m not quite sure when it switched from being gentle tears of shame for being drunk when I had not intended to drink too much to every thing I ever felt guilty for, and everything I felt ashamed of breaking off me.
For an hour I sobbed on my boyfriend’s shoulder and allowed everything to break off me: every last bit of guilt, shame, fear, and every heavy load I have carried throughout my life. Memories from my childhood, family drug addictions, my parents divorce- every last bit of false responsibility I had carried broke off with each loud sob. There was a shift from feeling ashamed to a deep inner knowing of how unconditionally loved I am by this man of mine, and I was undone. My boyfriend embodied the love of the Father to me that night in flesh and bone beside me and fear, guilt, shame and regret cannot stand in light of that Love.
For the first time in my life I felt like I could finally let go. Experiencing this unconditional love wrapped in skin and holding me tight allowed me to shake off my weary past and finally see and feel myself as beloved. There was an urgent nature to my sobs: a shrugging off of all that entangled, a setting free. There’s a mysterious nature to what broke inside me that night, but I know it was deeply spiritual, necessary, and good.
The deep mystery is I am beloved by God sins, faults, and all. And I’m beloved by this man of mine sins, faults, and all. There’s nothing more life changing than that. There’s nothing more freeing than that.
**please note I am not condoning drunkenness in this post in any way. I’m simply trying to praise the God who turns everything around for good, even our faults and shortcomings.**