“There is therefore now

no condemnation

nor [redacted] snacks

for those who are

in Christ Jesus.”

 

A text sent with a smile

with my tongue in my cheek

with hands that set the phone aside

to warm brie

arrange crackers

pour wine into a decanter.

 

I’d worn shame like a shawl that day

bundling myself inside it—

like I wanted to

like it might comfort me

like at least it was known.

 

But then the sweat

would pour down my back

the prior chill

turn to fire.

 

__________

 

Four nights

since I shook in my bed

since self-loathing overcame me

since I whispered, “This is why I should just be alone.”

 

Three days

since eating was agony

since every bite felt counterintuitive

since my own mind told me I was feeding a monster.

 

Two nights

since I thanked a friend for loving me well

since she replied, “It’s so easy!”

since I did not believe her.

 

One day

since I wanted to cancel plans

since I wondered if shaking in my bed

was better

than hosting on my couch

if the possibility of alone

was better

than the possibility of together

if the thoughts

ever ready to

fragment

and

disquiet

were the truest parts of me

anyway.

 

__________

 

I wander store aisles

and buy four times the amount I intend

—cheese, crackers, beer, wine

ice cream, chocolate, almonds—

a “dessert-only” night turned

a range of appetizers

a guest’s choice of drinks

(and still dessert, too,

though I’ll forget to serve it).

 

The shopping feels

rebellious and resistant

subversive and strong

like I am telling shame

that it cannot have my appetite

for food

for friendship

for fullness

like I am pushing back

by welcoming

by celebrating

by rehearsing the feast to come

the one where shame

already borne

will be no more.

 

_________

 

I’ve always wanted my home

—our home:

a husband,

two little boys,

whoever needs our guest room,

me—

to say “yes” to the worth of others

to the comfort of their souls

to the nourishment of their bodies

no matter their sin

their shame

their sadness.

 

And tonight

as our doorway says, “Yes”

to those who walk through it,

I’ll let our home

our food

our fellowship

say “yes”

to me,

too.

Abby Perry
Abby Perry is a writer, nonprofit communications coordinator, wife, and mom living in College Station, Texas. She pens a weekly column for Fathom Mag, has written for The Gospel Coalition, Christ and Pop Culture, and iBelieve, and contributes to the Shalom Sistas with Osheta Moore podcast. Abby graduated from Texas A&M University and currently attends Dallas Theological Seminary. Find her on Twitter @abbyjperry.

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