The Words Don’t Reach

Gentle Reader,

There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is suffering too terrible to name

The moments when you’re in so deep
It feels easier to just swim down

If you see [her] in the street, walking by
[Her]self…have pity

You knock me out, I fall apart

We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable

– “It’s Quiet Uptown,” Lin-Manuel Miranda

Someone died.

I’ve been staring at the blinking cursor for a good few minutes, unsure how to go on. Or if to go on. But, blast it all, this is how it works. How I work. Something happens and I am compelled to put words to it. The words that I can’t speak, the ones that get caught somewhere between my mind and my throat, the ones that are released only through my often ink-stained fingers. The psalmist tells us that his bones grew old when he kept silent. I feel that.

A weekend of euphoria. Flying high.

Practically perfectly paced for a crash-landing as the reality of brokenness rears its ugly head once more.

And it’s a moment that the words don’t reach, even as I strain for them. Even as I grapple to make sense of what I logically, rationally know I will never understand.

What do you do with that? When you know you’ll never understand, when the opportunity for restoration has passed? When you’ll never have the important conversation or hear the acknowledgement? When you’re still dealing with the destruction, the ripples of which have spread far and wide?

I sit at Jesus’ feet and I tell Him that I don’t know. I don’t have the answers to these questions. I’m not even sure that I want Him to answer them right now. I just want to lean against Him, wrapped in holy silence and a love that requires no speech in its expression. He doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, He welcomes women like me to just this place, just this position, for it is here that we best learn.

Triggered. It’s a word I despise. It’s been abused and misused. People use it to silence constructive, valid opposition.

But here I am, the switch flipped, flashing back in my mind to every scene. Every interaction. Wondering what I should have done, could have done, differently. A deep, gnawing anguish in the pit of my stomach. The fear that every woman has, no matter how much healing she has experienced, that maybe, just maybe, she really did bring it on herself. Ask for it. By being too beautiful or too smart or too different.

Too…womanly, with the curves and the softness and the hair and the smile.

Frightened by what God designed and delights in.

Because you have been treated wrongly.

I suppose I should just get over it.

I wish it was so easy. I long for it to be so easy.

God, You were there. You saw it all. You know what’s true and what’s false. Please, reveal that to me. Help me, Father. I feel stupid and selfish for asking. I don’t even know why I’ve written this vague thing on this public platform. But maybe somebody else feels the same way. Maybe somebody else had the wind knocked clean out of her lungs in the space of a few seconds. Maybe he knows what I mean here. I know You do. Help me. Help them. Help us.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.

– Matthew 5:4, 7 & 9 (CSB)


8 thoughts on “The Words Don’t Reach

  1. Praying for you here, Marie.

    In the sonnet below, ‘dope’ means ‘data on previous engagements’ and is a concatenated ballistics table specific to a given sniper rifle, and taped to its stock.

    There is so much beyond my ken,
    so much that I don’t get,
    for I walked in step with men
    the world would as soon forget.
    Not for us the gentle graces
    of understanding’s soft caress;
    just hard-shuttered faces
    and thoughts you’d never guess.
    All I really had to know
    was dope taped to the stock
    so I could strike counterblow,
    thinning Satan’s flock.
    Though good words may never rise,
    shared tears yet come to my eyes.


  2. Marie, I do identify with what you are writing, as I so often do.
    Attacks, abuse, doubt, self-recrimination…all of it is part of my experience, and I relive these events and emotions regularly as I try to make sense of it all. Sometimes I am more successful at coping, other times, not so much.
    I am grateful for the Psalms, because in David’s agonizing pleas to God I see that He accepts my anger and confusion and hopelessness, even as I see a glimmer of hope for resolution and restoration. I am also comforted there by the healing power of praise, even in our darkest moments.
    Be encouraged, dear sister, you are helping others more than you know, and you are not alone in feeling this way.


    1. Thank you so much. The Psalms have been a huge comfort to me, too. I love that the authors just lay it all out there, confident that God will hear and respond.


    1. Thank you! I know I replied to your Instagram comment about this post, but I’ve gotten so behind here… Oy! Playing the catch up game today. 🙂


  3. Oh sweet Marie, how your words resonate with me! I also am grateful for the Psalms and in fact, have been using a devotional on the Psalms since New Year’s Day. I seek to understand “me” and am thankful and grateful for a Savior who already does! I agree with the above statement – You are helping others more than you know and you are not alone in feeling this way. I love you and love your honest and direct writing – it always goes straight to my heart!



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