Bare Cupboards

by melissakiefer

No secret. I don’t like it here. My attitude is awful.

Last night I ran away. And the plight (and also salvation) of the trooper’s wife is that she’ll somehow always get found.

Lost and insecure. You found me, surround me.

Just a little late. Where were you, where were you?

I ran because I missed him.


I ran because the small mind-mentality of the home I miss is to talk about a person instead of to her. To say logically that future employers won’t hire me. Because of my truth. Because I dare to share it. Because burying is just as foolish. To me. I should be careful, he said. Said it not to me but about me instead of caring as a friend should for a broken human being.

I ran because I wanted to feel God again. Somewhere. Somehow. And I did not. Not in verses or conversations or in the quiet. And this feeling is no fault of God’s.

What is so bad about feelings? I know they are temporary. I simply can’t comprehend, in this moment, how God will redeem the years the locust devoured. But I know. With faith, I know. But I don’t agree with the throwing around of scripture to cover up feelings and then not even feeling the scripture. Feelings are bad. Repress them. Choke on them like you would choke on vomit. Follow the rules. All of this:  The culmination of the only message I remember from months of northern church-going.


Jesus wept. Washed dirty feet. Bled. Wept and washed and bled, and because he was as equally human as divine, he felt emotions. And did not throw stones at others’ emotions. And why are we ashamed of humanness, of brokenness, of our own sometimes-darkness?

As I ran, I realized the loneliness of nowhere to go. I am to blame. I isolated myself. If I were home, I wouldn’t bother a soul by showing up on anyone’s porch. Not even family or closest friends. But the difference between here and there? Simply knowing that I could. Comfort in that knowledge. I could say, “I just need to ‘be’ for a moment. Need some shelter from this dark night.

Then I could be, for a moment, a human being instead of a human “doing.” Then I could stop trying to convince others, “I was good once. In every sense of the word. I wish you knew me when I was good.”

No secret, obviously. I do not like it here. But I can tell you what I do have here, the things I’ll look back and be thankful for.

I have the opportunity to work with women who’ve taught me how to get stuff done. Effectively. Efficiently. Successfully. You dive right in. You embrace creativity. You don’t have to be afraid of ideas. You don’t necessarily need a man around to help you get the shit done. You simply convince yourself you are not a dainty bird. You innovate. You dream. You visualize. You do it. And you care genuinely for others in the process.

I have the opportunity to help a girl feel more comfortable in her humanness. And in her own writing. And in her own communication. And in turn, every Thursday at her house also helps me.

We have a house with a too-small kitchen too close to the highway. Old, old bathroom. Bad furniture. But I feel safer here than the other house. Basement is dry and clean. And there are no mice taunting me. No infestation. And there’s enough room for a garden plot. We are not settled. How can we be when we do not know? Still some boxes. No paint on the walls.

But I’ve been wondering lately what shelter means. I think it is the place where you get found. And I read somewhere recently, is love a lavish feast to devour? Or is love what you manage to pull together for a meal when the cupboards are bare?