subject line: love, cynicism, and that shit we call "the process" May 28, 2016 by Hannah Brencher waco, texas You kissed my wine-stained lips with the same sort of passion that fuels the way you handle life: purposefully, but with grace. I could taste the kindness that makes up every ounce of your soul; I could taste the beer, too. I don’t like beer, but oh, how I love you. Drink your beer, and then kiss my face. Our drunken routine, though neither of us have had enough to be drunk off the stuff we’re sipping. I swear, it’s love. It’s just a ridiculous love that has me feeling this tipsy and warm. When you are close to me, it’s not close enough. When you are far away, I bask in the anticipation that’s paired with absence.Over the past year, I have been introduced to and started walking closely with cynicism. My faith, once sturdy, died a sudden and painful death, and is in the process of slowly resurrecting into something different entirely. I have deep wells of bitterness living in this barely-beating thing in my chest. I have big questions for the God who I have reluctantly decided probably exists; questions nobody, especially not he, are answering. I open the bible and grimace at passages I once claimed were without error and the stuff of comfort; none of it comforts me anymore. My thoughts are littered with disappointment and doubt with every verse, every chapter. On the days that beast we call depression wakes me up (or keeps me asleep), I tearfully whisper my mantra: “Why?” My head and my heart are rarely content, rarely comforted though we’ve spent our lives trying to come to the cross for the peace that eludes me. I know it’s important, this journey. I am at war with myself and everything I’ve ever known, but I am also in love. You are not dissuaded by my cynical nature; you have only ever stayed. You make sure I eat on my darkest days, and you dance with me in the kitchen when my heart is light. You make me think deeply about the things that are important (love, faith, grace, fear, social justice, racism, and equality, to name a few). When my family began to disown me, you came closer; you taught me how to take a position of grace even in the midst of anger. You have always taken care of me, even when I hate that I need you to so goddamn much. “I’m with you,” you remind me, every single day. And I’m with you. We’re now looking at engagement rings and wedding venues. And it’s just insane to me that it requires no effort on your part to choose me for the rest of your life. But, when I watch the steady rise and fall of your chest as you sleep in my lap, I understand. When I listen to the way you speak to others and the way you care for the poor and oppressed, I understand. When you meticulously and lovingly research recipes of dishes that won’t make me sick like so many other things do, I understand. When you listen to my anger-induced rants about God, I understand. When you make mistakes and speak out of frustration, I understand. When you are insensitive, I understand. When you are fully you, I understand. You are not perfect, and I am certainly not even close. But, my god, do we love each other. And I’m just writing this to say thank you; thank you for choosing me in what has been the darkest time of my life. And thank you for staying, anyways. You are everything the world needs, and I love you.