I hate the Bible.

These words shock me as I form them on my lips, form them with my fingers. They are harsh, ugly.

My own mind rebels against this unwelcome sentiment. I try to swallow it. I cannot.

You are horrified too. Arguments tumble up and spill out almost instantly — questions and objections and all the reasons why I shouldn’t.

And God knows if there’s one thing we’ve argued about round and round forever it’s the Bible. I know this won’t end well.

So let’s talk about water instead.

///

I hate the Bible the way one nearly drowned hates water.

My arms flail helpless in the waves. No matter how I thrash against the swelling surface, I am unable to stay afloat. The weight of my own body dooms me.

Yes, I came from water, grew lips and limbs and heartbeat immersed in water. Yes, it is in me and all through me and inseparable from me. Yes, water is necessary for the survival of every living thing.

It nearly killed me.

I’m gasping, wondering with each breath if it’s my last. Choking to death on the very essence of life. My lungs fill with water crushing me from the inside out.

God, I’d give anything for one more breath of air. 

I hate the Bible the way one nearly drowned hates water.

I hate it knowing that my involuntary revulsion is irrational.

Knowing doesn’t stop the flashbacks.

///

Tell me all the reasons I am wrong:

“How could you hate water? Most people don’t have a problem with it.”

“How could you hate water? It’s not the water’s fault that you nearly drowned.”

“How could you hate water? Don’t you know that it’s good for you? You just need to try again.”

and this one, most of all:

“How could you hate water? People have crawled across the desert for just a drop of it. You’re so ungrateful.”

///

It should have quenched my parched tongue, cooled my throat. It should have given me strength.

Instead, it filled my lungs.

I should have swallowed it when I was thirsty.

Instead, it swallowed me completely.

I hate water because it should have given me life.

Instead, it nearly killed me.

///

I hate the Bible the way one nearly drowned hates water.

It almost suffocated my soul.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to read its pages again without feeling the air disappear from my chest.

Maybe.

///

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