Fear not, for I am with you.
He tells me many times
and yet I fear.
Not having enough,
Patiently, He tells me again:
Fear not, for I am with you.
Then all my defenses come down
Like an imploding building,
The dust of my misery making a cloud
To block out His sun.
I am more than He bargained for –
The gray child, neither flesh nor spirit.
Yet He loves me and will not leave me.
Fear not, He says again and again.
Perhaps when I am gone from this place
Into His heaven, I will not fear.
Perhaps when paradise surrounds me
with beautiful oases I can rest and release my fear,
for He is with me always.
There’s something in the water –
you would think that all my sins would
muddy it up.
Looking deep, peering into my
most treasured secrets, I’m amazed to find it
still clean and pure.
Not my doing, but His.
Saving me is His job; baptism is mine.
Not the first time I’ve submerged into this
cold spirit bath, but the first time I’ve
Did the other time mean nothing?
No, but informed consent is all important.
I’ve felt saved for simply years, but if this is
what my Savior wants, I’m happy to comply.
And so I step in and down,
admiring the way my robe floats around my
shivering legs, like the petals on a wild rose.
So now there’s something in the water; me and Jesus.
I’m anticipating a cold fire to land on my head
as I arise back to air.
He does not fail me –
I feel clean, finally and yes saved by a hair.
Grateful worship enters my soul –
I am His now and no longer drowning in guilt.
No one will enter hell because of me, I am whole, He is all.
He said He was the vine and I the branch.
Then, that I should remain in Him.
He used the word remain eleven times
during our conversation.
So many times I had to realize it was very important
to Him that I understand.
So I’m trying and it’s not too hard,
just the part where He said
I would remain with Him forever.
For all He did and does for me,
all I must do in return is remain?
What does He see in me?
Why am I so valuable to Him?
So many questions, but just one answer – remain.
Another said “Dwell,” and one more said, “Abide.”
I like remain – in it’s simplicity
it embraces my world and me in it.
With room to spare for Him,
It’s so dark where you are and
unsure how to step into light.
Your bad habits no longer serve you,
so why not let them go?
Of course they’re comfortable and
warm while it’s cold outside.
You’d be better off though, without them.
They hold you back, make you untrustworthy,
constantly declare love of your abuse.
Your process is not my concern,
my life not your business
to question .
Your dark is just shadows, not like the dark
found in caves deep and
full of lakes in which to fall.
No neon-white fish with teeth to rip
into your flesh – it’s really not that bad in the light.
Just set down some of your burden – it won’t hurt to try.
There, just there, under his heart
is where it began,
an odd stirring and warm.
Slow, steady, not the crazed gallop
as when heroin was his false idol.
This felt like loving a good woman,
like being understood,
like being accepted.
His memories rushed in to fill
the empty places of his mind.
He’d last felt this stirring as a boy
before his life went to hell.
Before he decided to live there awhile,
before the scars on his arms.
Now, slow as ice, he felt content with himself,
with the world.
Like he could live without idols.
Happy is what it was.
Just content with the slow, steady
beat of his heart.
Did it start with the iron brought down
hard on your head?
I don’t imagine it did.
I think of the thousands of ways it is possible
to hurt someone.
I think, Yes, there must have been previous
wounds to body and soul.
I think, Yes, you must have suffered often.
And was it just you?
Did your twin suffer as well?
Cut apart, we had no way to watch out for the others.
Like a spy, I got bits of information,
You lived alone.
Our father brought you groceries on Saturdays.
Upon meeting my daughter you cocked your head –
was that in some far-off recollection of my name,
or just a tic caused by the cursed iron?
On the final indignity of diabetes,
It took your leg, but was that all?
Did you enjoy anything at all,
locked away in your cell of a mind?
Our sister feels outrage that we were all
denied each other and now she’s always careful
to make sure I know how much she loves me.
Did anyone do the same for you?
I have more questions than answers, younger brother.
We were all just victims of our parents’ diseases.
And now you are free and I will never have a chance to
bring you groceries, whisper my name in your ear.
Impossible to forget the first time,
riding so high your heart nearly bursting
with the artificial joy.
You’ll never get that back – it’ll never be the same
no matter how many times you
stab yourself, hurt yourself, debase yourself.
Right now there’s only hunger
and chasing a foggy dream.
There’s only a mist-filled tunnel and
you can’t see the lights bearing down on you.
Small, alone, sweating, cowering on your knees.
Arise, sweet man,
take back your life,
but not for mother or lover; for you.
How did I become your project?
Friend, I’m trying to envision how the
conversation went that turned me
into something that needed
teaching, saving, a gentle, fierce project
that would save me into Jesus’ loving care.
Do you know this?
What about this?
Oh you’re a smarter monkey than we’d thought.
Impossible that I could simply be
as good as you.
If you don’t believe I’m His,
just ask Him – He will tell you to Whom I belong.
Your arrogance eats at the ego
I’m desperately dancing to rid myself of.
I think of your efforts on my behalf & feel
obliged to allow you access to my Spirit.
Then, later, alone in my lonely room,
the bitter taste of self-betrayal fills my mouth.
Please, don’t try to save me –
Someone else has already done your work.
You see, Beloved, the truth is that
I just don’t like you very much.
In another kind of life we wouldn’t
hang out together, share our secrets or
cry our tears over the milk we’ve spilt.
I have not found a well of respect for you;
Nor can I take you or your silly life seriously.
I so wish I could, but there’s a boulder
standing in my way that just won’t let me pass,
no matter how much I bribe & weep.
Nature dictates I love you &
sometimes I can almost manage that, but
Respect? Affection? Empathy?
Sorry, can’t summon them.
I just don’t like you very much.
I remember loving you with nuclear heat
Though we stayed cool together,
our feelings ran deep & our flesh
was contained in polished exoskeletons.
No one could touch us; many tried,
calm & knowing
to whom we belonged
Easily kept the world out of our shells.
We hardly spoke, yet it was clear
we partook of destiny – so meant to be
That the world didn’t trouble us at all.
You bought me a silver engraved heart necklace –
I still remember the weight of it around my neck
And I miss it just as I miss you.