How do you explain why elephants
appear to move their unwieldy hulks
with greater dignity than most humans do
in their finest moments,
as if they had evolved beyond wanting
anything but what they have?
Why does the field begin to ripple
before the wind arrives in whispers,
as if there were a communication,
as if the landscape were poorly dubbed,
and we weren’t expected to notice?
What butterfly does not dart away from us
as if it could sense our latent cruelties,
and yet return to check and double-check?
Has the night not gotten recently darker,
as if to insinuate that we have squandered
the light that was there?
Have we made too much of our own?
And did you notice afterward the dawn
opening up with a tentative eagerness
as if there were something crucial to illumine,
as if we would wake up early just to see it?
I imagine you reading this now
with an expression of quiet trouble
itself troubled by currents of hope,
as if you imagined me here with you,
as if I might be able to see your expression,
and at least answer it with mine.
It had been awhile since I'd been jolted awake in the middle of the night by my heart beating out of my chest. Sunday night's unwelcome episode was a real doozie. Once it hits, the inexplicable onslaught of panic, there is little to be done about it until it runs its course. Lord Have Mercy, I start praying, even as the doubts gnaw through to my head, my heart, my bones, like a flesh eating virus. It's not the existence of God I question when the world grows dark (I couldn't not believe that if I tried), but rather my own ability to turn Christ-wards even if disaster strikes, or if I grow wearier than I think I can bear of taking every thought captive, of continual repentance, of carrying crosses. At 1:00 am, when the house was silent, anxiety tip toed in with a baseball bat and beat the crap out of me with horrific scenarios centered around loss and death - always loss and death. Lord Have Mercy, I continued to whimper, even as my soul curled up in a fetal position and swore it couldn't go on.
The next morning, wilted and wounded, I took out a mixing bowl, flour, yeast, potatoes, garlic. I baked bread, cooked soup, prepared a meal for my family. At some point, within that steady, quiet mindlessness of chopping and kneading, hope returned - not loud and obvious like a bolt of lightening or anything, more like a gentle, near imperceptible, breeze. And by the time I'd switched on the crock pot, I was pretty darn convinced I just might have another day of Faith in me after all. And so I go forward, reminded anew that salvation defies being manhandled, and God's mysterious mercy either earned or understood.