First Sunday of Lent 2018 – a poem

Walking in the woods one groggy and misty morning,
I happened upon a crossroad not seen before
I had walked this path before
Perhaps the ivy had covered the cross
Perhaps the mildewing leaves
Perhaps my preoccupied thoughts of grandeur and worry and pain and listlessness

Just the same—

It stared at me.

 

This cross
road

 

No, it beckoned me these two paths that split from my routine path
It called my name to travel to the left
The narrow path
But should I go to the right?
What should I do?
So I sat and thought and worried and reasoned.

I closed my eyes.
Held my breath.
And ran to the left.
I ran.
I sprinted.
I stumbled.
I fell.

Looking up I see a chasm.
A cave.
A dwelling in the side of the hill.
I descend to its darkness and gasp for fear

I descend. Into the darkness. Into the wonder. Into the pain. Into the mire. Into the pit.

There’s a strangeness here. A comforting strangeness.
As though this is my home and yet a place I have not visited before.
A place where no light was left on to lead me.
A place where my heart yearned to go.
Like the smell of hot chili on a cold night. Or baked apple pie on the window sill.
But I find dead men’s bones who have ventured here before.

Still.
In the stillness.
In the death.
I find a comfort.
I find the soil breaking forth with light and heat and life.
As a stalk of wheat pushing through the soil.

To this I was called.
This beckoning.
Like a Father soothing the fear and a mother wiping the tears.
I weep.
Not like an uncontrollable sobbing.
But definitely not contrived.
A deep hurt. A deep cut. To the bone.
Dividing marrow and sinew and ligament and soul.

Breaking.
In the breaking.
In the pain.
I find a healing.
I find the roots of joy spreading deep in the earth with grace and peace and resolve.

This chasm and pit and pain and remorse
For what I have done
For that I have left undone
This darkness.
This emptiness is where I find the filling.

The Spirit welling up from within and spilling without
—Without me
In spite of me

In my death, there is my life
In my pain, there is my solace
In my hurt. Darkness. Chasm.
Therein the deep wells of my Maker.

No amount of trite answers
Superficial balm
Earthly comforts
These cannot stave the pain of the hunger I have longed to fill

 

It is in the emptiness that I am full.


NOTE: For some reason WordPress doesn’t transfer the spacing of the lines. I believe this conveys my intention better. So here is a .pdf of the poem. I hope it blesses you.

First Sunday of Lent 2018

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