Beyond the Clearing Where Life Gets Real
Life is pristine through my close-up lenses.
My hand-writing, clear and crisp,
the grain of my table, inviting,
the lines of the photo, smile.
All, brush strokes of the master.
They draw me into the world on the page
that takes me far away
to that delightful Narnia;
Where children and creatures,
wardrobes and weather,
and a Mighty Lion play at life.
Or to that vacation destination, so alluring from the magazine cover.
Wouldn’t it be nice to drink a toast with my spouse
overlooking grand glaciers or pristine lakes before azure skies?
But, the morning paper screams headlines and exploding full color photos.
I shake my head to be rid the images…
hurt and hardship, death and destruction,
suffering for its own sake, inflicted man upon man.
Where, O God, is our humanity?
I look up in lament, but I can’t see you.
The world is a-blur through my magnifying lenses.
A foggy mess of all things further than my own hand.
Take off the close-up’s!
Be brave enough to see what’s in the distance.
It’s real; not a novel. Not a dream vacation.
It’s a way of life for real people who deserve my real response.
In the clearing, I can recognize my neighbor.
He’s the regular runner and the dog-walker.
She’s the Mom walking kids to the bus stop.
They’re the middle-aged couple,
then the chatty pair,
and the glum teen.
Beyond the clearing,
silent and still,
a trio of deer graze
under the blazing red of an autumn branch,
early to adapt to the shorter days
and the cooler ways
of the Fall.
There You are.
What powerful words.
A promise, an intention, a commitment.
If I say I will do it, I will.
I am reluctant to say this to God.
‘I will follow you all the days of my life.’
Because I know I won’t.
I will trip and fall.
I will stumble or swerve or slam on the breaks.
I will not follow, so let me not say so.
But what if I did say so?
Would that not be arrogant and proud?
As if I knew I was a special one,
Selected from among the many,
Singled out for my…my what?
You’re no more special than the other, my dear.
Come, simply at my request,
Come willingly, but without reservation.
Say you will, knowing fully that you won’t.
That is the price —
which I have paid.
And in that instant, the ground under my feet is firm.
Of course, I say.
I see it now, I say.
How could I have doubted?
The very thought!
Oh my God!
I have ushered in my own demise.
The ground begins to crumble and my balance gives way.
My arms grapple with the air,
But there it no holding, no grasping, no righting.
Only tumbling, falling, twisting, turning,
confusion, chaos, peril, and fear,
I knew it was too good to be true.
Yet, it is true.
I saw it, I felt it, I was there.
Briefly, ever so briefly.
Were it not for my doubt,
Oh doubt, will I ever be rid of you?
I brush myself off
and attend to my scrapes and bruises –
No gashes, no stitches, no broken bones.
I seem to have survived the fall.
That is why I came.
Falling is part of believing,
It draws us closer.
What can you possibly want with someone like me?
You are free to go.
Where should I go?
You can come with me.