Sunday, September 19


As I look back upon the last forty-three years of this life that I have lived and step into the forty-fourth, I am amazed. Amazed at the meandering path that hasn’t ended well before now despite the pitfalls and crevasses that have spanned its girth……amazed that the life lived wasn’t truly lived, or least felt like it was truly embraced in the warmth of living, until six and almost a half years ago.

Amazed at how much further I have come in that shorter span of time lugging the baggage garnered from the lifetime of living. Amazed that, as I have come close enough to the fire to be forever burned in its flame and still have that desire to love, in the language of the poet, “without knowing how, or when, or from where…straightforwardly…..”

There has been far more darkness, sin and shame in this life…..yet I am mostly aware of its joys and graces, interlaced with the mercies and hope that makes the twine of its length stronger than the sorrows and broken dreams that lie coloring its outer surface. There has been more disappointments, not only in others but in myself (far less in others than myself, I should probably say). There have been too many opportunities ruined by my own selfishness than properly utilized. There have been more relationships squandered than ever were properly grown.

Yet that pesky hope remains, driving me into the sure folly of human interaction and into the realm of assured rejection. Yet it remains.

And once again in the ignorance of that hope, I grasp for the straws of those things that I desire for eternity; love, faith, joy and peace. Knowing even as I grasp them the assurance of their departure once more at the end of the day when the light passes into the horizon of the day and once again the night of human depravity once again grips at the strings of my soul. Even though, it is the infusion of that hope, unblemished yet by the touch of humanity but still fresh with its ordained Godliness, that propels me into the daylight that once again breaks the inkiness of dark night that has bound me in its arms for another time.

I should cry all the time, speaking sorrows untold and unknown in the polite circles of this world, and prove beyond the shadows that hide momentarily in the corners from this sun the reality of humanity’s hopelessness. I spent too many of these forty-three years doing so, proving it to be something more than mere humanity can hope to overcome, and yet, I stand here, forty-three and two days into this foolish journey and ease my weary bones down to the fire….as twilight falls and the shadows begin their play, telling stories that need to be told in the darkness that bore them life and the harsh glow of the light that brings them into sharp focus.

“In this part of the story I am the one who dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you, because I love you,”

We have made love to be a foolish, mortal thing even in the arms of the church, of the faithful who gather around its tepid firelight against the coming darkness of the world.

We have arranged the love of its Chief Priest to be an exercise to be discussed and strategized in the quietness of the hallowed halls of our sanctuaries and devices of faith so that the enemy cannot hear them. Yet ignoring the fact that the enemy knows our plans outright, well before we can even reach for the shuttered doors of our hidden places and throw them wide to greet what we think are the tired masses waiting there.

We discover to our dismay a landscape devoid of life, no masses waiting there for our reach and only the crickets to sing praises for our arrival.

Love is not a static thing, nor does it hide beneath the trappings of our fragile attempt to emulate it. It cannot, for if it did, it would not be love but a wraith of the shadow it casts upon the landscape without light’s touch to throw it. Love has to be lived to be able to love, love without the living beat of its loving is a sad carcass of humanity’s failures and broken dreams.

Love wasn’t meant for such things, limited and sorrowed. Love is impossible, improbable and totally foolish in its dreaming. Love is everything, even in the absence of it. Love is there.

When we reach that point in our existence where love has become a wraith of what it once was, even in the poorly drivel of human’s excuse of it…..when we arrive there, we find ourselves at a cliff, staring down into the dark abyss of eternity. It no longer motivates us, but haunts us…….It not longer challenges us but beats us in endless repetition…..It not longer warms us but burns us with its touch.

When we arrive, it is there where love punishes us the most, with a haunting lullaby of enticement to believe it will come again. And we do, even as the haunting laughter of its rejection echoes in the background of our despair………

In the absence of love, what is there?

Love drove a man, a very special and important man, to leave behind the trappings and authority of His being….to deny Himself….to come to earth to live among us petty and foolish humans as one of us, with all the handicaps and hang-ups that we have…and yet, love drove Him to be the shining example of its expression in such fragility. Even as the world assaulted Him and trod upon His purer version of love, it was that expression and intimate knowledge of love that drove Him forward. It is that love that turned a Father’s eyes away from His Only Begotten Son, whose love drove Him to take on the sins of the world to become His and lose the favor of His Father as it covered Him.

And it is love that made that man, that god-man, rise from the Dead three days later………….

If you stare at the abyss, looking down into its depths and watching the swirling inky blackness caress the sides of the cliff……………look well and look long, for it is that which is what love is when love is absent and dead…..dark, and cold.

Love borne of a woman, treasured and caressed into sustained life by her breath and warmth may never be mine to visit with for a time upon this world and such sorrow is not sweet or manageable… is the lot I’ve drawn.

What makes me fear the most is that realization that what I thought was true love was nothing even close because it is that love that I attributed to my Savior and if that image of true love was true, then He cannot exist, He cannot be who He says and there is no love there.

So I struggle for the first time in this journey, among the broken mountains and foothills of this landscape, to pick up my feet and head… journey on. Because for the first time, I am afraid of coming to that crevasse where I’ll stand upon the edge and stare into the darkness beyond

And despair…………….

For love will have passed me by………..

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