A blood-burst skull of close-nit kin; despair of life he did drink in.
His dark brown curls now all amess; where are my loves? I have one less.
Don’t take yourself away from me! …it is too late, of life you’re free.
A pistol’s burst, a weeping mom, I despise the fact that you are gone.
Up to the land of Truth you went – too late for life – your blood is spent.
Yet I see you had indeed: been there before, received the seed.
You taught me, too, of faith and grace, the prophets spoke: you saw His face.
I saw you find your blessed name, the day you died, when Comfort came.
By despair you were overcome, but by faith you overcame. Bless God the seed was in you!
I beseech you readers: put faith in Christ. Leave not this world till you have found Him, lest there be unspeakable torments forever. I love you, too.
Have you known the place of your existence? Showers of rain fall heavily in such a torrential downpour as to surely soak every timber clear through; these deluges are that which make the land to thrive, yet this after only washing the surface clean of all that’s living. Repent – the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Have you lost everything yet? If not, the journey has just begun.
And so the battlements raged on and on through the courses of wet winter nights; finding myself far below that land of my pilgrimage, yet having its eternal seed coursing through my veins with each beating pump of my rugged heart. Lost? You thought you were lost before you started your journey, but now that you have been partly found you may begin to glimpse the fuller image of your True Lostness. Is this the state my brother came to? Despair will not take me, too (I will crush that bastard seed beneath my heel as the Great Physician doth!)
Stumbling as a drunken fool, you strive to catch your bearings, but alack for help who have you but the fellowship? For you are not yet sea-worthy, your land-loving legs seem to wobble, and you are rather fallen to the deck, and ready to perish. I have found the edge of the world – the end of the place of acceptance among the brethren who call to sinners: “Come up and dine!” And those saved who are brought in by them are treated but well enough… lest they should see a sight beyond them.
There was a time when I was given absolute grace from the church. I could do as I pleased, and know that they would always accept me. I could raise my finger in its face, rebel, and scoff the anointing and would still be accepted. I could fornicate and blaspheme, and run with other sinners, heaping up wickedness and I would be accepted. I could swear, cursing my mother and father in the same breath, I could involve myself with witchcraft and use drugs to my heart’s content, and I knew all the while, they were waiting with open arms to receive me as the prodigal son. I could take as long as I wanted and be as vile as I could, and still they would give me grace.
Of all the evils I’ve committed, of all the wretchedness that I’ve done, of all things I’m ashamed of, and of all the grace extended for it, I have finally found the way to have its grace shut off to me; to be condemned for my deeds by the church:
When I submit to the kingdom of heaven and obey God before I obey man. When I lay me down at Christ’s feet, and willingly speak in His behalf in the face of all His accusers. When I do what is required of me that confounds and baffles the elders. When I live by my convictions following the first and greatest commandment first, and the second commandment second.
When I put my hope, and my trust in God before putting it in a pastor, priest, or prophet. When I lay me down and crucify my flesh to love, serve and obey Him unto death.
Where is the grace from the church that was so readily offered me before I did all these things? Is this love and grace only for prodigals? Is it only for reprobates, and despisers? Where’s the grace for the ‘fanatic,’ the sold out for Christ?
And yet as I stood upon my own faltering feet, pressing my pate through the ceilings placed for me did another great blow occur.
And so, to continue my narrative (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6) – and as I’ve said, it is true and none of fiction; but now my plight was, to return me to my former estate; how had I fallen? Was it man’s doing, or my own? A collected assortment of both? (Is this the pilgrimage I signed up for?) But pray, continue with me a while, and we shall be bettered by the fellowship:
The Shore of My Mind
And now the wares of tares, slip through as nightmares, and chill the air with twisted fair. The snare laid plainly bare, yet who but protectors even care? The rest in pairs sit by and glare – try to help them if you dare.
I saw amidst the scattered seed that place where dark, and sadness feed. And these are friends of those that bleed – morose and lost, that in them plead: ‘Release me from the growing weed, which strangles life and stifles need.’
The burning bush on earth was born, and Him as well they met with scorn. Day by day from early morn, His hands reach out to those forlorn.
The ground was cold, and hard. The man of war lay amidst corpses, and pressed down by his mount whose innards had spilled out upon him.
I awoke, as it were, on the shores of a great ocean. Lost was I, and fuzzy – bewildered. I looked into the sky, and was astounded by the surreality which stared back at me. Not as the sky of earth, there was a sharp yellow light, though it seemed not from a single sun, rather the whole sky was lit up – her source was amorphous. The sky was a blurry shield for whatever the source may have been which lay beyond it. The sand upon which I lay was a bizarre yellow. Not, again, as the sand of earth, much more like a cartoon it all seemed, with unfittingly exaggerated colors… and that sky! How queer a place this was, seeming almost more like an enclosure than a wide open space, the sky like the lid on a box, and a faint sort of darkness between the horizons and it.
‘What is this place?’ I wondered. It was all so peculiar that I had taken little stock in mine own sensibilities. I was clearly ill, my head ached, and spun mildly. A bit of a ringing surged mine ears, and pain – there was pain throughout. Had I been shipwrecked? Yet it was also clear how I could first be impressed by those surroundings, for above the rest my own senses of hurt and ill there was an overwhelming numb. The numbness was deep, and could entirely take my senses – and seemed to by default. In fact, it seemed, as I assessed my woundedness was when their tenacious sting gripped me… and the pain was severe. Yet, like some sort of switch I found I could almost entirely shut it off merely by leaning into the numbness.
Shut it off I did, for gaining my bearings of the settings I lay in would be primary in essence should I ever hope to move intentionally from them. And what would I gain by dwelling on the pain? So I re-centered myself, again, upon these alien surroundings. “What place is this?” I wondered again, though this time found that the words had escaped my lips. The sound of them half startled me, for I have grown used to being alone.
“This is the shore of your mind.” A voice said from behind me. I swirled to see a small brown creature, chubby and stout. He had only just appeared, for surely he’d not been present before. “No, I appeared when you spoke,” said the thing, this time responding to my thought.
“What are you?” I questioned the thing, which was as bizarre and out of place from the land of the living as was the rest of this place.
The little creature smiled, and took some steps toward me, “I am the gateway to this: the shores of your mind.”
“Then… did you bring me here?” I asked it.
It smiled again, quite broadly this time. “No, you are the keeper. You come and go as you please.”
“But… how did I get here?”
“You are lost.” Said the thing with a wave of its hand.
“Was I shipwrecked?”
Again the thing smiled broadly. “You know the answer to that. Listen to your pain.”
At his words the numbness faded, and I could feel the story of my loss; how I had fought the storm, and the seas had cast and battered me about… how the others had afflicted me, pelting me with stones, and striking me with their fists. Yes, I knew exactly how I had gotten here – the story was in the pain. Yet she was a story-teller whose horrors I could not long abide for the present, so returning to the dull numb I spoke again to that thing which called itself the gateway:
“Well… how do I recover… how do I leave this place?”
At the asking of this the creature looked sullen, no smile donned his countenance, instead it looked as though his eyes may fill with tears. “I do not know.” And after a very brief pause he repeated, shrugging as if to excuse itself, “you are lost.”
“But… you are the gateway. Should not a gateway be of assistance to leaving an unwanted place? What kind of gateway are you?”
The creature tucked its chin down to its chest, and pouted, looking a bit defensive. “You are the keeper,” he repeated. “You come and go as you please.”
At this I could see that the creature was being as helpful, and as honest, as it could. Surely it was the gateway… whatever that meant, but it had no idea how to help me leave this place. A bit like a well-trained dog; I was the ‘keeper,’ and my loyal pup was there ready and willing to assist – yet the ways of his master were well above his own comprehension.
I looked at the sad little thing with a degree of pity. “What is your name, gateway?” I asked it.
Immediately the little thing perked up again, and the smile spread across its face. “My name is Communication!” He said proudly, his little face beaming.
Yes… that made sense. “And what is your job?” I asked it.
“I am the gateway.” It repeated. “I package the substance of your mind, and deliver it to the outside world. I receive packages from without and release their contents here.” On the word ‘here’ the thing spread its arms and looked about, indicating (apparently) the whole of our surroundings.
“Well… any new news?”
The thing smiled broadly, “of course! There is always new information to assimilate!”
“Got anything that will help me?” I asked it. Again the creature looked sullen, he was about to speak but his look told me everything – Communication, indeed! – “forget it.” I said, “just let me know if something comes in that will help.”
At that the creature smiled weakly, as if to apologize, bowed and vanished.
Then, before me, upon the waters, I saw a boat. In it were Reason, and Purpose. I could see at once that these were at odds with each other. They were made to be friends, and seemed to be inseparable, indeed they were bonded together by the hand. The one – Purpose – wanted desperately to be used, but was so badly disillusioned that he struggled even to believe in himself. It was so, that as I stared after him I could only see but the faintest outline of his being; he was so pale, and sickly that he was nearly invisible as though he might at any moment phase out of existence – if, indeed, he truly existed at all, and were not merely a figment of my hopeful imaginings.