“To live is Christ, to die is gain”, what? How is that?
Death takes me further away from God, not closer. Death throws a silence over my faith. God is good. Let’s explore a little what it means to say that when:
- You have faced death, tragedy and destruction of your world.
- You come face to face with your own mortality.
- You are intimate with the death of someone you love.
- You watch helplessly as the breath fades.
- You are alone with grief your only companion.
Can you say ‘God is good’ and believe it when faced with an ending?
With no one to blame, is evil the easy answer? Or is it the answer for the cause of so much pain in the world?
- The violence,
- The hate,
- The addictions,
- The lust, and
- The greed.
Good people are hurt and evil continues unabated, while we make excuses.
- Collateral damage?
- Innocent victims?
- Life is hard and you die?
Illness, sickness and death with no concrete cause leaves you with the consequence. What is the grand design and meaning if there are no coincidences?
My life was irrevocably altered and I say I still believe. Am I angry and blaming of God? Showing an image to the world on the outside, but inside… do I believe? This face I show the world is that the truth of me? The question remains, do I believe what I say I believe?
Alone in the dark, with God’s total utter silence. No words from beyond except for a faint whisper of “Trust me.” If faith is evidence of things unseen, I have the evidence.
What remains unanswered is why? The question that still haunts my waking and sleeping, but no answer ever seems forthcoming. “Trust me.” Do I have faith in the finality of that? What is next? A next life? Is it there? Heaven? Hell? Fade to black?
Time to give myself permission. Feel the fear, accept that loss and devastation may return. “Trust me.” It all makes me tired, very tired. Life is more than waiting for the ‘hammer to fall.’ The days and the years go by and the hole in your heart remains. “Trust me.” You laugh and love again. The joyful moments you desperately longed for return, but we fail because of the fear to live, present in the moments. Juxtaposing the past, present and the future. “Trust me.” Whispers through my mind while I feel a –
- Fear of God
- Fear of loss
- Fear of happiness
- Fear of succeeding
- Fear of failing
- Fear of guilt
- Fear of forgetting
- Fear of hurting
- Fear of love
“Trust me.” Time to give permission to live, be happy and love again. Permission to enjoy, delight, cherish, feel everything and accept.
“Trust me.” And you wonder if you can love God, accept your destiny, your life, your fate, for “I have come so that they (you) may have life and have it more abundantly,” so a reminder to
(Originally written in October 2008, updated October 2010, October 2013 and again now, January 2017. Each time the mystery of unanswered questions continue as I contemplate my life’s journey the last twenty plus years. I am still learning to believe that hope lives. ~M)
We carry the pain, the heartache and the loneliness of choices not taken and decisions gone wrong. However, we made the best decision we could at the time.
Let it go, do not drag the weight of regret through your life. Do what you can, no matter how small, and know that in the end that is enough.
And remember > You are enough!
Swallowing the last gulps
he set down the now empty can.
Balanced precariously on the corner
of the old dark coffee table.
There was the hoped for solace
that drink normally brought.
This night it evaded him,
drifting away on the wind.
The exhaustion remained
as the eternal night dragged on.
And sleep resided on some
far away distant shore.
The silent darkness of a house
that used to be called a home.
Persistent voices screamed loudly
driving him into the black of night.
He stood next to the tree
barefoot in the cold grass.
Houses dark lined the street
the world asleep in peace.
His right hand on the baseball bat
as if an old man in need of a cane.
Thought of why flashed in his mind
and were just as quickly gone.
This bat she had placed near
the front door in case of need.
A weapon close at hand she argued
just felt comforting and right.
Holding the handle with both hands
enjoying the feel of the wood.
Fingers curled around the handle
as he felt the violence rise within.
His heart beat loud in his ears
blood coursing through his veins.
Surges of energy careened in his body
his muscles tensing in silent expectation.
The world slowly faded from view
and before him stood only the tree.
The trunk stretched upwards yet anchored
by roots hidden deep in the ground.
Branches of leaves alive others dead and dry
stories of a life’s experience and dreams.
Each branch and leaf a turning point
of moments cherished and regretted.
The leaves held tight the emotions
accompanying each memory remembered.
Lifeless branches revealed little
of faded memories over the years.
He stared up into the tree’s canopy
branches morphing into memories of a life.
Built on hope and desire for the future
then wholly lost as fate conspired against.
The frozen silence was then shattered
a loud crack as the bat struck the tree.
He swung the bat over and over
as each memory blazed before his eyes.
The tree quivered so slightly at each blow
strong against the vicious onslaught.
Each swing fueled by grief and rage
over what was lost, never to return.
Memories flashed as the bat sliced the air
until his shoulders began to ache.
The repeating collisions of shame and loss
blows of wood on wood slowly splintered.
Continuing as the fury rose inside
a volcanic eruption long held in check.
From within the depths of the earth
driving him past the limits of exhaustion.
The cascade of blows finally slowed
the strength waned as the bat fell.
Gasping for breath his head down
the bat lay motionless in the grass.
The tree silently mocked his unsuccessful
and feeble efforts at destruction.
He fell to his knees in despair
before resting his back against the tree.
The trunk had willingly absorbed the blows
of the merciless rage and anguished attack.
He sat quietly through the night
a husk of a body physically shattered.
Fatigue blunted the throbbing pain
a small respite from the voices.
The sun soon began its ascent
as light crawled out of the dark.
Revealing the dawn of a new day
he sighed and moved so slightly.
Shoulders throbbed, hands and fingers
stiff and aching clenched in claws.
His mind and heart laid naked
to nonsense questions with no answers.
The mornings light grew brighter
unhindered by a sorrowful heart.
Looking down at his stained hands
covered in murky crimson of dried blood.
Staring he heard the angels whisper
of innocent blood that was once shed.
The ultimate sacrifice long ago
to revive the crushed hopes of man.
A small smile played on lips as he raised
his face to the warm glory of the rising sun.
~Mark Schutter ©2016
*This was originally written as a short story or flash fiction if you will in October 2011 and I have revised it into a poetry format. Thanks for reading. (The original story can be read on my previous blog > Tree of Memories – Maleko ©October 2011)