Friday, March 28, 2014

Probing Desires

(Note: This post makes a reference to "Safe Place." To understand what I am talking about, please refer to my post "A Winsome Web of Tangles" Dec. 2013.)

            Here we are again. Sitting on my front porch—if you can even call it mine. Most people encounter Jesus in memories; I just encounter him here, in Safe Place. I don’t really know if I invite him or not—maybe he just shows up. Either way, here we are. I’m here. He’s here. We are here, sitting on the steps of my front porch.
            We aren’t talking. I’m not even looking at him. Instead I am staring out at the breakers. Watching one after another crash toward the shore. But I know he’s next to me. I can sense his warmth.
            “I want to touch you,” I say, still facing the breakers.
            There is silence next to me.
            I turn my head to look at him. He is staring at the breakers too. I take in his form. He is dressed in a white and brown robe that wraps loosely around his body and is rippled by the wind. His sandals reveal sand-scrubbed toes. His elbows are resting on his bent knees, allowing his hands to prop his chin. The wind is tugging at his wispy hair, causing it to dance before his eyes. At the moment my eyes seek out his, he turns to me. My stomach drops with a sharp in-take of breath. I’ve tried to identify the color of his eyes before, but it is impossible—they simultaneously engulf my being and flood my desert soul before I can make any claim upon a word of color.
            “So touch me,” he says.
            I pull myself out of him. “That’s not what I mean.” I divert my eyes back toward the sea. “I want to touch you beyond this place.”
            “How is that possible if you won’t even try to do that here?”
            I catch myself mid-eye-roll. Listen, Jaime.
            “Alright,” I say, turning my focus back upon him. I raise my left hand and slowly reach it toward him. His eyes remain trained upon me. My hand reaches closer and closer. Just as I think my hand is about to land upon his upper arm, it passes right through him.
            I am sitting in my mother’s study, working on my computer. I hear my mother’s voice behind me. She is talking on the phone. Then I feel her hand begin to play with my hair. A shiver of pleasure travels down my spine.
            I yank my hand back out and away from his body.
            “What was that?” I yell.
            “What was what?” he responds quietly.
            “You know what I’m talking about,” I reply, bitter accusation dripping from my voice.
            Jesus looks at me, silently waiting. I force myself to calm down.
            “Try again,” he says.
            I move my arm more quickly this time, toward him and into him.
            A friend is sitting beside me in the passenger seat of my car. I make a sly comment; he laughs and nudges me with his elbow. A smile escapes my lips.
            I am laying on my mother’s old water bed. It is early in the morning—much too early for me to be awake. My mother is attempting to lull me back to sleep. She hums softly and runs her finger nails gently upon my bare arms. I close my eyes and slowly drift away.
            I am sitting at the dining room table of my grandparents’s house. The extended family has gathered for a holiday celebration. I am anxious and am silently watching the antics around me. Then I hear my father’s voice behind me. It pauses above my head, and I feel his hands descend upon my shoulders. My racing heart begins to slow. He gives me an absent-minded massage as his soothing voice converses with those around us.
            A group of my casual friends have gathered for a summer celebration. As we walk and laugh together, a friend of mine lightly rests her arm around my shoulders. The warmth of acceptance seeps through my body.
            I am sitting, huddled, in a chair with tear streaks staining my face. My body is tense from shaking, and my head is bowed in shame. I have just confessed something dark and dirty. I am suspended, waiting for the condemning abandonment of the women who have heard. But instead, I feel a woman’s hand, moist with cleansing waters, brush my own. She pours more water over my hands and then holds them tightly. My muscles begin to loosen, massaged with forgiveness and love.
            I withdraw my hand from him again. Without speaking, I stand up and walk back into the house. I walk to my bedroom and climb into the large empty bed. I pull the covers over my head and lay in the darkness.
            I wrestle with myself in stillness. I cannot deny the love just shown me, but I want something more. What he has given me is wonderful, but it isn’t enough.
            “Enough for what?” I hear Jesus ask. I hadn’t even heard him enter the room. I stretch my body as wide as I can upon the large bed. In doing so, I discover my answer. But I cannot bring myself to voice it.
            Suddenly I can sense Jesus very close to me. His warmth brushes my right ear. "Closer than a whisper; close enough to hear your heart beat. Closer than a kiss; close enough to raise your heart beat."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Let Me Tell You A Story

Let me tell you a story of a girl who sat atop her world,
where the mountain-top views were all she dared to know.
“The valley isn't real,” she told herself then.
“There was no climb, and there will be no descent.”
But pride was her folly; and naivety, her flaw.
The gods coveted her throne—so high in the air.
They plotted her demise, and inevitable was her fall.
Down to the earth she plummeted, landing outside the gates of Hell.
Bruised and bloodied, scared and scarred;
she made herself invisible, wrapped inside a protective shell.
And there she sat for years to come,
conversing from within to hapless passersby without.
From her lowly abode, she was forced to admit
that valleys are as real as the mountain summits.
She could even remember her valley before,
and the work of the climb she once had endured.
There in her shell, the memories came
of what it was like on that other valley floor.
So nothing is safe, she thought with a sigh.
No valley; no summit; so I might as well hide.
Then a challenge was put forth from someone outside:
“Why don’t you try and reach again for the sky?”
“I've been there,” she said, from deep within her shell.
"And all that happens is I crash back down to Hell."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Call

The trees. It’s the trees that I notice first. Each trunk, each limb, each branch, each twig, reaching, reaching, reaching for the sky. In worship. In the serenity, I can hear them. Each cell singing, raising its voice. Higher and higher.

The stream bubbling in joy. The butterfly flashing its colors in the sunlight. Ruby red. Sapphire blue. Emerald green. Amethyst purple. Even the colors raise their own voices. Voices that are gentle to the touch, pulsing through my veins.

 The forest harmonizes around me as I walk. The sun dances on my smiling lips.

I place another foot down, and crraack. Silence. The birds: silent. The stream: silent. The gems: silent. The sun: silent and hidden. A cold breeze tugs at my hair. I pick up my foot—there is nothing beneath it.

I sense the sobbing, the longing. But it is stifled and distant. I turn my head and see the shadow. A stick lay in two pieces beneath its right foot. Fear leaps from the trees and crawls upon my arm. The shadow is still. It will not approach me. The sobbing continues, the reaching out. I sense a frail finger behind the shadow, reaching toward the light beyond. Nearer, nearer; nearer to the light, but nearer to the darkness—ahhhh!! a piercing shriek of agony. The finger recoils. The shadow remains still.

In the silence and stillness I am aware of my own warmth and the light emanating from me. The sobbing is a weak call, and yet it is a call nonetheless.

The thunder in heaven is earthshaking. The silence is banished as the trees, the stream, the butterflies tremble. I keep watching the shadow—though its silence is threatened, it refuses to tremble. Another Call emanates from above: SEND THE CALL OUT. send the call out. send the call out send the call out

I begin to advance toward the shadow. My warmth and light are bursting beyond skin-deep, into the dimness around me. The shadow stands its ground. I stop in front of it. My hand reaches out. A tremble shakes the shadow and it takes a step back. Before it can take another I penetrate the darkness with my lighted hand. The cold recedes from the puncture. I grasp a chilled, frail hand.

And hear the faintest fragrance—so ancient, so new—of melody and harmony rising.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fairy Tale: Extinct

Once upon a time no one knew I existed—
not even me.
My fantasy ended the moment I learned
how to be.

Monday, March 3, 2014

If You Only Knew

If you only knew....
maybe you already do,
which makes me only wish
I'd never met you. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What Two Distinct Ones?

I am sitting on the steps of the little blue house, staring out at the ocean. All is silent. No wind. No waves. No gulls. Only my breathing. And my thoughts.

I glance over and see her lying there. The woman in the white dress is lying on the sandy shore. Why was she still there? I glance down at my own white dress, reminding myself that she is me and I am her; still two distinct ones. Why am I still here?

I glance back at the beach and see him kneeling beside her. I am not shocked. It is as if I have been expecting him. Or perhaps I had sensed his presence.

I watch him kneeling over her. He is stroking her hair. My stomach tightens in hunger. Why doesn’t he come to me? Something appears in his hands; something round and red. He lays it upon her head. She does not stir. Then the object slowly, steadily sinks into her temple. The tightening in my stomach travels to my neck and then flushes my face. I clench my eyes shut, enclosing myself in lonely darkness.


“Lots of fruit in this one.” A woman’s disembodied voice. “Lots and lots of fruit.”


I open my eyes. I am no longer on the steps. I am in the entryway of my old high school. There, in front of me, is me. She is no longer the woman on the beach; she is a girl, still in the white dress, but pale and innocent when away from the sun and sand. As before, all is silent; other students pour around us, but there is no noise. I watch as students acknowledge the me in front of me. With each new acknowledgment she smiles and waves. I stop following her, nauseated by her lightheartedness. My gaze is involuntarily drawn to the space on the floor between us. Purple footprints dot the way behind her feet. I bend down to examine one and find grapes; deep, reddish purple grapes. I quickly snap erect and run after myself.

By the time I catch up with her, she has turned down an abandoned hallway; abandoned by all except one other person: another girl, her face blotchy and her cheeks stained with salty tears. The two girls are huddled together next to the wall. I approach. Still plunged in silence, I can only watch them. The white-gowned girl is stroking her companion’s arm. Whenever she lifts her hand, a strawberry remains upon her companion’s skin. Then I watch as she opens her mouth to speak, and instead of hearing words, I see a crimson apple fall from her mouth and roll to the floor. I stare at it, rolling toward my feet, in silent consternation. It comes to rest before me, and I look up, wide-eyed, at the girls. Neither of them has noticed the apple, nor the strawberries, nor the grapes that are still painting the floor. The once-tearful girl is now embracing my other me, a weak smile upon her face. The two detach, and the recovered girl walks away. My eyes follow her in bewilderment: multiple strawberries bejewel her back and sleeves, each mildly resembling a hand print. I spin around to glare at my mysterious self, but my anger fizzles as I find her huddled on the floor.

I cannot hear her crying, but I can see round, plump blueberries falling from her eyes into her lap. I retreat from her until my back hits the opposite wall. Even in her agony she is beautiful. I slide to the ground, my eyes never diverting from the creature in front of me. My hunger returns. But it is more than hunger; it is gnawing emptiness. Coldness begins to seep through my body. Shivers crawl upon my skin. I pull my knees into my arms and tuck my head inside. Water brims my eyelids. As I close my eyes, I feel a droplet form on my lashes. And then it falls.

The sensations come rushing upon me. I feel the sun upon my arms and the crown of my head. I smell the salt of the sea. I hear the crash of the waves and the calls of the gulls. I feel the wind tug at my wispy hair. And I feel a hand brush my cheek.

My eyes fly open. The first thing I see is a blueberry lying on my lap, its hue contrasting with my white dress. I feel a hand holding my arm, and my eyes immediately seek to behold it. Then I am conscious again of the hand on my face because it is being withdrawn. I look up and into his eyes. Those eyes—colorless and yet colored without exception—draw me into themselves. He glances down, and my eyes hungrily follow. I see the withdrawn hand. Its palm is exposed, and resting singly upon it is a crimson apple.

“But I don’t underst—”

“Shhhhh,” he says, placing a finger to my lips. He looks to the beach, and my eyes obediently follow. The woman in the white dress is gone.

He gently pulls my chin so that I am again gazing into him. “You are right here,” he says.

I feel him place the apple into my hands. "Eat."