Subjunctive

He said “jump” and I did.  I jumped—before thought, before worry, before any hope but that when I reached the apex of my leap he would be proud.  There is a mid-air moment of desperation when I pray that he will think it high enough, graceful enough, complete enough.  It is a terrible demand that requires both inhuman strength and an inhuman grace at odds with that strength without any apologies.  Yet, within that mid-air moment, there is nothing to do but come back down.  If I grant these fears more than a moment, I will slip and come down hard, broken.  I must not.  He must be proud; he must know that every word he says nests in my heart; he must know that I have worked as hard as I could make myself.

It is insanity enough that I rebel.  I want to scream for the disconnectedness of it all.  Steamboats, recipes, sieges, debates, Christmas, actors, punch—can I be forgiven for not caring just now?  There is no sense in them that I can see, and I trust my sight.  But I cannot trust my sight, because if I do so, I will despair.  If there is no point, I should not be here.  So, what is there to do but trust and obey?  I know him, and I know he is a good man.  He is a better man than I, by far.  I know he sees each and every one of us, and in that way of his he cares deeply, but what can he do?

My mother’s hair is falling out.  It is all falling out.  I am not there.  I am a son and a brother, and I said I would always be there.  I can despair, certainly, and sometimes make time to do so late in the nights when I am all alone.  But it is foolishness, for I know that there is a reason for this.  I do not mind that I do not see this, because I have learned that it is beyond my sight.  So, I trust the Lord whose name is Jealous, because He loves me and guides me.  He places before me what should be before me, and tells me to stand because standing, rooted, through the storm is what I need.  He loves me, and knows (knowing far better than I—I cannot see beyond the hair, falling).  He will guide me ever to Him, because He is Jealous.  So I stand through the storm, jump, bow, but never break.  I trust.  He loves.

And—smaller and shallower, but still True—a less capital he demands what I do not understand, inflicts upon me what I do not deserve (‘Lies, lies—of course you do’).  But I still can trust that he loves, too.  I can trust that he knows what he is doing, that he can see me (probably better than I mean to be seen), and that he is doing what he is doing because it will build me up.  So, I suppose, I shall jump—keep jumping—and pray that he will accept my rather silly gift of loose leaves and call it good.  And I shall hope that when I land on the other side, my muscles and bones will have learned and grown.

Dear Lord, I AM, be.  Be and let that content me.  But content me with Presence, not merely hope.  And let me sleep….

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