it was all a ruse, wasn’t it?
what perfect deception
what awe inspiring trickery
I applaud your carefully crafted schemes
to make me believe I belonged somewhere
to give me faith in connections and relationships
that were never actually there
you hang your hand there to keep good appearances
yet when I actually reach out
I feel not even the warmth of your fingertips
you keep your eyes
in my general direction
saying all the things they always say
yet when the sugar coating melts
and dark molten center is revealed
you have all turned away from me
how very clever of you
It wasn’t even a road or a proper path. It was not the way anyone should take. Covered in shadows and darkness with every step, no part of this way ever saw the light of day. The rain that crept in never dried up.
I once had boarded up the entry to this way. With every board and nail I could find, I blocked my feet from ever entering there again. At all times though, I heard a faint voice from behind those broken boards and rusty nails. The voice kept saying, “Come this way, take this way once again.”
After many years of pushing that voice to the back of my mind, I stood in front of that blocked way. With hammer in hand, I began to pull out every nail. Every board I placed beside me on the damp ground.
After many years of pouring everything I could into avoiding that way, I found myself walking there once again.
The sun abandoned me and remained in its place as I stepped past the broken barrier. There would be no light here to guide me. This was not a way that is guided by the bright and shimmering. Those sort do not come here.
I was met with cold grey walls that blocked the day’s warmth. All across those bricks a warning was written. Many times it was painted, carved, and bled…the same exact words. “There is no hope this way. Turn around.” Many different colors and many different times, through out the wall this warning was before me on those walls.
“I wonder how many of those writings are mine?” I asked myself as I continued on.
The warnings on the walls died off as if all had given up their cries as I kept walking. There was no point in wasting anymore words of wisdom at this point.
I looked down as I continued following the grey walls that followed the well worn path. The way was narrow and lined with mud as black as night on the ground. No soil in all the world was this black. It could only be found here. My shoes were covered in it. I looked down and it appeared as if my feet were gone and taken in by this place. As the mud crept up my pant legs, I wondered if I really was disappearing into it this time.
I looked around and saw other foot prints. “Oh look, those are from the many other times I have been here,” I said to myself. The footprints all went in one direction. Not a single print could be found taking the way back.
The air was so heavy here. I felt its weight within my lungs. Surely if I walked any further I would drown in the place I stood. Bloody hand prints on the walls mark the way.
A great pain came over the skin on my arms and legs. I almost lost my balance in the process. I watched the skin on my arms crack open in many places. I watched the blood flow down my legs from many wounds. My hands were soaked as I tried to wipe the blood away. “I remember now. This is the place where scars are born,” I said….as I placed my hand against those cold grey walls….leaving another blood brushed hand print against it sides.
“You know, all of these hand prints are the exact same size. They are all the size of my hands,” I said as I looked at my own hand, still trembling from the pain.
I took a few moments to let the pain slip away before I continued. After a while the wounds didn’t bother me. That’s how it always was. When one gets use to the pain, they need more and more wounds to feel it again.
As I walked farther, a fog developed and further thickened the air. My vision was as clouded as the jumbled frantic thoughts in my mind. I was only able to see a couple of footsteps in front of me now even with eyes adjusted to the dark.
After a while one becomes accustomed to the darkness and use to its presence. That is how it sinks into us, we slowly let it in as it asks small permissions one at a time. Before you know it, all is blackness, and blackness is all you will ever know from then on.
“I let it in again, didn’t I? You never even came to my aid. You never helped me. It came inside me and took over, and you never even spoke a word!” I yelled to the audience of bricks and soil…for they were the only ones there to listen to me.
As I continued my accusations of abandonment and desertion, I lost my footing. I could not see what my footing was lost on, all I know is I felt nothing below my feet as if the road was gone. I tried to grab the walls, but they would not grab back. The way was lost above my head as I fell into a deeper darkness.
I plummeted from the path. I watched it disappear far above me. I reached for something to hold to with no avail. I crashed into the ground again. Many bones crunched inside me. I could not stand up or even maneuver myself. I was paralyzed.
I had fallen into a deep pit. This is where the way I was going led to. The Great Pit of Despair was it’s name. It’s why the entry was barricaded. This way leads to nowhere but the Great Pit of Despair.
“I have been here before, haven’t I?” I asked myself as I saw all the footprints in the soil around me. I saw evidence of climbing on the walls. Blood and fingernails could be found in all the carved channels. The blood and fingernails were all mine.
“I took the way again, didn’t I? I took it and I fell into the pit just like every other time. It always ends this way. I am left here broken, covered in wounds, and lower than I’ve ever been. There is no hope here. What a fool I am for taking this way again despite what happens each time I take it.”
I heard shuffling and footsteps from atop the pit. I spoke towards the sounds, “I suppose you’re enjoying yourself watching me down here aren’t you?”
“Are you ready to go yet?”
I knew that voice. It took many physical forms, but the voice was always the same. I had not heard that voice since I took this way. “I took the way no one should take again. I thought it was the right way this time. I was wrong. Now I am hurting and bleeding in this pit again. Like always.”
“Its okay. I took the same way to find you again. Are you ready to go yet?”
“You should just leave me down here this time. Why couldn’t I hear you for so long? Did you just let me go this way again!?
“I was always speaking to you. You just stopped listening when you left the road and chose the way no one should take. Its time to go. Just reach up your hands toward me.”
I could not even see him through the darkness of the pit. How could he reach me? Nevertheless, I did as he said. With all I had left in me, I lifted my broken arms toward him, “Please, I want to go now.”
All that was black turned white around me. For a moment I felt nothing around me as if I was weightless. The white was so bright I had to shut my eyes.
When I opened my eyes again, and we were back on the road. I looked down at myself. My bones were no longer broken, but the scars I had created remained all over me. I turned to my right, and there was the way no one should take. It was boarded up again as if I had never entered.
“Let’s continue on our way now.” he said, reaching out his hand to me.
I looked up at him and took his hand, “Yeah, let’s go home.”
((written in 7 parts and posted one at a time…..its about relapse and addiction…yet also about sin and grace))
worn down by deep despairs
rubbed raw by persistent anxieties
left with exposed nerves and vessels
racked with pain with every touch
even the the gentlest of breezes
brings nothing but agony
to my inner most parts
laid bare from many trials
be patient with me if my only comfort
is sitting in the quiet and the dark
what an angry miserable existence
of mine this is now
He was stranded. On a desolate road full of twists and turns, his car broke down. In an isolated no man’s land, he was now trapped. There was no calling for help. There was no hope someone would drive by and find him. No one came this way. He was on his own.
He sat distraught on the dirt road. Suddenly the sky broke out in vivid colors of all types. Rainbows and sun rays pierced out from holes in the billowing cumulus clouds. Instead of finding peace, he became angry.
“You think this array of colors will help me? Are you mocking my afflictions?!?? You think this dance across the sky will save me?? If it can, why am I still stuck here?!! I am alone and doomed to death, and yet this sight in the sky is all you will give me!!!”
He turned his eyes toward the ground, away from the brilliant patterns above him.
A voice broke out from the formations above him, “You are strong and courageous. You do not need help to survive this. I can prove it to you.”
The man burned with anger, “That is some heap of nonsense you speak. Fine, go ahead and prove it. I am weak and worthless after all. I deserve to die alone out here with much pain and suffering.”
The voice spoke again, “i bet you can touch that closet rainbow with your own fingers. See how close it is, not distant like the others.”
It did seem close, that is true. “Fine, I might as well try to touch the rainbow before I die. I accept your challenge.”
The man left his belongings and set forth across the field to seek the rainbow.
As the man left the road to make his way across the pasture, the landscape seemed to change before him. Obstacles unforeseen were in view now.
He found himself walking into a marshland full of blackened pools. He had no choice but to wade through. These pools were not water however. Large pools of woe and despair littered the ground. Blackened to a point it felt like he was trudging through vast nothingness. Bits of ripped out hair and gnashed teeth were scattered about. The deep darkness clung to his clothes and felt like an immense weight on him….like many hands coming forth from the ground pulling him downward.
“Oh this anguish is overwhelmingly crushing me,” he cried as he slowly made his way through the sorrow stricken marshlands. As long as he kept moving, the woe did not drown him, and the despair did not completely overcome him.
As he left the final black pool, he knew that no amount of sunshine would lift the weight of that sadness that dampened his clothes. He felt like that pain and suffering from the marshlands had seeped deep into muscle all the way to his bones.
Before the man’s right foot could even join his left out of the saturated lands of woe and despair, the twisted branches of a mass forest of dead lifeless trees wrapped their dead branches around him and pulled him away.
It looked like a forest, yet all was dead there. What truly existed there was a mass population of panic and fear. Their trunks of burned blackened bark grew so close together the man lost the breath from his lungs and his heart rate grew increasingly fast. He was paralyzed by anxiety and trapped by their dry and cracking branches that wrapped around him tighter and tighter.
“This constant fear of impending death and doom is even more unbearable than the torment of despair I was just plagued with. I fear I will never loosen the grip these trees of panic have on me,” the man cried as he dropped to this knees, exhausted from the pounding heart, racing thoughts, and shaking limbs that this place created in him.
A small voice was heard through the snapping and cracking of the lifeless forest, “Keep moving, do not stop traveling and they can not hold you.” So the man struggled, but he was able to stand again. It was slow at first, but he was able to continue forward. The trees grabbed and let go as he walked, leaving cuts and scrapes behind across his body.
“This forest of fear will leave its scars and imprints on me forever. I will never be rid of its memory even after I leave.”
Indeed, he was covered in many wounds and bruises. He was weighed down and burdened by the treacherous lands he had to cross to touch the rainbow. He wondered if he should turn back and go return to that roadside and die. The glorious colors and light beckoned him forward though.
“It seems so close now, its just over that hill!” His joy was short lived though, because that hill grew larger and larger the closer he got to it. By the time he was before it, the hill had grown into a mountain.
It was very steep and very slick. He was sure with every 5 steps he took forward he would slip back 3. It was covered in sharp edges, thorns, spikes, and razors. Scaling this mountain would bring pain with every step. This final piece of his trek would be the most difficult.
“I hope this painful journey is worth it in the end,” he said to himself as he grabbed on and started climbing.
How can something be both slippery and jagged? He did not know how, but that is what he was climbing. Over and over he scaled the mountain, proud of all he had done. His joy was brief as the slick surface often made him lose his footing, causing him to fall down and loose much of his gains.
“I feel so powerless to scale this peak. Every time I make headway I only fall backwards. Surely I will find the top eventually, if I just keep going.” He said under heavy breathing.
Every time he tried to find something to grab onto he found pain and wounds in the jagged pieces piercing out before him. Those bits of agony were the only thing that helped him get to the top though.
“Why must my way to the rainbow be carved with so much pain? I have bled, sweat, and cried my entire way here. Will it even be worth it in the end?” he said as his blood dripped down the mountainside.
His body grew old and weary over time, “How long have I been scaling, falling back, and going forward on this wretched elevated landscape? It feels like years! When will it end? I am ready to be home,” he cried through bitter tears filled with anguish.
At last, after an eternity of ascending this prominence full of torment and discomfort, he felt the summit under his ripped up fingertips. With his last reserves of energy, with his last scraps of hope he tightly held onto this entire journey, he made his way to the top.
Shaking and barely able to stand, he looked out and saw it. The rainbow was right there before him! He could almost touch it there on that summit. Looking down he saw where it came from. There in the valley was a brilliant city that surrounded the place the rainbow met the ground. It was indescribable the beauty. The city shined like the brightest of jewels, and it glowed the color of gold.
He heard noise behind him. That sound was a multitude of cries, panting, and screams behind him. A hand appeared near the man’s feet. He looked behind him, and he saw many like him climbing the perilous peak. Taking the hands of those near him, he helped them up so their journey could end too.
They looked puzzled at each other, because they all and thought they were alone in their travels, but truly many had been alongside them taking the same route. Covered in scars and scabs, they made their way down the mountain to the city. The man walked along the golden path and found the heart of the city and the rainbow. At last, the man put his trembling fingers into the warming light of the rainbow. All his pain and wounds disappeared. He like new and young again.
The voice he has heard before spoke, “You have finally come home, my child. You thought I was mocking you on that roadside, but truly I was guiding you home. That road was the road to nowhere, and you would have only found death there. I know you faced much grief and toil for your journey here, but I promise it was all worth it.”