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Friday, March 29, 2013

Sword of Peace

Peering down my arm, I glance at the wounds on my hands from the recent abundance of manual labor.
The locations of the wounds are always identical, top ridge of inner palm just below the point where my fingers stretch out from my hand. Never seeming to heal completely, the repetitive insistence of their nature concerns me and why my own body never feels a need to protect itself from further harm is another aspect of deep wonderment.

Healing. A process by which something is renewed and restored to health. This process continually escapes me in my physical, emotional and spiritual walk. The wounds I have felt throughout the course of my journey are indeed reminders of the steps that I have taken and the scars from the battles that I have had to endure.
Reaching deeper into my soul each time, I have yet to uncover the source of the unsettled spirit that guides me through the waters but never allows me to bathe naked, released in full to the sanctification of the moment that could afford me this elusive perpetual solace.

Perhaps I believe in silent admission that I am deserving of the anguish and continued upheavals in my own life. Never settled to walk in peace with trust and love as my balancing allies, but instead choose the arduous path that is marred with recent razing, darkness and solemnity. Alas, I didn't choose to be here; my spirit was  summoned, commanded to return to this place. Return to the only place that I knew certain love, certain trust, certain understanding. I question the logic of this conversation always unfolding in opposition to time and reason. Always promising the path to serenity, reflections of streets of golden hues shining ever so brightly in the midst of the coldest and darkest storms I have ever realized.

Physically, I am weakened by the emotions playing on the stage forefront in my mind. Strength, still present and apparent, is harder to maintain at times, as I continue to walk forward. The proverbial walls slowing closing in, forcing me to choose. Forcing me to raise my own blade of reckoning and lay judgement to those who wait patiently in the gallows awaiting their bewildering state of execution. The steps remaining are heavy and the path truncated by the length of the journey already traversed.

I pause. Knowing the weight of the moment and the immediacy of the decision to be calculated, I breathe in slowly. I close my eyes, squinting out the last bit of the afternoon sun, and guide my right hand to my hip tracing the outline of the hilt. I roll my fingers just below the pommel and clench the weapon forcefully, bringing it to life.

As the sword is unsheathed, I raise it forward abreast of my face and tilt its blade in the sunlight; the finely crafted mirrored surface is etched with words of peace, love and comfort. I am momentarily mesmerized by its unexpected warmth and divining nature. Irony indeed for a weapon of chiseled destruction, but then a bold thought overwhelms my soul. What if....this is truly...the sword of peace? Instead of laying destruction to those who would fear its pruning and absolution of sin, what if this talisman was used to instead defeat the darkness?

The heft of the moment overwhelms me, and I fall to my knees, sobbing. Thrusting the sword with both hands into the gravel laced soil, it is buried nearly up the guard; the entire blade shrouded from sight. As I guide my hands to my face to clear the flow of tears, I notice my wounds are no longer visible. Healed perhaps by the understanding of where I am proceeding and what choices I have left to make in this life to complete the journey. I know I will one day lie in death, a victim of the sword that now lies impotently within the earthen substrate nearby. But, not today. Today, I choose the path of peace; the path of love, understanding and promise for better days.

I raise my hands to the sun, my palms illuminated and accept the healing that I have gone without for far too many sunsets. A prayer of thankfulness, hope and peace unexpectedly rolls off my tongue, and I bathe in the warmth of this moment. A moment of healing. A moment of choosing love over fear. A moment of choosing peace over darkness.

I raise to my feet slowly and smile. Better days, Andrew. Better days. I echo to myself in silence.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Drafting Destiny.

As I sit before the antique 1910 industrial engineer cantilever drafting table, I am mesmerized by its form not its function. Its sleek, metallic, immoderate lines draw an immediate congruency with an item to be discovered in Asimov's laboratory used to devise sinister plots of world dissolution or perhaps the creation of the neutron ray gun.  The table is adorned with faded cast-iron arch supports coupled with the reflective patina from a century of natural aging of its broad, wooden working surface. Drawn to antique artifacts from this industrial age, I ponder as to why the ideal for quality-driven focus and invention has long departed our disposable mindsets. Procuring these relics is a fascinating hobby of its own, seeking out that which still remains long after those who considered its usefulness or even possess the ability to master its utilization have long had their innards masticated by worms, their souls long departed from this place of emptiness and greed. Their fate sealed in accord with the tools and ideologies of those who no longer breathe our common air. Alas, the path still remains for those who dare to cross the social media picket fences and campaign for the truth in understanding.

Inventiveness has been superseded by lackadaisical composition and transient whimsy, bringing joy has long carried more weight than contemplative and meaningful design. Bringing forth epic change now is akin to designing not the essence of flight, nor the distribution of electrical current, but a polka-dotted collegiate snuggle available in all sizes to withstand the essential vagaries of common sense, so often amiss but truly a perfect fit for the Epicurean in all of us.

Laurel branches sit, in idle on the surface of my work table...aged from the weight of the generations who admonish those who remain loyal to the values of hard work and dedication to quality. The satiated masses continue to feed from the protuberances left by our gracious forebears. Arid, the veins have grown feeding the undeserving and unappreciative.

Reaching into both my mind and my soul in tandem, I draw my intentions forward as I glide my chair into position directly abreast with the edge of my sturdy new friend. Chuckling outwardly at the cliche echoing forward from my lips, before its release, I relent to a simple smile. "Back to the drawing board.....", I state even as much as I marvel at the stupidity of my own words. I pause briefly with an unforeseen sagacious grin, momentarily losing sight of my discounted words from a just a moment prior.

That phrase has definite meaning for a rudderless captain in search for a calming coastline.
Drawing a new future is my destiny.

As I reach for my pencil and begin to plot a new destination on the parchments lying before me, the words of Goethe immediately enter into my mind with a forceful vengeance:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. 
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. 

Begin it now.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Alligators, anyone?

Reeling from relinquishing the truth of my words to the spoken air, I tremble in the darkness with deliberate pausing of breath, waiting for the faithful jesters to carry forward my admonishment. I listen intently as her voice fades into silence, and now, I hear nothing more. "I am processing", she states with obvious concern and deliberation in her voice. Slumping into my seat, I slowly attempt to retract my words in vain. Silence fills the moment once again adding weight to my heart. Deciding to carry forth the judgment on my own terms, I step down from my vehicle and walk back towards the familiar stone wall that has haunted my dreams for the last several nights. Now, completely lucid --- I am painfully aware of the stage, the performances remaining to be conducted by those who exemplify and mirror the darkness within my soul. The reptilian beasts remain in hiding waiting for my arrival. I can sense their presence even as much as they too sense the apex of this confrontation. Counterbalancing the heft of this moment with my own exposed culpability, I cannot help but envision that their continued presence indicates a showdown is approaching. The moonlight gleams across the aged brick building to my immediate right adding another layer of suspense and visibility to the scene that I simply want to conclude without bearing witness.

As my heart rate quickens, I increase my gait and clinch my fists firmly in preparation. As I approach, the silence is broken by guttural sounds of fear and warnings of danger which rumble forth as growls from the edges of the jagged stones where the beasts remain in hiding. I continue, shaken, but assured by a force more driven that my own in this moment. Suddenly, the scene fades to gray before my eyes. I reach out with my hands to touch its bleakness. Simultaneously, I halt upon hearing a familiar voice which shatters the night air, "Tell me of your alligators. There were four present, not just one. Tell me what they are." Her voice, her words slice through the layers of flesh and bone, and sever directly to my rippling soul still in awe that someone has visibility to this depth of my existence. Shuttering from pure disbelief of the accuracy of her statements, I murmur a few trite words before taking pause and choosing to reveal more of my buried truth.

Akin to Arthur freeing his weapon from stone, I instantly feel empowered to slay these demons in earnest for their continued perpetration of despair and prophetic subversion to my happiness. Gifted from a place of unconditional love, and not judgment nor disappointment, I am humbled in her presence, as always.

Cautiously, I unravel more of the truths into the open night air, allowing each one to hover before our souls as a discussion, an explanation of its own standing, its own existence. Knowing all the while, my paltry notions and attempts to clarify are weightless against the guilt that I feel which permeates all surfaces of my own soul here in this moment. Inwardly, I begin to sob at the purity of her heart and the understanding that unshackles every conceived notion that my sins were not only forgiven, but not even being quantified against our conversation. With certain immediacy, I begin to question my own significance against her overwhelming love and nurturing spirit.  How could someone love me this much? How could someone have the awareness to feel my spirit completely? When did I become this worthy of her greatness?

I fade in and out of the remainder of the conversation. Reeling from the emotions being expressed, I stumble to my knees on the cold, concrete ground. I take a deep breath and breathe in the purity of her love as my strength and faith are replenished. As my eyes regain their ability to focus, recognition of change abounds... Sunlight now beams over my shoulder warming my naked skin and ensuring comfort and solace to previously dismal and stressed composition. I stretch my arms, raising them towards the promising blue skies and smile. Erased from view are the stone walls, the demons, along with the fear that I have been harnessing in my emotional satchel, now emptied and weightless.

I stand to my feet, pausing to marvel at the context of what has unfolded before my eyes this evening.
I gaze hastily in all directions attempting in vain to locate her, but she is no longer visible.
She is with me in my heart. Her voice -- always soothes my soul. Her intentions -- always pure and loving.

I remain motionless, in awe.
For even in the midst of her continued struggles, she chooses love, not fear.
Even through the pains of despair, loneliness and strife, we will choose love, not fear.
As long as I have breath within my lungs, I will call out her name in joyous remembrance of promises made.

Made at times when the only thing of permanence through the darkness was faith in the belief that this love will see us through and the gentle murmuring of her angelic voice,

"Choose love, not fear......"